Installing Windows Server 2016 Essentials (Part 3)

Add server folders

Microsoft has made your setup tasks as simple to perform as possible.  Adding server folders is also easy to perform, but this is one area where you really need to sit down and determine the folder structure your company required so you can make it as simple as possible for your employees to find the files they need.

During the initial server installation, Essentials creates the following basic folder structure for you: \\[servername]\Shared Folders


By default, a shared Company folder is created alongside a Users folder for your users’ private folders. That’s all you get at the outset, but these folders will be joined by others once you configure client computer backups and any redirected folders.

The Company folder is used to store and access general documents needed by the users of your organization.  Users should be given various levels of access to these folders based upon how you set up your specific company folder structure.

The Users folder is used to store and access files by network users.  A user specific folder is automatically generated in this Users server folder for every network user account that you create.

Your Folder Structure

As indicated above, the “Company” folder is basically a general purpose folder that can be used by any user to store and access documents needed across your organization. If you so desire, you could create sub-folders to categorize your files.  A couple of examples might be:

  • company holiday schedules
  • work schedules
  • human resources documents

This folder should be a living documents folder that changes as needed.  Most users should be given read access to this folder, and some users should be given read/write rights.  In addition, you can configure access privileges for your sub-folders, restricting access to sensitive data as required.

There are some company folders that you might want to add as separately managed folders.  Examples of these folders might be:

  • Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Sales

You could add these folders under the main “Company” folder. However, access rights are easy to administer using the Dashboard even if you place the folders elsewhere.

As part of your server setup, you are given the ability to create new server folders based upon the specific needs of your organization.  To add a new server folder, select the Add server folders option in the Dashboard and then click on the appropriate action in the lower right section.

If you have determined that you do not need to change the server folder structure at this time, you can click the Skip this task option.  If needed, you can always add more folders later via the Storage tab.

The Add server folders task.

 Assuming that you are adding a server folder, the wizard opens a window into which you add a Name, Location, and Description.

The Add a Folder wizard.

We are adding an Accounting folder, so will name it as such.  The server automatically creates the location, which you can change if so desired via the Browse button.  Finally, you can optionally add a description.  While the purpose for some folders may be self-explanatory, others may not be.


Click Next and you can easily change the folder’s access rights, from the default Read Only setting to No access or Read/Write. This panel has been improved in the new release of Windows Server Essentials with a search bar – very handy if you have many user accounts on the server.

For security purposes, you can choose to hide server folders from Remote Web Access sessions and Web Service applications. Just check the relevant box before clicking Add folder.

The folder is created and you’re given the opportunity to perform additional tasks such as to open the folder in File Explorer and/or set backup requirements for this folder.  As we are in the process of creating various folders at this time, you can perform this task a little later.

To finish up, click the Close button.


The result in File Explorer:


Create any additional folders as needed.  Once completed, we can move on to the next setup task.



  1. Thanks for this Terry. I am trying to decide if there is value add going from 2012 R2, so far it looks like no. One thing that I didn’t like about 2012 is you are limited to a 2GB max size for the backup drive. Do we know if that barrier is finally lifted with 2016?

    1. Hi Brad,

      I am using 2 x 4 TB disks in an eSata enclosure, one for data and client backups and the other for server backup. Both are working fine, although neither have exceeded 2TB yet. However, I believe I wouldnt be able to use a 4TB at all for server backup if the limitation was still in place, so I think you are OK.


  2. In regards to accessing the server from the MS provided web address, to play music and videos, does this version of software still force you to use Silverlight? Like windows home server did?

  3. Have you attempted to do an “upgrade” of your domain?

    I don’t want to create a new domain, but I want to replace my old server with a server running a new server.

    I followed the instructions for Windows server 2012 ( and it worked mostly. The users in my domain don’t show up in the dashboard on the new server.

    I attempted to use windows powershell commands to import users, but the commands that existed in 2012 seem to be removed from 2016. (

    Import-Module WssCmdlets
    Import-WssUser –SamAccountName

    I know 2016 is new, but my old server is in need of upgrade. Thanks.. Wim.

  4. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for a great how-to guide on installing WSE 2016!

    I was a somewhat happy WHS 2011 user for years, but figured I had better migrate to a supported platform, so I recently went ahead and installed WSE 2012 R2 on new hardware. The install was a bit bumpy, but I got it down. However, getting our 5 PC’s (Win 7’s and 10’s) setup for backup was a nightmare (especially the WIN 10 issues, but a lot of others as well such as computers not showing online etc.) After days and nights of googling and installing/uninstalling various versions of the connector, I decided I would try 2016 essentials instead since I was installing from scratch on new hardware anyway.

