As Windows administrators, we tend to rely on administrative tools to manage our server infrastructure. If working as a systems administrator, daily tasks require many logins and that can sometimes get frustrating if you are busy either deploying a new server, or configure DNS records, managing Active Directory and Group Policy from your local PC. With your PC, your client OS (whether it be XP, Vista or 7) offers a set of Administrative Tools (RSAT), but they are all for the most part meant to help you manage your desktop system. To make life easier when managing systems, system roles or a centralized console solution such as System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), Microsoft offers many tools to help you run tools from your PC or Laptop.
To administer Windows Servers, you need tools to manage the roles and features installed on them, as well as the base OS. Using tools to manage services remotely is not new to those who have worked with Windows for years. It’s common that Systems Administrators will need to respond to problems immediately, so to jump on a wireless connection on your laptop, connect to the Internet, use a Virtual Private Network (or VPN), to encrypt your connection, and then connect to and manage it, no matter where that server may be on your network.
With Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, the ‘admin pack’ and resource kit tools helped expand the Administrative Tools toolset, and allowed you to manage servers from your desktop. Anyone familiar with this toolset, will warm right up to the Remote Server Administration tool download. Most of the same tools have evolved into what is currently offered. You can get it free of charge from Microsoft download as long as you have an authentic copy of Windows 7, and by searching for ’Remote Server Administration tool’ at Microsoft download. One thing to note is all versions of Windows 7 will not work with this toolset. The Remote Server Administration Tools software can be used with Windows 7 Enterprise, Professional, or Ultimate editions.
To those new with Windows 7, (or Windows Vista (SP 1) where it evolved from), there are a few caveats to using it. First, this toolset functions with Windows 2008 and 2008 R2; with Windows Server 2003, you can still use the toolset, but are limited in what you can do with it. There are also differences between using these tools on a Windows Core installation, or a regular installation.
In this article, we will look at the Remote Server Administration Tools used on Windows 7 to manage Windows Servers, such as Windows Server 2003, 2008 and 2008 R2. Coverage is provided on how to find, download and install the tools, enable them on Windows 7 and configure them for use.
Download and Installation
To use the Remote Server Administration Tools, you must first prepare your system, download the tools and then install and configure them for use.
First, Windows 7 comes in multiple editions and you need to know that you are running the correct one to install the software. You can use Windows 7 Enterprise, Professional and Ultimate. If you do not know what version you are using, you can find out quickly. To view if you have the correct version, click on the Start button and click on the Computer link in the Start Menu. Then, click on the System properties link. This will show you basic information you need to know about Windows 7, such as what version you are currently running. Figure 1 shows the location in where to look; here the edition used is Windows 7 Professional.
Figure 1: Viewing Basic Information about your Computer
As with most Windows desktop operating systems, you will need to be the system’s local Administrator in order to install software on your system. Domain Administrators can also install software on the machine if that machine is configured with Active Directory and groups are configured correctly.
The Remote Server Administration Tools will expand your toolset considerably. Figure 2 shows Windows 7’s Administrative Tools prior to installing the Remote Server Administration Tools.
Figure 2: Administrative Tools prior to Installation of Remote Server Administration Tools
Now that you know you have the correct version and are allowed to configure your machine, visit Microsoft on the Internet to download the software. Go to the Microsoft download site and search for Remote Administration Tools for Windows 7. You can also click here.
Once you read over the download page’s information about the tools, you should take note of other Windows 7 system requirements, such as if you need to download the x86 or x64 versions. If you are using x86 or x64 hardware architecture, then make sure you take this into consideration before downloading the Remote Server Administration Tools.
Once the download completes, you are ready to install and configure your tools for use.
If you have administrative rights, you are ready to install. Installing Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 is simple. You can run the downloaded Microsoft Update Standalone package (*.msu file) and select for it to run or to be placed somewhere on the local machine or other connected drives.
