Server Manager

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Windows Server® 2008 operating system eases the task of managing and securing multiple server roles in an enterprise with the new Server Manager console. Server Manager in Windows Server 2008 provides a single source for managing a server's identity and system information, displaying server status, identifying problems with server role configuration, and managing all roles installed on the server.

Server Manager replaces several features included with Windows Server® 2003, including Manage Your Server, Configure Your Server, and Add or Remove Windows Components.

Server Manager also eliminates the requirement that administrators run the Security Configuration Wizard before deploying servers; server roles are configured with recommended security settings by default, and are ready to deploy as soon as they are installed and properly configured.

What does Server Manager do?

Server Manager is an expanded Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that allows you to view and manage virtually all of the information and tools that affect your server's productivity. Commands in Server Manager allow you to install or remove server roles and features, and to augment roles already installed on the server by adding role services.

Server Manager makes server administration more efficient by allowing administrators to do the following by using a single tool:

  • View and make changes to server roles and features installed on the server.

  • Perform management tasks associated with the operational life cycle of the server, such as starting or stopping services, and managing local user accounts.

  • Perform management tasks associated with the operational life cycle of roles installed on the server.

  • Determine server status, identify critical events, and analyze and troubleshoot configuration issues or failures.

  • Install or remove roles, role services, and features by using a Windows command line.

Who will be interested in Server Manager?

Server Manager is designed to provide the greatest benefit to any of the following types of IT professionals:

  • An IT administrator, planner or analyst who is evaluating Windows Server 2008

  • An enterprise IT planner or designer

  • An early adopter of Windows Server 2008

  • An IT architect who is responsible for computer management and security throughout an organization

Are there any special considerations?

Before using Server Manager, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the functions, terminology, requirements, and day-to-day management tasks of any roles you plan to install on your server. For more detailed information about server roles, see the Windows Server TechCenter (

Server Manager is installed by default as part of the Windows Server 2008 setup process. To use Server Manager, you must be logged on to the computer as a member of the Administrators group on the local computer.

What server roles and features are available?

Windows Server 2008 includes the following roles and features.

Server roles

A server role describes the primary function of the server. Administrators can choose to dedicate an entire computer to one server role, or install multiple server roles on a single computer. Each role can include one or more role services, best described as sub-elements of a role. The following server roles are available in Windows Server 2008, and can be installed and managed by using Server Manager.

Role name Description

Active Directory Certificate Services

Active Directory® Certificate Services (AD CS) provides customizable services for creating and managing public key certificates used in software security systems employing public key technologies. Organizations can use Active Directory Certificate Services to enhance security by binding the identity of a person, device, or service to a corresponding private key. Active Directory Certificate Services also includes features that allow you to manage certificate enrollment and revocation in a variety of scalable environments.

Applications supported by Active Directory Certificate Services include Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), secure wireless networks, virtual private networks (VPN), Internet Protocol security (IPsec), Encrypting File System (EFS), smart card logon, Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS), and digital signatures.

Active Directory Domain Services

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) stores information about users, computers, and other devices on the network. AD DS helps administrators securely manage this information and facilitates resource sharing and collaboration between users. AD DS is also required to be installed on the network in order to install directory-enabled applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server and for applying other Windows Server technologies such as Group Policy.

Active Directory Federation Services

Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) provides Web single-sign-on (SSO) technologies to authenticate a user to multiple Web applications using a single user account. AD FS accomplishes this by securely federating, or sharing, user identities and access rights, in the form of digital claims, between partner organizations.

Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services

Organizations that have applications which require a directory for storing application data can use Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) as the data store. AD LDS runs as a non-operating-system service, and, as such, it does not require deployment on a domain controller. Running as a non-operating-system service allows multiple instances of AD LDS to run concurrently on a single server, and each instance can be configured independently for servicing multiple applications.

Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS)

AD RMS is information protection technology that works with AD RMS-enabled applications to help safeguard digital information from unauthorized use. Content owners can define exactly how a recipient can use the information, such as who can open, modify, print, forward, or take other actions with the information. Organizations can create custom usage rights templates such as "Confidential—Read Only" that can be applied directly to information such as financial reports, product specifications, customer data, and e-mail messages.

