Get Started with Windows Admin Center

Applies to: Windows Admin Center, Windows Admin Center Preview

This article describes how to get started with Windows Admin Center after you've downloaded it and installed it on a Windows PC. Download Windows Admin Center. To read about installing, see Install Windows Admin Center on a PC or server. To learn more about Windows Admin Center, see Windows Admin Center overview.

Open Windows Admin Center on a Windows PC

Windows Admin Center enables you to manage servers, clusters, Windows PCs, and Azure virtual machines (VMs) directly from your Windows 10 computer using a web browser.

Important

You must be a member of the local administrator's group to use Windows Admin Center on Windows 10.

Follow these steps to open Windows Admin Center on a Windows PC:

  1. From the Start menu, select Windows Admin Center. Or type Windows Admin Center in the search bar and then select it from the search results. Windows Admin Center opens in your default browser with the URL: https://localhost:6516/. Alternatively, you can also start it from your desired browser by entering https://localhost:6516/.

    A prompt for selecting a certificate for authentication is displayed.

  2. Select the certificate labeled Windows Admin Center Client, then select OK. You can also select the Certificate information link to see more details about the certificate.

    Screenshot of the prompt showing options to select a certificate.

    Important

    Make sure to select the Windows Admin Center Client certificate when prompted, and not any other certificate. If you select any other certificate, the following error message appears:

    You are not authorized to view this page. If you recently updated Windows Admin Center, you may need to restart your browser, and then refresh the page.

    If you continue to get the same error even after restarting your browser and refreshing the page, try clearing the browser cache or switching to another browser. If none of these troubleshooting steps resolve the issue, you may need to uninstall and reinstall Windows Admin Center, and then restart it.

  3. (First time only) A pop-up window appears confirming that your Windows Admin Center version is successfully installed. It also provides information on what's new in this release. Close the window to proceed.

    Screenshot of the message showing that Windows Admin Center is successfully installed.

    The All connections page is displayed with your Windows 10 computer name listed under the list of connections. You're now ready to add connections to Windows Admin Center.

Add connections to Windows Admin Center

You can add connections as managed nodes to Windows Admin Center from the All connections page. This is the default page that appears when you launch Windows Admin Center. From this page, you can either add existing resources as connections or create new resources. The resources that you add appear under the list of connections on the All connections page.

The type of resources that you can add from the All connections page are servers, Windows PCs, clusters, and Azure VMs and the resources that you can create are clusters and Azure VMs.

Note

To add or create an Azure VM, you must first register Windows Admin Center with Azure.

To add connections to Windows Admin Center:

  1. Click + Add under All connections.

    Screenshot of All Connections page.

  2. The type of resource that you can add are displayed. Select Add for the resource type that you want to add.

    Screenshot of Add resources page displaying resource types to add.

  3. Windows Admin Center supports various methods to add resources depending on the resource type:

    • Add one resource at a time
    • Add multiple resources by bulk importing
    • Add resources by searching the Active Directory

    Select the tab based on how you want to add resources. The label for each tab can differ based on the resource type you're adding.

    This is the default method. The label for this tab appears as Add cluster when adding a cluster.

    1. Select the Add one or Add cluster tab. This tab is selected by default.

    2. Enter the name of the resource in the resource name box.

      Screenshot of Add resources page when the Add one tab is selected.

      As you begin entering text, Windows Admin Center starts searching for a resource based on your input text string. If a match is found, you can add the name exactly as you entered or use the default resource name. If no match is found, you can still add this resource to appear in your list of connections.


  1. (Optional) Select Add tags to add connection tags. You can use tags to identify and filter related resources in your connection list. For more information about using tags, see Use tags to organize your connections.

  2. When you're done adding resources, select Add.

    The selected resources are displayed under the connections list on the All connections page.

Authenticate with the managed nodes

After you've added connections as managed nodes, you must authenticate with them to connect. Windows Admin Center supports several mechanisms for authenticating with a managed node. Single sign-on is the default.

