Installing RSAT: Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista

Remote Server Administration Tools was released by Microsoft for Windows Vista SP1 users to be able to manage both Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 Servers.

If you had upgraded to Vista in the past and wanted to manage Windows servers with your Vista client, you were able to with some hacks. But all in all it was a very painful process and a lot of administrators had to run a Windows XP machine virtually or have a second box to do server administrative tasks.

Now that the RSAT is released for general consumption what can it do?

Active Directory Certificate Services Tools – includes the Certification Authority snap-in, the Certificate Templates snap-in, the Enterprise PKI snap-in, and the Online Responder Management snap-in.

  • Active Directory Certification Authority Tools includes the Certification Authority, Certificate Templates, and Enterprise PKI snap-ins.
  • Online Responder Tools includes the Online Responder Management snap-in.

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Tools – includes snap-ins and command-line tools for remotely managing Active Directory Domain Services.

  • Active Directory Domain Controller Tools includes Active Directory Users and Computers, Active Directory Domains and Trusts, Active Directory Sites and Services, and other snap-ins and command-line tools for remotely managing AD DS.
  • Server for Network Information Service (NIS) Tools includes an extension to the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, and the ypclear.exe command-line tool.

Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Tools – includes Active Directory Sites and Services, Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) Edit, Schema Manager, and other snap-ins and command-line tools for managing AD LDS.

DHCP Server Tools – includes the DHCP snap-in.

DNS Server Tools – includes the DNS Manager snap-in and dnscmd.exe command-line tool.

File Services Tools – includes the following, along with the storagemgmt.msc snap-in:

  • Distributed File System Tools includes the DFS Management snap-in, and the dfsradmin.exe, dfscmd.exe, dfsdiag.exe, and dfsutil.exe command-line tools.
  • File Server Resource Manager Tools includes the File Server Resource Manager snap-in, and the filescrn.exe and storrept.exe command-line tools.
  • Share and Storage Management Tools includes the Share and Storage Management snap-in.

Terminal Services Tools – includes the Remote Desktops and Terminal Services Manager snap-ins.

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services Tools - includes the UDDI Services snap-in.

BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools – includes the manage-bde.wsf script.

Failover Clustering Tools – includes the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in and the cluster.exe command-line tool.

Group Policy Management Tools – includes Group Policy Management Console, Group Policy Management Editor, and Group Policy Starter GPO Editor.

Network Load Balancing Tools – includes the Network Load Balancing Manager snap-in, the nlb.exe and wlbs.exe command-line tools, and wlbsctrl.dll.

SMTP Server Tools – includes the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) snap-in.

Storage Manager for SANs Tools – Tools includes the Storage Manager for SANs snap-in, and the provisionstorage.exe command-line tool.

Windows System Resource Manager Tools – includes the Windows System Resource Manager snap-in and the wsrmc.exe command-line tool.

How to Install Remote Server Administration Tools for Vista

There are two versions of the RSAT tool, one for 32-bit machines and one for 64-bit machines. You can download the version you need at their respective download locations:

Once you download the file go ahead and give it a left click … c’mon … you know you want to! After clicking the file you will see it preparing the installation and doing a search to make sure your copy of Vista is prepared for the remote server admin tools.

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After a bit you will get a prompt to install Update for Windows (KB941314)

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After clicking Ok, you will now get prompted to read the license terms, in this case it is a simple paragraph that I actually read, that said if you are using an illegal copy you can’t use this software.

Since I am lucky enough to be using a legal copy I let off a sigh of relief and plunged ahead by clicking I Accept

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Now it will begin Initializing installation and applying updates

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After it is done installing you will see the Installation Complete screen:

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Now when you go to Start->Administrative Tools you will see the following help file: Remote Server Administration Tool

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When you click on it you will be able to read all about using Remote Server Administration Tool goodness. But instead of wasting your time reading that, I went through some of it above and will show some examples below here so you don’t have to!

The one thing you don’t see is any of the additional tools for administrating your Windows Servers, but that’s because you still have to enable them.

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Now let’s go in and enable Remote Server Administration Tools in the control panel so you can use them: Start->Control Panel

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Next you will see the control panel, go ahead and click on Programs

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Click on Program & Features

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On the left pane click on Turn Windows features on or off

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Note: If you are prompted by UAC go ahead and click Ok

In the Windows Features window you can scroll down until you see Remote Server Administration Tool.

At this point you can install all the features, by checking the box, or you can expand out both the Feature Administration Tools & Role Administration Tools and only install the tools you wish to use. For our example I am going install them all!

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Once you hit OK, you will see a window that shows it is configuring Vista with the features selected.

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Now that it is enabled lets go back in to the Administrative Tools to see if anything is different?

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Seems like everything was loaded correctly! Let’s take this baby for a test drive …

RSAT Terminal Services Manager in Vista

This section of the article will walk you through starting Terminal Services Manager and connecting to a remote Windows 2008 Server.

Go to your Administrative tools and go Terminal Services->Terminal Services Manager

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You will see the following MMC open.

Note: You may be prompted by UAC, go ahead and click Ok

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When you run Terminal Services Manager the first time (and every time if you don’t disable it) you get prompted by a warning that certain features are disabled when run from the console session.

If you wish to disable this, go ahead and check In the future, do not show this message and click Ok

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As you can see this MMC is in the new Server 2008 layout. Let’s go ahead and click Connect to Computer in the right Actions pane

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In the next window you can either connect to the local computer, or another computer. In this case I am going to enter an IP address to the test Windows Server 2008 I am running and click Ok

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It connects successfully as you can see and I can tell that I already have a session on the test server through RDP.

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There is a lot more to see in the MMC but I just wanted to demonstrate the functionality of administrating from Vista, and will have to cover actual usage in a future article.

As you can see RSAT brings a much overdue set of tools for System Administrators that will cut down on having to keep separate machines running just to do simple administrator tasks.

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