Application Server

Application Server provides a complete solution for hosting and managing high-performance distributed business applications. Integrated services, such as the .NET Framework, Web Server Support, Message Queuing, COM+, Windows Communication Foundation, and Failover Clustering support boost productivity throughout the application life cycle, from design and development through deployment and operations.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Server

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol allows servers to assign, or lease, IP addresses to computers and other devices that are enabled as DHCP clients. Deploying DHCP servers on the network automatically provides computers and other TCP/IP-based network devices with valid IP addresses and the additional configuration parameters these devices need, called DHCP options, that allow them to connect to other network resources, such as DNS servers, WINS servers, and routers.

DNS Server

Domain Name System (DNS) provides a standard method for associating names with numeric Internet addresses. This makes it possible for users to refer to network computers by using easy-to-remember names instead of a long series of numbers. Windows DNS services can be integrated with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services on Windows, eliminating the need to add DNS records as computers are added to the network.

Fax Server

Fax Server sends and receives faxes, and allows you to manage fax resources such as jobs, settings, reports, and fax devices on this computer or on the network.

File Services

File Services provides technologies for storage management, file replication, distributed namespace management, fast file searching, and streamlined client access to files.


Hyper-V provides the services that you can use to create and manage virtual machines and their resources. Each virtual machine is a virtualized computer system that operates in an isolated execution environment. This allows you to run multiple operating systems simultaneously.

Network Policy and Access Services

Network Policy and Access Services delivers a variety of methods to provide users with local and remote network connectivity, to connect network segments, and to allow network administrators to centrally manage network access and client health policies. With Network Access Services, you can deploy VPN servers, dial-up servers, routers, and 802.11 protected wireless access. You can also deploy RADIUS servers and proxies, and use Connection Manager Administration Kit to create remote access profiles that allow client computers to connect to your network.

Print Services

Print Services enables the management of print servers and printers. A print server reduces administrative and management workload by centralizing printer management tasks.

Terminal Services

Terminal Services provides technologies that enable users to access Windows-based programs that are installed on a terminal server, or to access the Windows desktop itself from almost any computing device. Users can connect to a terminal server to run programs and to use network resources on that server.

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration Services

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services provides UDDI capabilities for sharing information about Web services within an organization's intranet, between business partners on an extranet, or on the Internet. UDDI Services can help improve the productivity of developers and IT professionals with more reliable and manageable applications. With UDDI Services you can prevent duplication of effort by promoting reuse of existing development work.

Web Server (IIS)

Web Server (IIS) enables sharing of information on the Internet, an intranet, or an extranet. It is a unified Web platform that integrates IIS 7.0, ASP.NET, and Windows Communication Foundation. IIS 7.0 also features enhanced security, simplified diagnostics, and delegated administration.

Windows Deployment Services

You can use Windows Deployment Services to install and configure Windows operating systems remotely on computers with Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE) boot ROMs. Administration overhead is decreased through the implementation of the WdsMgmt Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in, which manages all aspects of Windows Deployment Services. Windows Deployment Services also provides end users an experience consistent with Windows Setup.

The following figure shows the File Services role home page in Server Manager.


Features, generally speaking, do not describe the primary function of a server. Features provide auxiliary or supporting functions to servers. Typically, administrators add features not as the primary function of a server, but to augment the functionality of installed roles.

For example, Failover Clustering is a feature which administrators can install after installing certain server roles, such as File Services, to add redundancy to File Services and shorten possible disaster recovery time.

The following features are available in Windows Server 2008, and can be installed using commands in Server Manager.

Feature Description

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Features

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 combines the power of the .NET Framework 2.0 APIs with new technologies for building applications that offer appealing user interfaces, protect your customers’ personal identity information, enable seamless and secure communication, and provide the ability to model a range of business processes.

BitLocker Drive Encryption

BitLocker Drive Encryption helps to protect data on lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned computers by encrypting the entire volume and checking the integrity of early boot components. Data is decrypted only if those components are successfully verified and the encrypted drive is located in the original computer. Integrity checking requires a compatible trusted platform module (TPM).

BITS Server Extensions

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) Server Extensions allow a server to receive files uploaded by clients using BITS. BITS allows client computers to transfer files in the foreground or background asynchronously, preserve the responsiveness of other network applications, and resume file transfers after network failures and computer restarts.

Connection Manager Administration Kit

Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) generates Connection Manager profiles.

Desktop Experience

Desktop Experience includes features of Windows Vista®, such as Windows Media Player, desktop themes, and photo management. Desktop Experience does not enable any of the Windows Vista features by default; you must manually enable them.

Failover Clustering

Failover Clustering allows multiple servers to work together to provide high availability of services and applications. Failover Clustering is often used for file and print services, database, and e-mail applications.

