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Windows Admin Center, Windows Server Core

Managing Windows Server Core with Windows Admin Center

This post will show how the communication between Windows Admin Center and Virtual Machines is configured in a mobile lab environment.

Setup VM Environment

Here are the checklist to make sure your Windows Admin Center will properly talk with your VMs:

  • VMWare Workstation is installed and VM(s) created
  • VMWare Workstation’s VMNet is configured with NAT for the Host to communicated with the VMs, see example below:
Go through and complete the Window Admin Center Setup process
Once finished, launch the Windows Admin Center

At the Windows Admin Center, you can go to Settings and configure the Personalization to choose your preferred color mode, in my case I have set the color mode to Dark mode.

You can set your preferred Language / Region as well as the settings for turning On or Off the show of suggestions like Azure Services, New Features, Important information and Extension in Suggestions Settings.

and under Gateway Settings, the Extensions and Azure can be configured there as well. But that’s for later.

Connecting to a Server


Define IP Addresses and VM hostnames

By now you should already have assigned IP Addresses and Host names to you Virtual Machines.

Edit HOST File

To have Windows Admin Center query the VMs using their hostnames we need to edit the host file, although you can still add these VMs using their IP addresses, I still prefer to use their hostnames over IPs. To edit the host file, copy out the host file from C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc to a temp folder e.g., C:\Temp and edit it with notepad.

From the screenshot below you can see that I have defined my hostnames even before the promotion of my Domain Controller (LABDC01) and installation of the ConfigMgr Server (LABCM01).

Allow incoming connection to the Windows Server Core VM

In the Windows Server Core VM that was setup earlier we need to run the following command:

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”File and Printer Sharing” new enable=yes

this will allow incoming connection from the Host machine

Verify the connectivity between Host and VM

The host machine should be able to Ping the VM via hostname and IP Address

Add Server to Windows Admin Center

Back in the Windows Admin Center click + Add under the All connections

From the Choose the connection type select Servers

In the Servers > Add one, we’ll type the hostname LABDC01 and enter the LABDC01 Administrator’s credentials. Optionally, you can also add tags for this server. Click Add with credentials

You can also add server(s) with Import a list and Search Active Directory options.

You should see the added server under the All connections

Note: As stated earlier, you can also add server(s) in Windows Admin Center using its IP Address as shown from the screenshot below

Managing Server

The next thing to do is to manage your newly added server. In the Windows Admin Center > Server Manager double click the server name.

You can begin exploring server from the list of Tools at the left pane

Here are the lists of tools that’s available for server connections.

OverviewView server details and control server state
Active DirectoryManage Active Directory
BackupView and configure Azure Backup
CertificatesView and modify certificates
ContainersView Containers
DevicesView and modify devices
DHCPView and manage DHCP server configuration
DNSView and manage DNS server configuration
EventsView events
FilesBrowse files and folders
FirewallView and modify firewall rules
Installed AppsView and remove installed apps
Local Users and GroupsView and modify local users and groups
NetworkView and modify network devices
PowerShellInteract with server via PowerShell
ProcessesView and modify running processes
RegistryView and modify registry entries
Remote DesktopInteract with server via Remote Desktop
Roles and FeaturesView and modify roles and features
Scheduled TasksView and modify scheduled tasks
ServicesView and modify services
SettingsView and modify services
StorageView and modify storage devices
Storage Migration ServiceMigrate servers and file shares to Azure or Windows Server 2019
Storage ReplicaUse Storage Replica to manage server-to-server storage replication
System InsightsSystem Insights gives you increased insight into the functioning of your server.
UpdatesView installed and check for new updates
Virtual MachinesView and manage virtual machines
Virtual SwitchesView and manage virtual switches

Visit the official Windows Admin Center webpage for more information https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-admin-center


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