I’ve been asked numerous times about how one would manage Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 servers from a Windows 7 client computer. Evidently, we (Microsoft) have not done a good enough job in getting the word out that there are a set of tools – Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) that are available as a free download for this purpose. These tools will install the following management tools onto your Windows 7 computer:

1. Active Directory Certificate Services Tool
2. Active Directory Domain Services and Lightweight Directory Services Tools
3. DHCP Server Tools
4. DNS Server Tools
5. File Server Tools
6. Hyper-V Tools
7. Remote Desktop Services Tools
8. Server Manager
9. Bitlocker Active Directory Recovery Password Viewer
10. Failover Clustering Tools
11. Group Policy Management Tools
12. Network Load Balancing Tools
13. SMTP Server Tools
14. Storage Explorer Tools
15. Storage Manager for SANs Tools
16. Windows System Resource Manager Tools

Whew! That’s a slew of management tools that you can take advantage of directly from your Windows 7 computer.

With the recent release of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, I’ve also had a few people run into a few problems with the tools. Here are the problem scenarios that I have seen.

1. Windows Server 2008 R2 has been updated to SP1, but Windows 7 (with RSAT installed) is not.

2. Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 have been updated to SP1 and then the RTM RSAT tools are installed onto the Windows 7 SP1 box.

There have been updates to some of the tools – especially Hyper-V Manager where the RTM RSAT version is not compatible with the SP1 enhancements. There is an easy fix for the first scenario and that is to install SP1 onto the Windows 7 machine with the RTM RSAT tools. This will update the RSAT Tools to the SP1 version.

For the second scenario, you can reinstall SP1 (full SP1 install) and the RTM RSAT Tools will be updated to the SP1 version. The other option is to wait for the SP1 version of the RSAT Tools to come out and download and install them. They should be publicly available soon.

********  UPDATED  ********

The RSAT Tools for Windows 7 with SP1 are now publicly available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d.

Harold Wong