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Use the My Server App to Connect to Windows Server Essentials

Published: January 22, 2014

Updated: April 2, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

The My Server apps for Windows Server Essentials let you connect to resources and perform light administrative tasks on your Windows Server Essentials server from your laptop, PC, or Surface device. In My Server, you can manage users, devices, and alerts, and work with shared files on the server. When you are offline, you can continue to work with files recently accessed in My Server; your offline changes are automatically synchronized with the server the next time you connect.

If your server is running the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system, use the original My Server app. If your server is running the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials operating system, you must use the updated My Server 2012 R2 app. Both apps can be downloaded from Apps for Windows.

TipTip
To access resources in Windows Server Essentials from your Windows Phone, use the My Server phone app (for Windows Server 2012 Essentials) or the My Server 2012 R2 phone app (for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials). For information about the My Server phone app, see Use My Server app for Windows Phone. For information about the My Server 2012 R2 phone app, see the blog entry My Server 2012 R2 Windows and Windows Phone apps.

In addition to the features available in My Server, My Server 2012 R2 offers the following new features for customers with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials:

  • Access to SharePoint Online team sites and libraries - Leverage Microsoft Office 365 integration with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials to access SharePoint Online team sites and open documents in your SharePoint Online libraries in My Server 2012 R2.

  • Remote Desktop connections to the server and client computers - Use Remote Connect in My Server 2012 R2 to connect to your Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server and client computers by using Remote Desktop.

To use My Server or My Server 2012 R2 on your laptop, PC, or Surface device, the computer must have one of the following operating systems: Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows RT.

You can download the appropriate My Server app from the Apps for Windows store. If your computer has the Windows 8 or Windows RT operating system, and you want to connect to the server on your intranet by using the server name, you also need to install a certificate from the server.

  1. Install the appropriate My Server app from Apps for Windows onto your Windows-based laptop, PC, or Surface device.

     

    Server operating system Download

    Windows Server 2012 Essentials

    My Server

    Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

    My Server 2012 R2

  2. If you want to be able to use the server name to connect to your Windows Server Essentials server over an intranet, and your device has the Windows 8 or Windows RT operating system, install the default CAROOT.cer certificate on your computer by performing the following procedure. Manual installation of a certificate is not needed in Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.

  1. Open a web browser on your computer, and download the default certificate, CAROOT.cer, from the server. To do this, type the following, substituting the name of your server (for example, marketing.contoso.com) for <servername>:

    http://<servername>/connect/default.aspx?get=caroot.cer

  2. Install the certificate:

    1. On the Start page, open File Explorer.

    2. Ensure that hidden items and file name extensions are displayed: On the View tab, in the Show/hide group, select the Hidden items and File name extensions check boxes.

    3. Navigate to the folder that contains the CAROOT.cer file that you just downloaded.

    4. Right-click the CAROOT.cer file, and then click Open.

    5. In the Certificate dialog box, click Install Certificate.

    6. Select Local Machine as the installation location, and then click Next.

    7. On the Certificate store wizard page, select Place all certificates in the following store, and use Browse to choose the Trusted Root Certification Authorities store. Then click Finish.

To get started using the My Server or My Server 2012 R2 app, open the app and take a quick tour of its features.

  1. Open My Server (for Windows Server 2012 Essentials) or My Server 2012 R2 (for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials) from the Start page of your Windows device.

  2. Sign in to the Windows Server Essentials server using your account on the server. To identify the server:

    • In an off-premises environment, use the server’s domain name – for example, marketing.contoso.com.

    • If you are connecting on-premises over an intranet, use the server name – in the previous example, the server name is marketing. (If you are using a Windows 8 or Windows RT computer to connect on-premises, and you want to use this method, you must install a CAROOT.cer certificate from the server. For more information, see To install a certificate for My Server on your Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows RT device.)

The following table describes the features of the My Server and My Server 2012 R2 apps. Your account type on the server determines what you can see and do. All users can work with shared resources, customize their Recent displays, decide how long to cache recently used files for offline access, and turn on or off downloads over paid connections. Administrators on the Windows Server Essentials server also can manage alerts, devices, and users. Standard user accounts have more limited capabilities for viewing alerts and connecting to devices, determined by properties in the user account; requirements for individual features are noted in the following table.

Features of the My Server and My Server 2012 R2 apps for Windows Server Essentials

Feature set Description

Manage alerts

  • (Administrators only) Resolve alerts on the server, or ignore alerts that don’t require action. Turn notifications on or off (Permissions settings, Notifications option)

  • (Standard User accounts) View network health alerts.

    noteNote
    For a user to view alerts in My Server, the User can view network health alerts setting must be selected in General settings of the user account. For more information, see Manage user accounts using the Dashboard.

Manage devices

(Administrators only)

  • When you are connected to the Windows Server Essentials server, view details about each connected computer in Devices view. Offline devices are shaded.

  • Start and stop backups of connected computers.

  • Turn notifications on or off in My Server. (Permissions settings, Notifications option)

All users:

  • View client computers that your user account has access to. (Devices display)

  • Monitor alerts for those computers. (Alerts display)

  • (In My Server 2012 R2 only) Connect to those computers using Remote Web Access. (Device display, Remote Connect button)

Connect to computers by using Remote Desktop

(My Server 2012 R2 only) Open a Remote Desktop session with your Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server or a client computer. (Device display, Remote Connect button)

noteNote
To enable this feature, download and install the Remote Desktop app from Apps for Windows on your computer.

