Using Windows Server 2012 Essentials – Step by Step Is Ready to Roll!

Wait no more, dear readers! We Got Served’s all-new guide to Microsoft’s all-new server platform, Using Windows Server 2012 Essentials – Step by Step is here at last and ready to roll! A herculean writing effort from my good friend Jim Clark, coupled with an equally herculean effort editing and formatting by yours truly has culminated in almost 600 pages of “ideal first-server” goodness, with detailed walkthroughs for your first steps with Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

Using Windows Server 2012 Essentials – Step by Step is our comprehensive guide to Microsoft’s ideal “first server” platform. Written specifically for home and small business owners new to servers, or those migrating from Microsoft’s Windows Home Server, Using Windows Server 2012 Essentials provides easy to follow steps for installing, configuring and extending Windows Server 2012 Essentials – at home or at the office!

Fully illustrated with hundreds of colour screenshots, this 586 page eBook (available to download in both PDF and ePub formats) is designed to provide a friendly deep dive into the features and workings of Microsoft’s server platform – no IT degree required! Author and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Jim Clark walks you through first steps with your server – from the computer hardware you’ll need to host Windows Server 2012 Essentials, through installing the software, configuring user accounts and security settings, connecting client PCs, mobile devices and Apple Macs.

We take a look at backing up and restoring your vital data, sharing files and folders across multiple users and devices, accessing the server remotely via the web or VPN, streaming music, video and photos and a whole lot more. The eBook wraps up with a high level guide to additional software you could consider installing to extend the Windows Server 2012 platform as well as an introduction to advanced server management tools and features.

Whether you’re considering the use of a server at home or for your small business, thinking of moving from a Network Attached Storage device or back-up hard drive to a more powerful option, or simply whether you just want to find out more, Using Windows Server 2012 Essentials – Step by Step has been written to answer all of your questions – by non-IT geeks, for non-IT geeks!


Chapter List

  • Introduction
    • Who is This Book For?
    • Just Who Am I to be Talking About Windows Server 2012 Essentials?
  • Installation Requirements
    • Hardware Requirements
    • Additional Requirements
    • Networking Configuration
    • Supported Client Operating Systems
  • Install Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Use the Dashboard to Configure and Customize Windows Server 2012 Essentials
    • Get Updates for Other Microsoft Products
    • Adding User Accounts
    • Adding Server Folders
    • Set up Server Backup
    • Set up Anywhere Access
    • Set up Email Alerts
    • Set up Media Server
    • Connect Client Computers to the Server
  • Add Client PCs to the Server Network
    • Connecting a PC to the Server Domain
    • Migrating Local Account Files and Applications With Windows Easy Transfer
  • Connect Additional Client Computers to the Server Network
    • Add Windows “Home” PCs to the Network
    • Install Windows RT Tablets on an Essentials Network
    • Install Windows Phone Smartphones and Tablets on an Essentials Network
    • Adding an Apple Mac to an Essentials Network
  • The Launchpad
  • A Trip Around the Dashboard
    • The HOME Section
    • The USERS Section
    • The DEVICES Section
    • The STORAGE Section
    • The APPLICATIONS Section
    • The Dashboard Home Tab
    • The HELP Tab
    • The ADD-INS Tab
    • The EMAIL Tab
  • Managing Users and Accounts
  • Managing Computers and Group Policy in the Dashboard
    • Server Tasks
    • Client Tasks
    • Device Tasks
  • Managing Hard Drives, Storage and Storage Spaces
    • Server Folders
    • Adding Hard Drives to the Server
    • Storage Spaces
  • Extending Windows Server 2012 Essentials With Add-ins
    • Installing an add-in
  • Remote Access
    • Remote Web Access
    • VPN
  • Protecting and Restoring Your Data
    • Data Redundancy
    • File History
    • Shadow Copies
    • Folder Redirection
    • Client Backup and Restore
    • Server Backup and Restore
    • Cloud Backup
  • Supporting Applications
    • Malware Protection
    • Software Update Applications
    • Disk Defragmentation Programs
    • Other Software
  • An Introduction to Advanced Server Management
    • Windows PowerShell
    • Administrative Tools
    • Active Directory
    • Certificate Authority
    • DNS Manager
    • Group Policy Management
    • Health Registration Authority
    • Internet Information Services (IIS)
    • Network Policy Server
    • Server Manager
    • Windows Server Backup
  • What Happens Next?
  • Glossary
  • Index


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  1. Can I still get the discount if I pay via PayPal, as I can’t see where you put the discount code in? Thanks

  2. Do you talk about whether home users need to worry about purchasing CALs for use with Windows Server Essentials 2012? Microsoft seems to think they do: “A server license by itself does not provide the legal right for others to connect to that computer, whether they work for the company or not. Instead, each user needs a Client Access License (CAL).”

    1. We don’t – Windows Server 2012 Essentials allows up to 25 user accounts as standard – no CALs required. Only the Standard and Datacenter SKUs require CALs.

      Windows Server 2012 Essentials edition and Windows
      Server 2012 Foundation edition remain unchanged.

      – Server-based licensing model – Foundation is for
      single processor servers and Essentials is for either
      one or two processor servers.

      – CALs not required for access – Foundation comes
      with 15 user accounts and Essentials comes with 25
      user accounts.

      1. Great, thank you. I was misinformed by a Microsoft Server promotion on a retailer’s website that explicitly said I needed to buy CALs to use Essentials.

    2. You are confusing Essentials with Standard. Standard uses CALS, Essentials does not; it has a fixed limit of 25 users/50 devices built into the OS, not expandable.

  3. Terry, I have been relying heavily on your guide to installing Windows server 2012 essentials and have found it very valuable to have! I do have a question that nobody seems to be able to answer though. If I have a large (2T) hard drive with a 120g partition for the OS, can I add the left over partition to a storage pool, and if so, how? I am beating my head against the wall trying to figure this out! Thanks.

  4. Terry, bought the book two weeks ago and have been reading up. I’ve been a fan of We Got Served for years and still have two MS Home Servers running.

    I have an important question:

    We currently run an MS SBS 2003 R2 at our company office and I’m researching upgrading to MS Server 2012 Essentials and moving e-mail to Exchange Online. I know Essentials comes with IIS, but will I be able to host our public company website on the Essentials Server like we can on the SBS or do I need a separate Server? The book does not seem to cover that aspect for those of us ( I would suspect quite a few) who will be upgrading from SBS 2003 or 2008 to 2012 Essentials. Cheers!

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