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Growing Beyond 25 Users with Windows Server 2012 Essentials

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Cristian Molina from Windows Server Essentials Team] Hi, I’m Cristian Molina, Lead Program Manager on the Windows Server Essentials team, and today I want to share with you more information around our growth story for moving past 25 users in Windows Server 2012 Essentials (Essentials). One of the major pieces of feedback about the previous version, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, was that after a customer had grown beyond the 25-user limit, they had to migrate to Windows Server Standard. After the migration, key Windows SBS-specific features that they had come to depend on (such as client backup, Remote Web Access, and the Dashboard) were no longer available. We wanted to address this issue in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, so now we enable customers to do an in-place license transition to Windows Server 2012 Standard. The process for performing the transition is documented on the TechNet page, Transition from Windows Server 2012 Essentials to Windows Server 2012 Standard . Customers need to purchase a copy of Windows Server 2012 Standard, and because Essentials does not have any client access licenses (CALs), they will also need to purchase the appropriate number of Windows Server 2012 CALs for their environment (these can be either Per User or Per Device CALs, but Per User CALs are more common). For example, if an organization with 26 users is performing the transition, they will need 26 Windows Server 2012 Per User CALs to be license-compliant. After you have transitioned to Windows Server 2012 Standard, the Windows Server 2012 Essentials limits are removed, including restrictions on user accounts, number of devices, the Hyper-V role, and Active Directory. Instead, you will be subject to the limits and restrictions of Windows Server 2012 Standard. The Essentials features will still be there with the exception of the media features, which no longer work due to technical limitations. The removal of media functionality means that media features in other parts of the Essentials experience will be removed (for example, the ability to access media via Remote Web Access, media settings in the Dashboard). After an in-place license transition to Windows Server 2012 Standard, the Windows Server 2012 Essentials features can support up to 75 user accounts and 75 devices. Note that there are no restrictions placed on the number of users and devices that can be added to a Windows Server 2012 Standard environment. For the Essentials features to function properly, the Windows Server 2012 roles and the features they depend on must not be removed or reconfigured, such as the Active Directory Domain Services role, the Web Server role, or others. Our goal is for Essentials features to work after the in-place transition for up to 75 user accounts and 75 devices. We used this goal to help scope our testing effort as well as our support statement. Customers can, of course, make any number of changes to their systems, but we had to strike a balance here of enabling customers to grow while also having a stable and supported system. In the event that you grow beyond 75 user accounts or 75 devices, or you want to move to a different solution for specific pieces of Windows Server 2012 Essentials functionality, the Essentials features can then be turned off, which is also documented on the TechNet page. After the Essentials features are turned off, it is not possible to turn them back on. Summary Windows Server 2012 Essentials enables customers to grow beyond 25 users by doing an in-place license transition to Windows Server 2012 Standard. After making this transition, you will be able to continue using Essentials features with the exception of media features. Essentials features are supported for up to 75 users and 75 devices. If you grow beyond 75 or want to change the configuration of the server, we recommend that you turn off Essentials features. If you haven’t already, please download the beta and give us feedback via the Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials forum . We’d love to hear from you!

Known Issues after Installing WSUS Update KB2720211

Few issues have been encountered after applying WSUS update KB2720211 on Small Business Server 2003 (If WSUS 3.0 is present), Small Business Server 2008, and Small Business Server 2011 Standard. WSUS team came up with a blog post which covers all these issues and their resolution/workaround in detail. For more information please see the following blog: .

Windows Small Business Server Essentials becomes Windows Server 2012 Essentials

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy David Fabritius from Windows Server Marketing] Hi everyone, I’m writing today about a significant milestone for Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS). With the new Windows Server 2012 line up, Windows Small Business Server Essentials has been renamed Windows Server 2012 Essentials . By making Essentials a full-fledged member of the Windows Server family, we are reaffirming our commitment to delivering a flexible, cloud-enabled server platform that is designed and priced for small businesses and the partners that serve them. Formalizing Essentials as a core edition of Windows Server 2012 will more clearly communicate how it fits into the Windows Server family and give it more visibility as a product. We believe Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the most affordable and easy-to-use server solution for small businesses to date, helping customers with up to 25 users and 50 devices reduce costs and be more productive. It is an ideal first server, and can also be used as the primary server in a multi-server environment for small businesses. It helps you to protect, centralize, organize, and access your applications and information from almost anywhere by using virtually any device. Additionally, Essentials can grow with the needs of your business over time; you can purchase and convert to Windows Server 2012 Standard, removing the maximum user and device limits while retaining all your data and configuration settings as well as the unique value-add features that Essentials provides. Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been designed to give you the flexibility to choose which applications and services run on-premises and which run in the cloud. In contrast to Windows SBS Standard, Essentials offers lower up-front acquisition and deployment costs. It allows you to take advantage of cloud-based messaging offerings while enjoying an integrated management experience by subscribing to Office 365 or a hosted Exchange service. If you prefer a fully on-premises solution, you have the option of running Exchange Server on a second server (either as a physical or virtual machine) alongside Essentials with the same integrated management experience. Windows Server 2012 Essentials can also be used as a platform to run line-of-business applications and other on-premises workloads, as well as to provide an integrated management experience when running cloud-based applications and services, such as email, collaboration, online backup, and more. Windows SBS 2011 Standard, which includes Exchange Server and SharePoint Foundation, will be the final such Windows SBS offering. It will remain available through the OEM channel until December 31, 2013, and will remain available in all other current channels until June 30, 2013. For additional details, please see the Windows Server 2012 Essentials FAQ . I hope to see you at the 2012 Worldwide Partner Conference starting July 8 in Toronto, Canada, where we’ll be talking more about Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and we’ll also let you know when you can try it out.

