The Case of the Missing Role and Feature Management Tools

The Case of the Missing Role and Feature Management Tools

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For IT professionals who manage Windows-based servers, mysteries surrounding the whereabouts of their key role or feature management tools aren’t fun. When you install roles and features on a server, you expect to find the graphical management tools, command-line utilities, and Windows PowerShell modules and providers that you use to manage those technologies on that server.

I’d like to introduce you to someone who actually enjoys IT pro management-related mysteries. In fact, she thrives on them. Detective Michelle Power is here to show a frustrated administrator how to find his missing role and feature management tools.

First page of comic:

Second page of comic:

The difference between installation methods

As part of our strong investment in making Server Core the default and recommended installation option for Windows Server 2012, we’ve made more roles and features available on the Server Core installation option. We’ve also made it much easier to switch between the full and the Server Core installation options, a process that included separating roles from management tools, which generally require a GUI to run. For most roles, this means that installing the role doesn’t automatically install its management tools; you must install them by adding them to your command explicitly.

The experiences we’ve designed in both the Add Roles and Features Wizard and the Server Manager deployment cmdlets help IT Pros install their management tools easily. By default, in the Add Roles and Features and Remove Roles and Features wizards, if you’re installing on a server that’s running the full installation option or the Minimal Server Interface, management tools are installed with the role. But for the deployment cmdlets, you must add the IncludeManagementTools parameter to the command to include management tools, whether you’re installing or uninstalling. Here are examples:

Installation example:

Install-WindowsFeature -Name AD-Domain-Services -ComputerName ContosoDC01 -IncludeManagementTools

Uninstallation example:

Uninstall-WindowsFeature -Name AD-Domain-Services -ComputerName ContosoDC01 -IncludeManagementTools

When you’re installing roles and features on Server Core, whether you’re using the GUI-based wizard or the deployment cmdlets, the installation process limits the management tools that are automatically installed to non-GUI tools. This prevents the installation process from automatically converting your target server to the full installation option (that is, the installation option with the full GUI) just to install GUI-based tools. Although you can certainly install a GUI-based management tool on the Server Core installation option, doing so installs the full graphical shell as a dependency, and the target server installation option becomes the full server installation option.

The best way to solve the case of the missing tools

Because the tools aren’t really missing at all, in a remote server management scenario, the best solution is to install Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 on the computer from which you plan to manage your servers: your desktop or laptop.

In the Windows 8 release of Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), management tools are tucked into the fully-customizable Server Manager Tools menu. Tools for managing Hyper-V and Web Server (IIS) are already available as part of Windows 8; there’s no need to install RSAT to get them.

Indeed…the HELP. There’s step-by-step documentation to help you get started installing or uninstalling roles and features, whether you’re using Server Manager or Windows PowerShell.

There’s much more about provisioning and managing your roles and features on the Windows Server 2012 TechCenter.

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  • I'm thinking I may want all my documentation in comic form!  Very nice...

  • Hehe, yes, please more of these comics, they make remembering this stuff so easy! :-)

  • But i didn't get my problem solved yet regarding server manager (roles and features), and mmc giving error to open. please tell me solution... waiting for cooperation

  • Remote mgmt on Server Core 2012 and Windows 8 is crippled.  Can't invoke Device Manageer from RSAT Server Manager per Microsoft design. Sad but true.

  • You are unable to view Roles and Features and receive error code 0x800706BE in Server Manager


  • Very Nice!!!

  • Really a Nice way to explain.. on GUI mode..

  • How Server Manager embodies the Microsoft Design Principles
    thank you

  • This step-by-step guide provides an overview of Server Manager and walkthroughs of several common scenarios for using Server Manager in your enterprise, focusing on new and enhanced features of Server Manager.. -

  • Informative blog and installation process for window8 is right.

  • hi, i have issue with connecting RD the message showing The Remote Desktop Session Host role services is not installed on this computer, RD Licensing diagnoser will not be run, pls. help how to resolve...

  • Sounds Really Great, You Shared very Nice Blog, it is interesting to read..
    Scott -