Standard User accounts can connect to devices that they have permission to sign on to. To enable a user to sign on to a computer, add the computer to the Computer access tab of the user account. For more information, see Assign user accounts permission to log on to specific network computers.

Manage users

(Administrators only) Change the password for a user account. End a user’s session on the server. (Users settings)

Work with shared files

  • Upload and download files from Shared Files (shared folders you have access to on the server), your private share, or, from a Windows 8.1 device, SkyDrive or network storage. Create folders. Add (upload), edit, and delete files from the server.

  • View the transfer status while uploading or downloading a file. Cancel a transfer. Resolve file conflicts.

  • Work seamlessly with files and folders on your local computer, the server, SkyDrive, or network storage. File lists show folders that you have used recently on your computer, in SkyDrive, or in network storage, along with shared folders on the server, and let you browse through folders in any of these locations.

  • Search for folders and files on the server; click a file to download it and open it in the default app. In offline mode, search for offline files only.

  • Share pictures, music, and videos. Click a file to open it in a Windows 8 picture, music, or video player. Or use Open or Open with to open the file in another app. As usual, you can make the app that you choose the default app for that media type.

    noteNote
    By default, the media streaming functionality is unavailable in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed. For more information, see Manage Digital Media in Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

    • Pictures - In Pictures view, tap a picture to open it. Tap the picture again to return to the thumbnail view in My Server.

    • Music – In Music view, view albums or songs shared on the server. Tap an item to open it in the music player.

    • Videos – Click a thumbnail in Videos view to open the video player.

Use SharePoint Online libraries

(My Server 2012 R2 only) Work with files in your team’s SharePoint Online libraries. Open team sites. (SharePoint Online section: open the team site, and drill down to the document library or file that you want to open. When you open a file, you must sign in to Office 365 with the Microsoft online account associated with your network account.)

noteNote
To use this feature, the server must be integrated with Office 365, the Office 365 subscription must include SharePoint Online, and your user account on the server must have a Microsoft Online Services account associated with it. For information about integrating Office 365 and SharePoint Online with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, see Services Integration Overview for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials - Part 1 and Services Integration Overview for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials - Part 2.

Customize your Recent display

The Recent list gives you quick access to the files that you are working on now. You can make the following changes:

  • Set the number of days of recent file history to display. (Recent settings: Days to keep in Recent; default = 7 days)

  • Clear the Recent display, if you no longer need to work the files you have been working with. This does not affect the cache; the files still are available offline. (Recent settings: Clear button)

    TipTip
    If you don’t need offline access to the files, use Clear all in Offline settings to remove the files from the cache.

Work offline

By default, files that you have accessed during the past 7 days are available offline. Your offline changes are synchronized with the server whenever you connect to it.

You can make the following changes to your offline configuration:

  • Change the number of days of work to cache. (Offline settings in My Server, Files settings in My Server 2012 R2: Caching period; default = 7 days)

  • Allow file transfers over paid networks, or turn off that feature. This feature is turned off by default to prevent expensive file transfers over paid networks. (Offline or Files settings: Turn on or off auto-transfer of files over paid networks; default = Off)

  • You might occasionally want to clear the cache. Check the size of the cache in Recent or Files settings; then use Clear or Clear all to clear the cache.

TipTip
To find out which files will be available offline, in any shared folder, select the offline cached filter instead of all.

noteNote
By default, the cache stores the same file history that the Recent list displays. Be aware that if you clear the cache, or your settings for the cache and the Recent display do not match, some files in the Recent list might not be available offline.

Background synchronization

Your files are synchronized with the server each time you log on to My Server and when you make changes while connected to the server. To preserve performance, resource-intensive background synchronizations are not performed automatically on most folders. To avoid expensive transfers, background synchronization is not performed on 3 Gigabyte networks.

  • Resolve file conflicts, displayed in the Conflicting area of the Transfer Status page. When file transfers are being performed, the main screen displays Transfer Status and Alerts charms.

To successfully use the My Server app in Windows Server Essentials for Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, you must first install the server certificate on your device. This connects the device to your server running Windows Server Essentials in your local network. Use the following procedures to connect to your server in your local network and install the server certificate on your Windows Phone or a computer that is running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

  1. On your Windows Phone that is running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, open Internet Explorer.

  2. In the address bar, type http://<yourservername>/connect/default.aspx?get=caroot.cer, and then press Enter.

  3. When you are prompted to install the caroot.cer certificate, click Install.

  4. Wait for the certificate installation to complete.

    noteNote
    After the installation of the certificate is complete, you can sign in to the My Server app for Windows Phone by using your server name and your network credentials.

  1. On a computer that is running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, open Internet Explorer.

  2. In the address bar, type http://<yourservername>/connect/default.aspx?get=caroot.cer, and then press Enter.

  3. When you are prompted to install the caroot.cer certificate, click Open.

  4. In the Certificate dialog box, click Install certificate.

  5. In the Certificate Import Wizard, select Local Machine as the store location.

  6. Select Place all certificates in the following store, and then browse to the Trusted Root Certification Authorities location.

  7. Follow instructions to complete the wizard.

    noteNote
    After the installation of the certificate is complete, you can sign in to the My Server app for Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 by using your server name and your network credentials.

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