Configuring and Customizing Remote Web Access on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Configuring and Customizing Remote Web Access on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

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[This post comes to us courtesy of Maanavi Bisaria and Rituraj Choudhary from Global Business Support]

We will cover the following aspects of Remote Web Access (RWA) on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in this blog:

  • Configuring Remote Web Access
  • Customizing Remote Web Access

Configuring Remote Web Access

To configure RWA, open the HOME tab on the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. On the Get Started page, click Set up Anywhere Access, and then click Click to configure Anywhere Access.

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This will open Set up Anywhere Access wizard. On the first screen, if you don’t have a UPnP router, you should check the option Skip router setup. I want to set up my router manually as indicated below, and then click Next.

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You would then see a Getting Started page. Click Next to proceed. On the following screen, check the box I want to set up a new domain name.

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The wizard would search for the available domain name service providers on the next screen and presents you with these two options:

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The first option Purchase professional domain name from a supported provider offers GoDaddy.com and eNomCentral as the supported domain name service providers. However, if you don’t intend to pay for the domain name services, choose the second option Get a personalized domain from Microsoft.

Once you hit Next on this screen, you need to sign in to your Microsoft account with your Live ID. Accept the Privacy Statement and Agreement, and then type a name for your domain (remotewebaccess.com is provided as a default domain name suffix). Click on the Check Availability button to check the availability of the domain name. Click on Set Up when you find a suitable domain name available for use.

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Once your domain name has been set up, you may configure Remote Web Access. To do so, check the box Remote Web Access and click Next. You may also choose to enable VPN in this step, however, we will discuss VPN on a separate blog post.

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This step in the background installs and configures Network Policy Server, Remote Desktop Gateway, Client Certificate Mapping Authentication, and RPC over HTTP Proxy. You may verify these roles/features in the Server Manager.

Once this is completed successfully, your Remote Web Access has been set up successfully and can be browsed at https:// <yourdomainname>.remotewebaccess.com.

Customizing Remote Web Access

Once the Anywhere Access Wizard has been completed, open the HOME tab on the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. On the Get Started page, click Set up Anywhere Access, and then click Click to configure Anywhere Access. This will open the Settings page of Anywhere Access. Please note that once we have configured RWA, you can view the status of Anywhere Access at the top of this window, along with Configure and Repair options.

Let’s now click Customize in the Web site settings section to see what it holds.

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On the Customize Remote Web Access window, you can customize the Logon page, Home page links and Server Connection options. Click on Logon page tab to customize Web site title, Background image and Web site logo.

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The Home page links tab offers you option of adding or removing links that appear on the RWA home page.

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The Server connection options page provides the way RDP connection is made to the Server. The default option is Open Dashboard (Default). You may choose to connect to the Server normally by selecting Open Remote Desktop.

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To sum up, configuration and customization of Remote Web Access on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is a stress-free procedure, and the result is a clutter free RWA user interface:

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The Devices tile group contains the computers you have rights to connect to. There are similar tiles for Shared Folders, Links and Microsoft Office 365. If you click the user account on the top-right of the page, you have an option to change your user account password. We will discuss these features with time. In the meantime you may refer to this TechNet.

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  • The option to get a domain name from Microsoft for RWA is new, I think. Does the wizard take care of setting up an SSL certificate - and does this eliminate the need to buy and install a third-party certificate? If so, that's quite a nice improvement for small businesses - simplifies setup and reduces cost.

  • This feature has been there with the Essentials family; and yes in it does eliminate the need to buy and install a trusted third party certificate. The wizard also attaches and configures the certificate for the RWA web site, VPN and DirectAccess.

  • What I really need to do is customize which shares present in the Shared Folders section - how do I do this? I see that if the share is created in the dashboard it will show, but I'd like to turn off the Users share and add some shares that weren't added from the dashboard. For older versions of RWA there was a configuration file hack, but it was unreliable and not supported. What is the best practice here?

  • I have same question as Faster Connections! How do we customise the shares, I've lost Folder Redirection share on RWA and don't know how to get it back.

  • I have same question as Faster Connections! How do we customise the shares, I've lost Folder Redirection share on RWA and don't know how to get it back.

  • thank you