Group Policy Management

Group Policy Management makes it easier to understand, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot Group Policy implementations. The standard tool is Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), a scriptable Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that provides a single administrative tool for managing Group Policy across the enterprise.

Internet Printing Client

Internet Printing Client enables clients to use Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) to connect and print to printers on the network or Internet.

Internet Storage Name Server

Internet Storage Name Server (iSNS) provides discovery services for Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) storage area networks. iSNS processes registration requests, deregistration requests, and queries from iSNS clients.

LPR Port Monitor

Line Printer Remote (LPR) Port Monitor enables the computer to print to printers that are shared using any Line Printer Daemon (LPD) service. (LPD service is commonly used by UNIX-based computers and printer-sharing devices.)

Message Queuing

Message Queuing provides guaranteed message delivery, efficient routing, security, and priority-based messaging between applications. Message Queuing also accommodates message delivery between applications that run on different operating systems, use dissimilar network infrastructures, are temporarily offline, or that are running at different times.

Multipath I/O

Microsoft Multipath I/O (MPIO), along with the Microsoft Device Specific Module (DSM) or a third-party DSM, provides support for using multiple data paths to a storage device on Windows.

Network Load Balancing

Network Load Balancing (NLB) distributes traffic across several servers, using the TCP/IP networking protocol. NLB is particularly useful for ensuring that stateless applications, such as a Web server running Internet Information Services (IIS), are scalable by adding additional servers as the load increases.

Peer Name Resolution Protocol

Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) allows applications to register on and resolve names from your computer, so other computers can communicate with these applications.

Quality Windows Audio Video Experience

Quality Windows Audio Video Experience (qWave) is a networking platform for audio and video (AV) streaming applications on Internet protocol home networks. qWave enhances AV streaming performance and reliability by ensuring network quality-of-service for AV applications. It provides admission control, run time monitoring and enforcement, application feedback, and traffic prioritization. On Windows Server platforms, qWave provides only rate-of-flow and prioritization services.

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance enables you (or a support person) to offer assistance to users with computer issues or questions. Remote Assistance allows you to view and share control of the user’s desktop in order to troubleshoot and fix the issues. Users can also ask for help from friends or co-workers.

Remote Differential Compression

The Remote Differential Compression (RDC) feature is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that applications can use to determine if a set of files have changed, and if so, to detect which portions of the files contain the changes.

Remote Server Administration Tools

Remote Server Administration Tools enables remote management of Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 from a computer running Windows Server 2008, by allowing you to run some of the management tools for roles, role services, and features on a remote computer.

Removable Storage Manager

Removable Storage Manager (RSM) manages and catalogs removable media and operates automated removable media devices.

RPC over HTTP Proxy

RPC over HTTP Proxy is a proxy that is used by objects that receive remote procedure calls (RPC) over Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). This proxy allows clients to discover these objects even if the objects are moved between servers or if they exist in discrete areas of the network, usually for security reasons.

Services for NFS

Services for Network File System (NFS) is a protocol that acts as a distributed file system, allowing a computer to access files over a network as easily as if they were on its local disks. This feature is available for installation on Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems; in other versions of Windows Server 2008, Services for NFS is available as a role service of the File Services role.

Simple TCP/IP Services

Simple TCP/IP Services supports the following TCP/IP services: Character Generator, Daytime, Discard, Echo, and Quote of the Day. Simple TCP/IP Services is provided for backward compatibility and should not be installed unless it is required.

SMTP Server

SMTP Server supports the transfer of e-mail messages between e-mail systems.

SNMP Services

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is the Internet standard protocol for exchanging management information between management console applications—such as HP Openview, Novell NMS, IBM NetView, or Sun Net Manager—and managed entities. Managed entities can include hosts, routers, bridges, and hubs.

Storage Manager for Storage Area Networks

Storage Manager for Storage Area Networks (SANs) helps you create and manage logical unit numbers (LUNs) on Fibre Channel and iSCSI disk drive subsystems that support Virtual Disk Service (VDS) in your SAN.

Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications

Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA), along with a package of support utilities available for download from the Microsoft Web site, enables you to run UNIX-based programs, and compile and run custom UNIX-based applications in the Windows environment.

Telnet Client

Telnet Client uses the Telnet protocol to connect to a remote telnet server and run applications on that server.

Telnet Server

Telnet Server allows remote users, including those running UNIX-based operating systems, to perform command-line administration tasks and run programs by using a telnet client.

