Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate

Earlier today Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2012 Essentials has reached Release Candidate status.  To get your hands on this latest version, head over to the Microsoft Download Center.

Some of the changes from the prior version are as follows:

  • Increased support for importing your own SSL certificates. Previously, customers had to do a lot of work to configure domains obtained in our domain wizard by using SSL certificates that were acquired outside of our domain wizard. We have now updated our wizard, which should make this process much simpler.
  • Installation of only critical setup updates during setup. One of the things that all Microsoft teams care about is getting customers up and running as quickly as possible. With the RC release we have changed our logic to only install critical setup-related updates during setup time. This might not seem to be a big issue if you only occasionally install Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but to partners that install Windows Server 2012 Essentials often, this change will make setup faster and more predictable. Note that customers will continue to select the update strategy that they want to use after the server has been set up.
  • Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) changes. We have updated the BPA rules to include the latest set of rules and have also made it possible to ignore specific BPA rules by using our UI.
  • Office 365 changes. We have now made it easier to import existing Office 365 users into Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
  • Verified DHCP supported. Windows Server 2012 Essentials supports turning on the DHCP role and setting a static IP address for the server.

The obvious missing component that has been requested by various groups interested in Essentials is the continued missing Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) component.  I do find it quite amazing, however, the speed at which Essentials has been brought to this point.

As a side note to the MS announcement title as “Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials”, one has to wonder if this is

  • Poor English?
  • An announcement of Windows Server 2012?
  • The NEW new English version?
  • The “Essential” Release candidate vs. an un-essential version?
  • or ??

At least I have an excuse for my bad eNGLISH: I is an en-gi-neer!

[box type=”info”]More: Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials [/box]


  1. “I do find it quite amazing, however, the speed at which Essentials has been brought to this point.”

    My thoughts exactly. With the beta only appearing last month, I figured this would be a 2013 product. But at this pace they may be going gold before the year is out.

    I guess since 95% of its functionality is built upon Window Server 2012 (and the rest they get to pull from Vail), there’s not all that much additional testing/work to be done to finish Essentials.

  2. Do you have any more information on pricing for people upgrading from WHS2011 to WS2012E? I hope there is a similar path as with Windows 8 to offer a favorable price for a limited time.

  3. I installed this last night, the install was much faster on my N40l than whs 2011, it also seemed to reboot 6-7 plus times, don’t recall that many reboots with WHS 2011, the dash board opens so much faster, but my question if any one is trolling these comments, I was on my vista machine, and I was trying to locate the server under my network, I was able to see the dlna server but not the server itself, is that because of the domain setup vs homegroup? I’ll tinker more when I have some time, but was only able to poke around a little last nigh, I’ll move this over to the forums if not response, I can’t get use to the visual, going to be one heck of a transition to windows 8.

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