Server Backup known Issues and Resolutions

[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Ning Kuang from Sustained Engineering] A new wiki has been released to address all reported issues and resolutions of Server Backup feature in Window Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. For more information please visit the following link:

Where is my SQL Server 2008 R2 for Small Business Product Key?

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Moloy Tandon from Commercial Technical Support] Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 Premium Add-on includes Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition for Small Business . If the product was purchased via Microsoft Open License – Volume Licensing program , the product key is pre-keyed when you run the setup as illustrated in the below screen shot. When you are on the Product Key page, all you need to do is click Next and proceed with the installation. If the product was purchased through other channels such as Retail, OEM, etc. they will include the product key with the media for this product and you are required to use this key while installing SQL 2008 R2 Standard Edition for Small Business. To install this edition of SQL server, the server must be joined to a Windows Small Business Server 2011 domain or a domain that has Active Directory configured in the way as explained in the blog post: Requirements for Installing SQL 2008 Standard Edition for Small Business . The requirements documented in the post also apply for SQL 2008 R2 Standard Edition for Small Business. If you install this edition of SQL Server on a server which does not meet the above criteria, the SQL server setup will fail. To diagnose the problem please refer to the following blog post, which is also applicable for SQL 2008 R2 Standard Edition for Small Business. How to diagnose “Operating system supported for edition” pre-requisite errors while installing SQL 2008 Standard Edition for Small Business

Update Rollup 3 for WSSG BPA is now available via Microsoft Updates, along with its Installation Tool

Update Rollup 3 for WSSG BPA (KB 2699813 ) is now available via Microsoft Updates, along with its installation tool (KB 2698659 ). Going forward, the current user experience related to BPA updates will change in the following ways: BPA updates will be visible and downloadable from Microsoft Update/WSUS. This requires an approval from the MU/WSUS. The original way of manually running the BPA tool and waiting for the notification of new updates is *not* applicable anymore. BPA tool is now available to be installed via Optional Updates from MU/WSUS for all SBS 2011 products which has no BPA installed.  This update will also install MBCA silently during the patching.

Key Small Business Server 2011 Essentials Log Files

[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Ashish Sukhija and Rituraj Choudhary from Commercial Technical Support] In SBS Essentials the location of the log files is under C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows ServerLogs . From a support perspective this can be very handy as you will always know where the log file will be located. We have compiled a list of important logs and their associated wizards below. Please note that there are a few wizards which refer to one or more logs. C:ProgramData is hidden by default. Please use Folder Options in Windows Explorer to unhide it. Log files on the Windows SBS 2011 Essentials Server: Alert viewer ProviderRegistryService.2.log Server Settings ProviderRegistryService.2.log GETTING STARTED TASKS   Set up Server Backup Dashboard.log Set up Remote Web Access Dashboard.log, SharedServiceHost-DomainManagerServiceConfig.log Set options for sharing Dashboard.log Set up alert email notification Dashboard.log Set up Microsoft Office 365 Integration       COMMON TASKS   Add a user account Dashboard.log Add a shared folder Dashboard.log Deactivate User Account/ Activate User Account SharedServiceHost-O365ProviderServiceConfig.log, SharedServiceHost-O365ProviderServiceConfig.#.log and Dashboard.log Assign Office 365 account SharedServiceHost-O365ProviderServiceConfig.log, SharedServiceHost-O365ProviderServiceConfig.2.log and Dashboard.log Unassign Office 365 account SharedServiceHost-O365ProviderServiceConfig.log, SharedServiceHost-O365ProviderServiceConfig.2.log and Dashboard.log Add a user account Dashboard.log Set the password policy Dashboard.log Remove the user account Dashboard.log Change the user account password Dashboard.log View the server properties ProviderRegistryService.2.log Restore files or folders for the server SharedServiceHost-AlertServiceConfig.2.log Customize Backup of the server SharedServiceHost-SystemServiceConfig.2.log View alerts for the server ProviderRegistryService.2.log Additional client computer backup tasks ProviderRegistryService.2.log Move a folder storageservice2.log, Dashboard.log Add a folder storageservice2.log, Dashboard.log View the folder properties storageservice2.log, Dashboard.log Change the Office 365 administrator account OIMGettingStartedWizard.log Link a domain to Office 365 Dashboard.log Uninstall Office 365 Integration Module OIMUninstallWizard.log Other log files: Remote Web Access browsing C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows ServerLogsWebAppsRemoteAccess.log My Home Server app on Windows 7 Phone C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows ServerLogsWebAppsMobileData.log Active Directory Domain Setup Log DCPromo_date_time.log Few relevant log files on the Windows SBS 2011 Essentials Client: The log files for the Vista and later clients are located in C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows ServerLogs. The log files on Windows XP clients are present under C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataMicrosoftWindows ServerLogs. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Launchpad Launchpad.log Backup BackupLaunchpad.log Opening the Dashboard from the client DashboardClient.log Presence of Essential Server and configures the local DNS services Launchpad.log Windows Firewall Configuration for Remote Desktops on Clients RemoteDesktopClientConfig.log Backup Launchpad BackupLaunchpad.log Added Scheduled Tasks RunTask-AddScheduledTasks.log Scheduled Backup Task RunTask-Backup.log Customer Experience Improvement Program Run Task-SaveCEIPData.log Windows Small Business Server 2011 Connector ComputerConnector.log Client Setup ClientCore.msi.log, ClientDeploy.log For non-Windows client computers, the following log files are referred: 1.    System.log 2.    Library/Logs/Windows Server.log 3.    Library/Logs/CrashReporter/LaunchPad- (all of the LaunchPad- .crash files) 4.    Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/LaunchPad- (all of the LaunchPad- .crash files) Windows Server Solutions Log Collector Tool is an efficient way to collect all of the logs and can be downloaded here .