Overview of the Dashboard in Windows Server Essentials
Updated: January 15, 2014
Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
This topic applies to a server running Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, or to a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed.
Windows Server Essentials and Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role enabled include an administrative dashboard, which simplifies the tasks that you perform to manage your Windows Server Essentials network and server. By using the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, you can:
Finish setting up your server
Access and perform common administrative tasks
View server alerts and take action on them
Set up and change server settings
Access or search for Help topics on the web
Access Community resources on the web
Manage user accounts
Manage devices and backups
Manage access and settings for server folders and hard drives
View and manage add-in applications
Integrate with Microsoft online services
This topic includes:
The Windows Server Essentials Dashboard helps you to quickly access the key information and management features of your server. The Dashboard includes several sections as depicted in Figure 1. The table that follows the image describes the sections.
Click a section on the Navigation Bar to access the information and tasks that are associated with that section. Each time you open the Dashboard, the Home page appears by default.
The subsection tabs provide access to a second layer of Windows Server Essentials administrative tasks.
The list view displays the objects that you can manage, and includes basic information about each object.
The details pane displays additional information about an object that you select in the list view.
The Tasks pane contains links to tools and to information that help you manage the properties for either a specific object (such as a user account or a computer), or for global settings for the object category. The Tasks pane is divided into these two sections:
Information and Settings
This section provides direct access to the server settings, and a Help link to information about the dashboard page that you are viewing.
The alerts status provides a quick visual indication about the health of the server. Click the alert image to view critical and important alerts.
The status bar displays the number of objects that appear in the list view. Add-in applications may also display other status.
When you open the Dashboard, the Home page appears by default with the SETUP category displayed. The Home page of the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard provides quick access to tasks and information that help you customize your server and configure key features. The Home page is comprised of four functional areas, which expose information and configuration tasks for the options that you select. Figure 2 describes the functional areas of the Home page. The table that follows the image describes the features.
Click a section on the Navigation Bar to access the information and tasks that are associated with that section. Each time you open the Dashboard, the Home page displays by default.
This pane displays feature areas that provide quick access to information and configuration tools that help you set up and customize the server. Click a category to display tasks and resources that are associated with that category.
This pane displays links to tasks and information that apply to a selected category. Click a task or resource to display additional information.
This pane provides a brief description of a feature or task, and provides links that open configuration wizards and information pages. Click a link to take further action.
The Windows Server Essentials Dashboard organizes network information and administrative tasks into functional areas. The management page for each functional area provides information about the objects associated with that area, for example Users, or Devices. The management page also includes tasks that you can use to view or change settings, or to run programs that automate tasks that require multiple steps.
The following table describes the administrative sections of the Dashboard that are available by default after installation. The table also lists the tasks that are available within each section.
The Home page appears by default each time that you open the Dashboard. It includes tasks and information in the following categories:
For users to access the resources that Windows Server Essentials provides, you need to create user accounts by using the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. After creating user accounts, you can manage the accounts by using the tasks that are available on the Users page of the Dashboard. Tasks that you can perform on this page include:
For information about managing user accounts, see Manage User Accounts in Windows Server Essentials.
Tasks that you can perform on this page include:
Tasks that you can perform on this page include:
After you connect computers to the Windows Server Essentials network, you can manage the computers from the Devices page of the Dashboard. Tasks that you can perform on this page include:
For information about managing computers and backups, see Manage Devices in Windows Server Essentials.
Depending on the version of Windows Server Essentials you are running, the Storage section of the Dashboard contains the following sections by default.
For information about managing server folders, see Manage Server Folders in Windows Server Essentials.
For information about managing hard drives, see Manage Server Storage in Windows Server Essentials.
The Applications section of the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard contains two subsections by default.
For information about managing add-in applications, see Manage Applications in Windows Server Essentials.
The Office 365 tab displays only when Windows Server Essentials is integrated with Microsoft Office 365. This section contains Office 365 subscription and administrator account information.
If you install an add-in for the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, the add-in may create additional administrative sections. These sections may appear on the main navigation bar, or on a subsection tab.
You can access the Dashboard by using of one of following methods. The method you choose depends on whether you are accessing the dashboard from the server, from a computer that is connected to the Windows Server Essentials network, or from a remote computer.
To help maintain a secure network, only users with administrative permissions can access the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. Additionally, you cannot use the built-in Administrator account to sign in to the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard from the Launchpad.
Access the Dashboard from the server
When you install Windows Server Essentials, the setup process creates a shortcut to the Dashboard on the Start screen, and also on the Desktop. If the shortcut is missing from these locations, you can use the Search pane to find and run the Dashboard program.
To access the Dashboard from the server
Sign in to the server as an administrator, and then do any of the following:
On the Start screen, click Dashboard.
On the Desktop, double-click Dashboard.
In the Search pane, type dashboard, and then click Dashboard in the search results.
Access the Dashboard from a computer that is connected to the network
In Windows Server Essentials, after you join a computer to the network, administrators can use the Launchpad to access the server Dashboard from the computer.
In Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, to connect to the Dashboard from the client computer, right-click the tray icon, and then open the Dashboard from the context menu.
To access the Dashboard by using the Launchpad
From a computer that is joined to the network, open the Launchpad.
On the Launchpad menu, click Dashboard.
On the Dashboard Sign in page, type your network administrator credentials, and then press ENTER.
A remote connection to the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard opens.
Access the Dashboard from a remote computer
When you are working from a remote computer, you can access the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard by using the Remote Web Access site.
To access the Dashboard by using Remote Web Access
From the remote computer, open an Internet browser, such as Internet Explorer.
In the Internet browser address bar, type the following:https://<DomainName>/remote, where DomainName is the external domain name of your organization (such as contoso.com).
Type your username and password to sign in to the Remote Web Access site.
In the Computers section of the Remote Web Access Home page; locate your server and click Connect.
A remote connection to the Dashboard opens.
If your server does not appear in the Computers section of the Home page, click Connect to more computers, find your server in the list, and then click the server to connect to it.
To give a user permission to access the Dashboard from Remote Web Access, open the Properties page for the user account, and then select the Server Dashboard option on the Anywhere Access tab.
The Safe mode feature of Windows Server Essentials monitors the add-ins that are installed on the server. If the Dashboard becomes unstable or unresponsive, Safe mode detects and isolates add-ins that might be causing the issue, and displays them on the Safe Mode Settings page the next time you open the Dashboard. From the Safe Mode Settings page, you can disable and enable add-ins one-by-one to determine which add-in is causing the issue. You can then choose to leave the add-in disabled for future startups, or you can uninstall the add-in.
You can view a list of all add-ins that are installed on the server at any time. You can also open the Dashboard in Safe mode, which automatically disables all non-Microsoft add-ins. Windows Server Essentials also allows you to access the Dashboard in Safe mode from another computer on the network.
To view a list of installed add-ins
From the Dashboard, click Help, and then click Safe mode settings.
To open the Dashboard in Safe mode
In the Search pane, type safe, and then click Dashboard (Safe mode) in the search results.
To open the Dashboard in Safe mode from another computer on the network
From a computer that is connected to the network, open the Windows Server Essentials Launchpad, and then click Dashboard.
On the Dashboard sign-in page, type the user name and password for an account that has permission to sign in to the server, select the Allow me to select which add-ins to load check box, and then click the arrow to sign in.