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On the list of software to skip: Windows Server 2012 and R2 Essentials

Posted by jpluimers on 2014/02/15

I’m so glad I haven’t played around with the below two Windows Server Essentials versions: by default they break the DNS of your local network.

Avoid list:

  • Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 essentials



5 Responses to “On the list of software to skip: Windows Server 2012 and R2 Essentials”

  1. Oh, I have to add a correction: With Windows Server 2012 R2 (Standard and up) it’s now possible to add a new feature called “Essential Experience” that more or less adds the same more comfortable administration features to a “normal” Windows server. But I don’t know if enabling the Essential Experience on a normal Windows server will also re-introduce the specific DNS handling.

  2. If you look at the target market for the essential editions, this behavior is more like a feature than a bug. The only problem is: machines usually connected to the essential server may have some problems connecting to other networks (e.g. at home, at client’s office). But this can be solved by disabling the autostart feature of the Launchpad software on the affected client machines (or to be more precise: as soon as the Launchpad is disabled, any manual modifications of the LAN settings won’t be reset to the default values).

    On the other hand you get some very useful features with the essential servers that make the usage of Windows server quite comfortable – especially for smaller companies who don’t have the resources or money for a proper IT administration. Easy user administration, easy file access control, comfortable remote desktop access incl. VPN, and (!) a – more or less – enforced automatic backup of all connected clients with a reliable disaster recovery feature. BTW: these are some features that are much harder to implement with a Windows Standard Server. This “Essential” branding leads to assume a lot of limitations compare to a Windows Standard Server. But in fact, these Essential servers have more value for smaller companies (up to 25 users) than a normal Standard server.
    Yes – this special DNS handling can be very frustrating if you don’t know where these problems come from when you experience problems while connection to other networks. But as this can be solved just by disabling the Launchpad – it’s finally not such a big problem. And you really don’t miss anything by disabling the Launchpad – and can still enjoy all the other extra – and useful – feature that you wouldn’t have with a Windows Standard server.

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