Authenticate by single sign-on

You can use your current Windows credentials to authenticate with the managed node. This is the default, and Windows Admin Center attempts the single sign-on when you add a resource.

Authenticate by single sign-on when deployed as a service on Windows Server

If you've installed Windows Admin Center on Windows Server, additional configuration is required for single sign-on. For more information, see Configure your environment for delegation.

Authenticate by specifying credentials

Under All connections, select a resource from the list and choose Manage as to specify the credentials that you'll use to authenticate to the managed node:

Screenshot of the All connections page with the Manage As option.

If Windows Admin Center is running in service mode on Windows Server, but you don't have Kerberos delegation configured, you must re-enter your Windows credentials:

Screenshot of the Specify your credentials page.

You may apply the credentials to all connections, which will cache them for that specific browser session. If you reload your browser, you must re-enter your Manage as credentials.

Authenticate by Local Administrator Password Solution

If your environment uses Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS), and you have Windows Admin Center installed on your Windows 10 PC, you can use LAPS credentials to authenticate with the managed node. If you use this scenario, provide feedback here.

Use tags to organize your connections

You can use tags to identify and filter related resources in your connection list. This allows you to see a subset of your resources in the connection list. This is especially useful if you have many connections.

Edit tags

You can add tags to a connection while you're adding a new connection. Or you can add or edit them later for one or more connections from the All connections page.

To add or edit a tag:

  1. Select one or more connections from the list of connections.

  2. Select Edit Tags.

    Screenshot of the Edit tags option.

    The Available tags pane opens on the right.

  3. Add, edit, or remove tags from the selected connections.

    • To add a new tag to your selected connections, select Add tag and enter a desired tag name.

    • To tag the selected connections with an existing tag name, select the checkbox next to the tag name you wish to apply.

    • To remove a tag from all selected connections, clear the checkbox next to the tag you wish to remove.

    • If a tag is applied to a subset of the selected connections, the checkbox is shown in an intermediate state. You can select the checkbox to select it and apply the tag to all selected connections, or select again to clear it and remove the tag from all selected connections.

      Screenshot of the available tags.

  4. When finished, select Save to save your changes.

Filter connections by tag

After tags are added to one or more connections, you can view the tags on the connection list, and filter the connection list by tags.

  • To filter by a tag, select the filter icon next to the search box.

    Screenshot of the filter using the search box.

  • You can select "Or", "And", or "Not" to modify the filter behavior of the selected tags.

    Screenshot of the Filter Connections page.

Use PowerShell to import or export your connections with tags

# Load the module
Import-Module "$env:ProgramFiles\windows admin center\PowerShell\Modules\ConnectionTools"
# Available cmdlets: Export-Connection, Import-Connection

# Export connections (including tags) to a .csv file
Export-Connection "https://wac.contoso.com" -fileName "WAC-connections.csv"
# Import connections (including tags) from a .csv file
Import-Connection "https://wac.contoso.com" -fileName "WAC-connections.csv"
# Import connections (including tags) from .csv files, and remove any connections that are not explicitly in the imported file using the -prune switch parameter 
Import-Connection "https://wac.contoso.com" -fileName "WAC-connections.csv" -prune

CSV file format for importing connections

The format of the CSV file starts with the four headings "name","type","tags","groupId", followed by each connection on a new line.

name is the FQDN of the connection

type is the connection type. For the default connections included with Windows Admin Center, you will use one of the following:

Connection type Connection string
Windows Server msft.sme.connection-type.server
Windows 10 PC msft.sme.connection-type.windows-client
Failover Cluster msft.sme.connection-type.cluster
Hyper-Converged Cluster msft.sme.connection-type.hyper-converged-cluster

tags are pipe-separated.

groupId is used for shared connections. Use the value global in this column to make this a shared connection.

Note

Modifying the shared connections is limited to gateway administrators - any user can use PowerShell to modify their personal connection list.