Trivial File Transfer Protocol Client

Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) Client is used to read files from, or write files to, a remote TFTP server. TFTP is primarily used by embedded devices or systems that retrieve firmware, configuration information, or a system image during the boot process from a TFTP server.

Windows Internal Database

Windows Internal Database is a relational data store that can be used only by Windows roles and features, such as UDDI Services, AD RMS, Windows Server Update Services, and Windows System Resource Manager.

Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)

Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) provides a distributed database for registering and querying dynamic mappings of NetBIOS names for computers and groups used on your network. WINS maps NetBIOS names to IP addresses and solves the problems arising from NetBIOS name resolution in routed environments.

Windows PowerShell™

Windows PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that helps IT professionals achieve greater productivity. It provides a new administrator-focused scripting language and more than 130 standard command-line tools to enable easier system administration and accelerated automation.

Windows Process Activation Service

Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) generalizes the IIS process model, removing the dependency on HTTP. All the features of IIS that were previously available only to HTTP applications are now available to applications hosting Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services, using non-HTTP protocols. IIS 7.0 also uses WAS for message-based activation over HTTP.

Windows Server Backup Features

Windows Server Backup Features allow you to back up and recover your operating system, applications, and data. You can schedule backups to run once a day or more often, and can protect the entire server or specific volumes.

Windows System Resource Manager

Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM) is a Windows Server operating system administrative tool that can control how CPU and memory resources are allocated. Managing resource allocation improves system performance and reduces the risk that applications, services, or processes will interfere with each other to reduce server efficiency and system response.

Wireless LAN Service

Wireless LAN (WLAN) Service configures and starts the WLAN AutoConfig service, regardless of whether the computer has any wireless adapters. WLAN AutoConfig enumerates wireless adapters, and manages both wireless connections and the wireless profiles that contain the settings required to configure a wireless client to connect to a wireless network.

What new functionality does Server Manager provide?

While adding and removing server roles and features is not new, Server Manager unifies the functionality of multiple earlier tools in a single, simple, MMC-based user interface.

Roles and features installed by using Server Manager are secure by default. Administrators need not run the Security Configuration Wizard following role installation or removal unless they want to change default settings.

Server Manager provides a single point of access to management snap-ins for all installed roles. Adding a role automatically creates a management console home page in Server Manager for that role, which displays events and service status for all services that are part of the role. Role services, or sub-elements of a role, are listed in a section of the role home page. Administrators can open wizards to add or remove role services by using commands on this home page.

Initial Configuration Tasks

The Initial Configuration Tasks window is a new feature in Windows Server 2008 that opens automatically after the operating system installation process is complete, and helps the administrator finish the setup and initial configuration of a new server. It includes tasks such as setting the server's time zone, joining the server to an existing domain, enabling Remote Desktop for the server, and enabling Windows Update and Windows Firewall.

The following figure shows the Initial Configuration Tasks window in Windows Server 2008.

The Add Roles and Add Features commands in the Initial Configuration Tasks window allow you to begin adding roles and features to your server immediately.

The Initial Configuration Tasks window also allows you to participate in the following programs that provide anonymous feedback to Microsoft about how its software performs in your enterprise.

  • Windows Server Customer Experience Improvement Program

  • Windows Error Reporting

Default Settings in Initial Configuration

The following table shows some default settings that are configured by the Windows Server 2008 installation process. Commands available in the Initial Configuration Tasks window allow you to modify these defaults.

Setting Default Configuration

Computer name

The computer name is randomly assigned during installation. You can modify the computer name by using commands in the Initial Configuration Tasks window.

Domain membership

The computer is not joined to a domain by default; it is joined to a workgroup named WORKGROUP.

Windows automatic updating

Windows automatic updating is turned off by default.

Network connections

All network connections are set to obtain IP addresses automatically by using DHCP.

Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall is turned on by default.

Roles installed

No roles are installed by default.

Why is Initial Configuration Tasks important?

The Initial Configuration Tasks window helps administrators configure a server and shorten the amount of time between operating system installation and deployment of the server in an enterprise. It allows administrators to specify, in a logical manner, operating system settings that were previously exposed in Windows Server 2003 Setup, such as domain information and network settings.

What works differently?

Before Windows Server 2008, Windows server-class operating system setup paused for administrators to provide administrator account, domain, and network information. Feedback indicated that this practice slowed the operating system and server deployment process, because the completion of operating system installation would be delayed until administrators responded to the prompts and provided this information.

Initial Configuration Tasks allows administrators to postpone these tasks until installation is complete, meaning fewer interruptions during installation.