To install, run the program. Open the downloaded package by double-clicking on it. This will start the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 Setup Wizard. Accept the License Terms and Limited Warranty to start the installation process. Select the location where you want to install and complete the wizard. Once the installation is completed, you can then configure Windows 7 so you can use them.
Next, you will need to configure Windows features so that you can use the tools. To do this, you will have to allow for the tools to be used by configuring them within Windows features, located in the Control Panel. To configure Windows features, click on the start button and select the Control Panel link. Click on Programs and Features and turn then Turn Windows features on or off as you need them. If you are prompted by the by User Account Control (UAC) dialog, click to continue and if you have locked down your local firewall, make sure you do not block your tools from functioning. In the Windows Features dialog, browse down to Remote Server Administration Tools and expand the subfolders as seen in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Configuring Windows Features
After you select your tools for use, click OK. Now, you can use your tools. If you click on the Start button and do not see them in your Start Menu, you can configure this in the Start Menu properties. To access them, right click on the Start button and select Properties from the menu options. Now, configure the toolset to be displayed in the All Programs menu and click OK. Figure 4 shows the expanded toolset on Windows 7.
Figure 4: Administrative Tools expanded with Remote Server Administration Tools
As you can see, the toolset grows as you need it. If you need to remove items, go back to Windows features and allow or block them there. Now you can manage your servers conveniently from your Windows 7 workstation.
If you need to remove the Remote Server Administration Tools from Windows 7, go to the Control Panel and click Uninstall a program within Programs and Features. Then, click on View installed updates and remove Update for Microsoft Windows (958830). Do this by selecting it, right click it and then click on Uninstall.
Manage your Servers
To manage your servers, you first need to match your roles with your installed features. For example, if you are going to manage a DHCP server, you need to have that feature enabled in Remote Server Administration Tools. Once configured correctly, you can then manage roles (such as a DHCP server, or AD) and features (such as a WINS server) on any server you have rights to. Figure 5 shows the DHCP role console, where you can then right click on the DHCP icon, and connect to the server that runs it by hostname or IP address.
Figure 5: Managing a DHCP server from your Desktop
You can also connect and manage your servers to troubleshoot them. Logs are helpful, simply launch the Event Viewer and follow the same steps. Right click the Event Viewer icon and connect to the server in which you want to view logs on. Figure 6 shows the Event Viewer used to help solve problems with Windows servers.
Figure 6: Connecting to and Troubleshooting a Remote Server via the Event Viewer
Go through and use any of the tools that map to roles and features in your environment. If you are using Virtualization technology, you can manage your Virtual Machines (or VMs) from a Hyper-V environment; manage Active Directory, Group Policy and so much more. Browse through the tools and get familiar with them. You can also use the tools Help file to learn more about its usage.
In this article, we looked at using Remote Server Administration Tools with Windows 7. Because Windows administrators tend to rely on administrative tools to manage the server infrastructure, these tools will help with that task. With Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7, you can quickly and easily manage and maintain your servers, roles, features and more, whether using Windows Server 2003, 2008, or 2008 R2. Here, we looked at how to download the tools, install them and configure them for use on Windows 7 as well as how to connect to and manage your server farm. For more information, please visit the Helpful Information and links section and read up on Microsoft’s official documentation.
In this section of the article, you can find more information on Remote Server Administration Tools, where to find and download them and support articles to help you learn more about them. Other tools are also included here that you can investigate to help you remotely manage your Windows systems.
- Remote Server Administration Tools download. Here you can download: amd64fre_GRMRSATX_MSU.msu or x86fre_GRMRSAT_MSU.msu
- TechNet Article: Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7
- KB article 958830: Installation Steps for Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7
- Information on the System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)
- Using Windows Remote Management Services (RMS).
Windows Remote Management is one component of the Windows Hardware Management features that manage server hardware locally and remotely. Check them out here and here.
- Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Clients / Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
- Server Core and Server Core Remote Management
- Server Core Installation Option Getting Started Guide
- Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2
- Remote Management with Server Manager