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Add Windows Server Essentials as a Member Server

Published: November 1, 2013

Updated: February 26, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 R2

This topic applies to a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed. In the remainder of this document, the Windows Server Essentials Experience role will be referred to as Windows Server Essentials.

noteNote
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can only be deployed as domain controller. In this document, Windows Server Essentials does not include Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

Windows Server Essentials does not need to be a primary server within a Windows domain. You can add Windows Server Essentials as a member server to an existing Active Directory domain environment and take advantage of the simple data protection, secure remote access, and cloud integration features that it provides. In addition, Windows Server Essentials can be deployed in an existing Active Directory environment without having to be a domain controller. This enables you to extend storage or to use a branch office for local storage and administration.

You can add Windows Server Essentials in the following scenarios:

  • Add Windows Server Essentials in a branch office location and join it to the domain controller that is located in the main office at a separate location by using the native tools. You can turn on the BranchCache features for optimum bandwidth utilization on this member server.

  • Add Windows Server Essentials as a member server within a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials network to help extend storage on your network by adding additional server folders on your member server.

  • Add Windows Server Essentials as a member server in the local office if your primary server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is hosted in Windows Azure or hosted by a third-party hoster. Having Windows Server Essentials as a member server at your local office site helps to optimize bandwidth usage.

To add Windows Server Essentials as a member server to a primary server running Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in an existing Active Directory environment, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Join the server running Windows Server Essentials to a workgroup.

  2. Join the server running Windows Server Essentials to the domain of a primary Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server.

  3. Configure the Windows Server Essentials Experience from Server Manager.

  1. After you complete the installation of Windows Server Essentials on your second server, close the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard.

  2. In the Search box, type System Settings, and in the search results, click View advanced system settings.

  3. In System Properties, click the Computer Name tab.

  4. In Computer Name, in the Domain section, click Change.

  5. In Computer Name/Domain Changes, in the Member section, choose if you want to join the server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials to a Workgroup or to a Domain.

    • To add the server to a workgroup, type workgroup, and then click OK.

    • To join this server to an existing Active Directory domain, type the name of the domain, and then click OK.

  6. Restart the server to apply the changes.

After you have joined the server to your primary server’s domain, you can continue to configure Windows Server Essentials by running the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard from Server Manager.

  1. (Optional) Change the server name, if needed.

    ImportantImportant
    You cannot change the server name after you have configured Windows Server Essentials Experience.

  2. Sign in to the server by using your Domain Admin account.

  3. Open Server Manager.

  4. In the flag notification area in Server Manager, click the flag, and then click Configure Windows Server Essentials.

  5. Opt to configure the server as a member server, and then click Next.

  6. Click Configure to begin the configuration. The configuration process takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

  7. On the desktop, click the Dashboard icon to start the server Dashboard. On the Home page, complete the Getting Started tasks that are listed on the Setup tab.

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