Example CSV file for importing connections

"name","type","tags","groupId"
"myServer.contoso.com","msft.sme.connection-type.server","hyperv"
"myDesktop.contoso.com","msft.sme.connection-type.windows-client","hyperv"
"teamcluster.contoso.com","msft.sme.connection-type.cluster","legacyCluster|WS2016","global"
"myHCIcluster.contoso.com,"msft.sme.connection-type.hyper-converged-cluster","myHCIcluster|hyperv|JIT|WS2019"
"teamclusterNode.contoso.com","msft.sme.connection-type.server","legacyCluster|WS2016","global"
"myHCIclusterNode.contoso.com","msft.sme.connection-type.server","myHCIcluster|hyperv|JIT|WS2019"

Import RDCman connections

Use the script below to export saved connections in RDCman to a file. You can then import the file into Windows Admin Center, maintaining your RDCMan grouping hierarchy using tags. Try it out!

  1. Copy and paste the code below into your PowerShell session:

    #Helper function for RdgToWacCsv
    function AddServers {
     param (
     [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]
     [Xml.XmlLinkedNode]
     $node,
     [Parameter()]
     [String[]]
     $tags,
     [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]
     [String]
     $csvPath
     )
     if ($node.LocalName -eq 'server') {
         $serverName = $node.properties.name
         $tagString = $tags -join "|"
         Add-Content -Path $csvPath -Value ('"'+ $serverName + '","msft.sme.connection-type.server","'+ $tagString +'"')
     } 
     elseif ($node.LocalName -eq 'group' -or $node.LocalName -eq 'file') {
         $groupName = $node.properties.name
         $tags+=$groupName
         $currNode = $node.properties.NextSibling
         while ($currNode) {
             AddServers -node $currNode -tags $tags -csvPath $csvPath
             $currNode = $currNode.NextSibling
         }
     } 
     else {
         # Node type isn't relevant to tagging or adding connections in WAC
     }
     return
    }
    
    <#
    .SYNOPSIS
    Convert an .rdg file from Remote Desktop Connection Manager into a .csv that can be imported into Windows Admin Center, maintaining groups via server tags. This will not modify the existing .rdg file and will create a new .csv file
    
     .DESCRIPTION
     This converts an .rdg file into a .csv that can be imported into Windows Admin Center.
    
     .PARAMETER RDGfilepath
     The path of the .rdg file to be converted. This file will not be modified, only read.
    
     .PARAMETER CSVdirectory
     Optional. The directory you wish to export the new .csv file. If not provided, the new file is created in the same directory as the .rdg file.
    
     .EXAMPLE
     C:\PS> RdgToWacCsv -RDGfilepath "rdcmangroup.rdg"
     #>
    function RdgToWacCsv {
     param(
         [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)]
         [String]
         $RDGfilepath,
         [Parameter(Mandatory = $false)]
         [String]
         $CSVdirectory
     )
     [xml]$RDGfile = Get-Content -Path $RDGfilepath
     $node = $RDGfile.RDCMan.file
     if (!$CSVdirectory){
         $csvPath = [System.IO.Path]::GetDirectoryName($RDGfilepath) + [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($RDGfilepath) + "_WAC.csv"
     } else {
         $csvPath = $CSVdirectory + [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($RDGfilepath) + "_WAC.csv"
     }
     New-item -Path $csvPath
     Add-Content -Path $csvPath -Value '"name","type","tags"'
     AddServers -node $node -csvPath $csvPath
     Write-Host "Converted $RDGfilepath `nOutput: $csvPath"
    }
    
  2. To create a .CSV file, run the following command:

    RdgToWacCsv -RDGfilepath "path\to\myRDCManfile.rdg"
    
  3. Import the resulting .CSV file in to Windows Admin Center, and all your RDCMan grouping hierarchy will be represented by tags in the connection list. For details, see Use PowerShell to import or export your connections (with tags).

View PowerShell scripts used in Windows Admin Center

Once you've connected to a server, cluster, or PC, you can look at the PowerShell scripts that power the UI actions available in Windows Admin Center. From within a tool, click the PowerShell icon in the top application bar. Select a command of interest from the dropdown to navigate to the corresponding PowerShell script.

Screenshot of the View PowerShell scripts for Overview page.