Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 1)


Part 1 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 1)

Part 2 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 2)

Part 3 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 3)

Part 4 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 4)

Part 5 -

This was the Introduction, New Features and Enhancements section in my Migration from Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 to 2012 book. Because of some changes in the format and content of this book, we have decided not to include any introduction or new features section in this book. The focus of the book is to provide more hands-on and step-by-step instructions on migration. So I decided to add Introduction, New Features and Enhancements section in my blog in 5 different parts. You can read the rest of the sections in the book.


“The” User Interface (UI)

When talking about new features, we have to start with one of the most debated feature – the new User Interface (UI). This will be the “new start menu” in Windows Server 2012. This new interface is called Metro style interface. Metro is a Microsoft code name for content and typography based language. It is developed by Microsoft and was first widely used in Windows 7 phones. As you might know, Typography is not a new concept. We have seen these types of directions and instructions everywhere especially at the airports.

Start Screen

After the initial installation of Windows Server 2012 with GUI option (these installation option details are explained in the later chapters of this book) , you will see eight tiles on the Start Screen– Server Manager, Windows PowerShell, Administrative Tools, Computer, Task Manger, Control Panel, Internet Explorer and Desktop. More tiles will be automatically added based on roles, features and tools installed on the local server. In other words each tile represents each role, features or application on the local computer. The “tile” approach is a great way to visually identify (typographically) the required programs from a server instead of navigating through the menu buttons and program files. However, keep in mind that, if the desktop gets too crowded with these tiles, it will become difficult to identify the required administrative “tiles”. When more tiles are added, you can scroll the screen to left or right based on your requirement. Of course you will have the option to Pin or Unpin these tasks into the desktop as required. You will also see “Run as different User” option from the start window itself.

Note: You won’t be able to enable (even through registry changes) old Start menu option in Server 2012. Metro Style UI is the standard and default interface for Windows Server 2012. So get familiarized with this interface!

Operating System

Windows Server 2012 is only available in 64 bit version. The installation options are limited to the following two levels:

  1. Server Core – Server Core is considered as the default installation for Windows Server 2012. You can use RSAT for remote server administration and management. Managing these servers using PowerShell is also supported.
  2. Server with a GUI - The “Server with a GUI” option can be compared to the full installation option available in Windows Server 2008 R2. However, you will notice that some of the features like Directory Service (DS) commands are not available as part of the Operating System in Windows Server 2012.

Note: Server Core can reduce up to 50% patches compared to a server with a GUI.

Configuration Levels

A major change in Windows Server 2012 is that you can choose different “configuration levels” when installing OS or you can modify these levels after the installation. Unlike Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2, now you have an option to convert Full Server to Server Core and vice versa. As you might know, in Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, your only option is to re-install the entire Operating system. However, in Windows server 2012 the Operating System consists of three layers – Core, Core+Full Server and Core+Full Server +GUI. You can add or remove these layers to customize your installation into your desired state. In other words, you can achieve all these without reinstalling the entire Operating System.

In Windows server 2012, Microsoft has introduced three new features – Graphical Management tools and infrastructure, Server Graphical Shell and Desktop Experience. When you add or remove these features to a server core installation, you will get the desired result as shown the following diagram:


For example, if you remove the Server Graphical Shell, you will get Minimal Server Interface version of Windows Server 2012. This is similar to a Server with a GUI installation, but Internet Explorer 10, Windows Explorer, the desktop, and the Start screen will not be available. Then Microsoft Management Console (MMC), Server Manager, and a subset of Control Panel will be available. The Desktop Experience feature includes Desktop Themes, Windows Media Player, Photo Management etc. Windows PowerShell is part of all versions of Windows Server 2012. You can read more about Converting from Core version to GUI and vice versa in the installation and configuration section of this book.

Features on demand

In Windows Server 2012, you can customize the installation by removing the installation binaries from the hard drive (Disabled with payload removed) or by installing the required features or roles on the server (“features on demand”). When installing these features you have an option to select the local or remote media, Windows image file (WIM) or Windows Update service as the source file.

Note: Unlike Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008, Directory Service (DS) commands are not part of Windows Server 2012 Operating System.

What is Next?

The following topics and step-by-step instructions are included in the book:

· Windows Server 2012 Core and GUI installation and configuration

· Windows Server 2012 local and remote administration

· Windows Server 2012 Roles and Feature deployment

· Active Directory and domain controller migration

· Network Services (DNS and DHCP) migration

· Data and file server migration

· Printer and print server migration

· Hyper-V and virtual server migration

· Decommissioning old servers and domain controllers

This book currently available in all major stores.



Barnes & Nobile’s

Safari Books Online


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