    In researching this, I found your 3 part installation guide which I used as my bible and which was really helpful – thanks!

    During the server install, I only ran into ONE (1) issue (amazing!), which was: During the server config phase the progress bar stalled at 17%. Back to googling and I found this workaround: simply start the “Windows Server Essentials Management Service” and the process will start moving again – workaround found here: – piece of cake.

    I then setup and tested the server backup – this process went equally smoothly – I was stoked!. (The only issue I am facing in this regard is performance – the backup is extremely slow, but I’m not too worried and will work on this later).

    Finally, after this promising effort, I proceeded with the most important part of the project, and the real reason I need a windows server: Setting up the client backups. However this is where I hit a wall 🙁

    The good news first: unlike WSE 2012, the connector installs now go smoothly for both Win 7 and Win 10 clients – another promising sign. HOWEVER, after the connectors are installed, there is no right click option to start a manual backup even though backup is turned ON in the client backup config. Also, no backup started automatically during the specified timeframes. Finally, although the clients are showing online, the various status columns are showing “Not Available”. Both the clients and the server are up to date with all windows updates.

    I did some googling, but there is not much out there for WSE 2016 as it is so new. So after all of this, I have 2 questions:

    – Would you have some ideas as to how to troubleshoot the backups?
    – Do you know of any forums that actively deal with WSE2016 troubleshooting?

    Thanks again for your help,


    1. Wanted to know if the hack for…

      How to make Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials client connector install behave just like Windows Home Server

      Still works with Windows Server 2016 Essentials?

  5. Hi Terry, thanks for you guides they are awesome. Installed Essentials today but when trying to change Microsoft Update settings I get an error “Cannot run the task” it says.

    When going to Windows Update and trying there I get another error (0x80070422) and I can’t get any updates that way too. Any suggestions what to do to get it to work?

    1. I realise I’m not terry, and this is somewhat late, but if anyone else has the problem (like I just did there is an easy fix. Go to Control Panel> Administrative Tools (click view small icons to see the option easily). Then double click ‘Services’, scroll down to find Windows Update and double click. You can change it to Automatic Startup and also Start the update service from here, and then the Update option will work from the Dashboard.

  6. Hi Terry,

    I used the WS2012R2 Eseentials bought your books and was a happy user – I was also lucky to set up the VPN for IOS devices. Recently I upgrades to WS2016 Essentials – and biggest concern the VPN for IOS – I´m still fighting to set it up. The RRAS – Routing and Remote Access console – says Legacy mode is disabled on this Server – even if I click on server properties – it says no properties are available – in 2012R2 it was the place where you could enter here the “IP Sec Shared Secret” password in the L2TP setup. Is there any default shared secret – or did you manage not just to set up but also connect from a W10 or even better via IOS to VPN of WS2016?

    1. i’ve the same problem. I try to uninstall remote access from WSE and install it from server manager… the result was i can configure VVPN parameters but (i don’t know why) i can’t use… I install (it was very hard) everything and the result is the same… Legay Mode and no way to configure vpn parameters. had you solve the problem?

  7. Thank you Terry. Just purchased Windows Server 2016 Essentials and doing a new installation. I had the issue you described where installation stopped at 17%. Your suggestion worked perfectly for me!
    Apparently this is still an issue.

  8. Has anyone been able to successfully change ports for Anywhere Access or use port forwarding? My ISP (UVerse) already uses port 443 so I can’t get a working solution.

    1. Use Port Forwarding in your router.
      I *never* use default port numbers for remote anything.
      For example, set the “incoming” port to listen at 4443, and forward that to 443 on the internal LAN.

  9. Hi There,

    I’m new on this, here is the thing:
    – My company solds a file system solution, with a backup solution.
    – I got two ML30 gen9 servers, both with WSEss2016. The architecture is this: One server should be ton the primary site and has to got the role of File Server. The second server should be in a recovery site, and should work as a back server. There will be a VPN between the two sites. And a Veeam Software would be used as backup application. This app needs a file system as a storage target so I would have to able to configure the second server as a file system, that can be seen thru the VPN.

    I need to configure 5 shared folders in the main site. And the backup server should be access thru the VPN.

    My main concern is about the Domain Controller. I only have Windows Server Essentials licenses, and as long as I’ve been reading, Essentials Server can only be deploy as the Main Domain Controller, it can’t be installed in a previously-installed Active Directory environment.

    I’m trying to make a lab, but the Virtual Box VM doesn’t start. It stopped at 17%…

    Can anybody help with the architecture?


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