Additionally, since product activation can be done within a grace period (typically 30 days), and is not critical for the initial configuration of the server, the Activate Your Server command, present on the Manage Your Server window in Windows Server 2003, has been removed from Initial Configuration Tasks.

Server Manager Console

The Server Manager console is a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in which provides a consolidated view of the server, including information about server configuration, status of installed roles, and commands for adding and removing roles and features.

The hierarchy pane of the Server Manager console contains expandable nodes administrators can use to go directly to consoles for managing specific roles, troubleshooting tools, or backup and disaster recovery options.

The following figure shows the Server Manager main window.

The main window of the Server Manager console contains the following four collapsible sections:

  • Server Summary

    The Server Summary section includes two subsections, Computer Information and Security Information. Computer Information displays the computer name, domain, network connections, Remote Desktop status, and the product ID of the operating system. Commands in the Computer Information subsection allow you to edit this information.

    Security Information displays whether Windows automatic updating and Windows Firewall are enabled, the date and time the computer last checked for and installed updates, and whether the Windows® Internet Explorer® Enhanced Security Configuration is turned on, either for administrators or other users. Commands in the Security Information subsection allow you to edit these settings or view advanced options.

  • Roles Summary

    The Roles Summary section contains a table indicating which roles are installed on the server. Commands in this section allow you to add or remove roles, or go to a more detailed console in which you can manage a specific role.

  • Features Summary

    The Features Summary section contains a list indicating which features are installed on the server. Commands in this section allow you to add or remove features.

  • Resources and Support

    The Resources and Support section displays whether this server is participating in the feedback programs Customer Experience Improvement Program and Windows Error Reporting. Resources and Support is also designed to be a launch point for locating additional Help and research topics available online at the Windows Server TechCenter (

    Commands in this section allow you to modify the server's participation in feedback programs, and find more help and support.

    On each Server Manager role home page, the Resources and Support section offers a menu of recommended configurations or scenarios in which the role or parts of the role work. Each recommended configuration links to a Help checklist to guide administrators through the tasks they must perform to have the role function within that scenario.

Why is the Server Manager console important?

The Server Manager console is much like the front page of a newspaper about your server. It provides a single location for administrators to see a concise overview of a server, change the server's system properties, and install or remove roles or features.

Server Manager Wizards

Add Roles Wizard

The Add Roles Wizard, which can be used to add one or more roles to the server, automatically checks for dependencies between roles and verifies that all required roles and role services are installed for each selected role.

For some roles, such as Terminal Services and Active Directory Certificate Services, the Add Roles Wizard also provides configuration pages that allow the user to specify how the role should be configured as part of the installation process.

The following figure shows the Select Server Roles page of the Add Roles Wizard.

Add Role Services Wizard

Most roles, such as File Services, Terminal Services, and Active Directory Certificate Services, are composed of multiple sub-elements, identified as role services in the Server Manager interface.

After one of these complex roles is installed, you can add role services to the role by using the Add Role Services Wizard. The command that opens the Add Role Services Wizard is found on each role home page in the Server Manager console.

Add Features Wizard

The Add Features Wizard allows you to install one or more features to the computer in a single session. Features are software programs that support or augment the functionality of one or more roles, or enhance the functionality of the server itself, regardless of which roles are installed.

Commands that open the Add Features Wizard are in the Customize This Server area of the Initial Configuration Tasks window, and also in the Features Summary section of the Server Manager console window.

Remove Roles Wizard

The Remove Roles Wizard, which can be used to remove one or more roles from the server, automatically checks for dependencies between roles and verifies that required roles and role services remain installed for roles that you do not want to remove. The Remove Roles Wizard process prevents the accidental removal of roles or role services required by remaining roles on the server.

Remove Role Services Wizard

You can remove role services from an installed role by using the Remove Role Services Wizard. The command that opens the Remove Role Services Wizard is found on each role home page in the Server Manager console.

Remove Features Wizard

The Remove Features Wizard allows you to remove one or more features from the computer in a single session. Features are software programs that support or augment the functionality of one or more roles, or enhance the functionality of the server itself, regardless of which roles are installed.

Commands that open the Remove Features Wizard are in the Customize this server area of the Initial Configuration Tasks window, and also in the Features Summary section of the Server Manager console window.

Why are the Server Manager wizards important?

Wizards in Server Manager streamline the task of deploying servers in your enterprise by cutting the time it has taken in earlier Windows Server versions to install, configure, or remove roles, role services, and features. Multiple roles, role services, or features can be installed or removed in a single session by using Server Manager wizards.

