Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 has been redesigned as a new cool multi-server management console, making it as easy to manage multiple servers remotely as you can from a local server's console - whether those servers are physical, virtual or hosted in the cloud!  Not familiar with the new Server Manager yet?  Check out this post over at My Thoughts On IT, the blog of my fellow IT Evangelist Brian Lewis and an all-around great guy! :-)

Well, it seems it's a little known fact that Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 can manage not only Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 servers, but also servers running Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 as well!  However, it's a bit of a trick to get it all working ... If you don't follow these steps on these older servers, you'll likely end up with the following status message in Server Manager when trying to manage these servers:

Not accessible – Verify earlier versions of Windows run the Management WTR package

Here's the steps to make it work ...

  1. Download: Download and Install the Windows Management Framework 3.0 for Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
     
    Be careful to download and install the correct WMF 3.0 edition for each operating system version! As a prerequisite, you'll need to install .NET Framework 4.0 first, if you don't already have it on your server boxes. 
     
    WMF 3.0 will also install the new PowerShell 3.0 scripting language. PowerShell 3.0 ROCKS!  For some cool examples of what you can accomplish in PowerShell 3.0, check out these articles!
     
  2. Hotfix: In order to retrieve Performance Counters from Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 boxes, you'll also need to install the following server hotfix:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2682011
     
  3. Configure: Run the PowerShell command prompt as a local Administrator by right-clicking on the PowerShell icon and selecting "Run as Administrator".  Execute the following PowerShell commands to enable remote management via WMF 3.0 and the Server Manager CIM Provider:

    Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
    Configure-SMRemoting.ps1 -force -enable

What's Next?

After you've enabled remote management on your Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 servers, try these next steps for extra credit:

  • Download and install the new Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 8 so that you can manage your servers via the new Server Manager console from your Windows 8 client PCs
  • Learn more about the new Server Manager tool and Windows Server 2012 by enrolling in our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" free online study program

Hope this helps!

Keith