Most importantly, Windows Server 2008 performs dependency checks as you progress through the Server Manager wizards, ensuring that all the roles and role services needed by a role you select are installed, and none are removed that might still be required by remaining roles or role services.

What works differently?

Earlier versions of Windows Server required you to use Configure Your Server, Manage Your Server, or Add or Remove Windows Components to add or remove server roles or other software. Dependency checks were limited, and Add or Remove Windows Components limited administrators to the installation of only one role at a time. Before you could add more roles, installation of each role had to complete.

The Server Manager collection of wizards allows you to add, remove, or augment multiple roles in a single session. It is possible to have your server completely ready for deployment at the completion of a single session in one of the Server Manager wizards. Role configurations are configured with recommended security settings by default; there is no requirement to run the Security Configuration Wizard following role or feature installation unless it is necessary to modify security defaults.

Server Manager command line

Server Manager offers a command-line tool—ServerManagerCmd.exe—which automates the deployment of roles and features on computers running Windows Server 2008.

You can use ServerManagerCmd.exe to install and remove roles, role services, and features. ServerManagerCmd.exe parameters also display a list of all roles, role services, and features both installed and available for installation on the computer.

Why is the Server Manager command line important?

The Server Manager command line allows for unattended installation or removal of roles, role services, and features. You can use the Server Manager command line to install or remove a single role, role service, or feature in a command instance, or you can use an XML answer file with the Server Manager command to add or remove multiple roles, role services, and features in a single command instance.

ServerManagerCmd.exe options enable users to view logs of its operations, and run queries to display lists of roles, role services, and features both installed and available for installation on a computer.

For detailed information about how to use the Server Manager command line, see the Server Manager Help.


Because of security restrictions imposed by User Account Control in Windows Server 2008, you must run ServerManagerCmd.exe in a Command Prompt window opened with elevated privileges. To do this, right-click the Command Prompt executable, or the Command Prompt object on the Start menu, and then click Run as administrator.

What works differently?

Before the implementation of the Server Manager command line, the only command-line tools available for installing Windows software packages on a computer were ocsetup and pkgmgr. The command line syntax for these tools is complex, and the names of roles, role services, and features available for installation or removal by using these two tools were not intuitive. ServerManagerCmd.exe simplifies command-line installation and removal of roles, role services, and features.

What settings are added or changed?

The following registry settings apply to Server Manager and Initial Configuration Tasks in all available variations of Windows Server 2008.

Registry settings

The registry settings in the following table control the default opening behavior of the Server Manager and Initial Configuration Tasks windows.

Setting name Location Default value Possible values

Do not open Server Manager at logon



0 to disable and open the window normally; 1 to enable and prevent the window from opening.

Do not open Initial Configuration Tasks at logon

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Server Manager\oobe


0 to disable and open the window normally; 1 to enable and prevent the window from opening.

How should I prepare to deploy Server Manager?

Server Manager is installed by default as part of Windows Server 2008. To use Server Manager, you must be logged on to the computer as a member of the Administrators group.


If you log on to the computer by using an Administrator account other than the default Administrator account, a dialog box might open to prompt you for your permission to run Server Manager. Click Allow to start Server Manager.

How do I open Server Manager?

Server Manager opens by default when the Initial Configuration Tasks window is closed.

After initial configuration tasks are complete, Server Manager opens by default when an administrator logs on to a computer running Windows Server 2008. If you close Server Manager and want to open it again, you can open Server Manager by using the Server Manager command in any of the following locations:

  • In the Start menu, under Administrative Tools.

  • In the Start menu (if you are logged on to the computer as a member of the Administrators group).

  • In the Start menu, right-click Computer, and then click Manage.

  • On the Quick Launch toolbar, adjacent to the Start button.

  • In Control Panel, click Programs, click Programs and Features, and then click Turn Windows features on or off.

Additional references

For more information about Server Manager, see the Windows Server TechCenter ( You can also learn how to perform specific operations in Server Manager in the Server Manager Help, available by pressing F1 in an open Server Manager console window.

The Server Manager Technical Overview ( provides more detailed information about Server Manager, and includes the XML schema to which Server Manager command-line answer files must conform. You can also download the Server Manager command-line XML schema from the Microsoft Download Center (

The Server Manager Scenarios Step-by-Step Guide ( provides an overview of Server Manager and walkthroughs of several common scenarios for using Server Manager in your enterprise.