“Hello” Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – “Goodbye” GUI Interface

Recently, the next version of the Windows Server Technical Preview was released (Technical Preview 2).

Here’s some reference information from Microsoft.

What’s New in Windows Server Technical Preview

Release Notes: Important Issues in Windows Server Technical Preview 2

 

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Interface

Now let’s walk through the installation. The first thing to notice is the Operating System selection. We see that there are 2 options “Windows Server Technical Preview 2” and “Windows Server Technical Preview 2 (with local admin tools)”. If you read the description of the “Windows Server Technical Preview 2” option, it sounds like this is the “Server Core” option from previous OS selections in the past. For my lab example, I’m going to use the “Windows Server Technical Preview 2 (with local admin tools)” option.

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – OS Option 1

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – OS Option 2

After the OS is installed we of course have to change the Administrator password. You will notice that the interface looks a little different.

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – GUI – Change Administrator Password

In the non-GUI installation, this screen looks like this.

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – CORE – Change Administrator Password

This of course is for the local Administrator account. But another interesting option is the option to create a Password Reset Disk. This requires a USB drive to be attached/available to the system.

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Login Interface

When the system loads, the Server Manager loads automatically. If you minimize the Server Manager interface, you will see the command prompt. However, what you will not see, is the “full GUI” interface. Where is the “start” menu? Not there! So, this actually looks more like the “middle” installation option from the Windows Server 2012 R2 days. Remember, where you could install the GUI, and remove most of the “GUI-ness”? Seems like Microsoft is really pushing the command line/PowerShell and/or remote administration.

UPDATE: If you go through the ‘Add Roles and Features’ menu, and in the Features area expand User Interfaces and Infrastructure and select ‘Server Graphical Shell’, this will install the “full GUI” that we are used to. However, when you choose the “Windows Server Technical Preview 2 (with local admin tools)” option for installation, this does not install the graphical shell automatically.

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – “GUI” Installation

In the non-GUI installation, the command prompt loads automatically. In the command line you can type “sconfig” to load the Server Configuration interface.

WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – CORE OS Server Configuration

 

NEW Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Roles and Features

The following is the list of server roles and features that I have observed as being new (in comparison to Windows Server 2012 R2).

New Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Server Roles

  • Host Guardian Service
  • MultiPoint Services
  • Network Controller
WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Server Roles

New Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Server Features

  • .NET Framework 4.6
  • Canary Network Diagnostics
  • Host Guardian Hyper-V Support
  • Isolated User Mode
  • MultiPoint Connector
  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Feature Administration Tools > Shielded VM Tools
  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Role Administration Tools > Network Controller Management Tools
  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Role Administration Tools > Windows Server Host Guardian Service Tools
  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Setup Boot and Event Collection
  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Storage Replica
  • Setup and Boot Event Collection
  • Storage Replica
  • VM Shielding Tools for Fabric Management
  • Windows PowerShell > Windows PowerShell 5.0
  • Windows Server AntiMalware Features > Windows Server AntiMalware
  • Windows Server AntiMalware Features > GUI for Windows Server AntiMalware
WSTP2-Select-OS-Option1 "Hello" Windows Server Technical Preview 2 - "Goodbye" GUI Interface

Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Features

New Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Roles and Features Descriptions

So, what exactly are these new roles and features?

Server Roles

  • Host Guardian Service: The Host Guardian Service (HGS) server role provides the Attestation and Key Protection services that enable Guardian Hosts to run Shielded virtual machines. The Attestation service validates Guarded Host identity & configuration. The Key Protection service enables distributed access to encrypted transport keys to enable Guarded Hosts to unlock and run Shielded virtual machines.
  • MultiPoint Services: MultiPoint Services allows multiple users, each with their own independent and familiar Windows experience, to simultaneously share one computer.
  • Network Controller: The Network Controller provides the point of automation needed for continual configuration, monitoring and diagnostics of virtual networks, physical networks, network services, network topology, address management, etc. within a datacenter stamp.

 Server Features

  • .NET Framework 4.6: .NET Framework 4.6 provides a comprehensive and consistent programming model for quickly and easily building and running applications built for various platforms including desktop PCs, Servers, smart phones, and the public and private cloud.
  • Canary Network Diagnostics: Canary network diagnostics enables validation of the physical network.
  • Host Guardian Hyper-V Support: Host Guardian provides the features necessary on a Hyper-V server to provision Shielded Virtual Machines.
  • Isolated User Mode: Isolated User Mode enables Virtualization Based Security on the system.
  • MultiPoint Connector: MultiPoint Connector enables your machine to be monitored and managed by the MultiPoint Manager and Dashboard apps.
  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Role Administration Tools >
  • Setup and Boot Event Collection: This feature enables the collection and logging of setup and boot events from other computers on this network.
  • Storage Replica: Allows you to replicate data using the Storage Replica feature.
  • VM Shielding Tools for Fabric Management: Provides Shielded VM utilities that are used by Fabric Management solutions and should be installed on the Fabric Management server.
  • Windows Server AntiMalware Features: Windows Server Antimalware helps protect your machine from malware.

Of note, compared to the Windows Server Technical Preview (1st release), the following key feature is no longer present:

  • Soft Restart: SoftRestart enables the system to be restarted without undergoing firmware reset delays.

Hopefully it will come back in the RTM release.

 

Removed Windows Server Technical Preview 2 – Roles and Features

Now by comparison, the following are server roles and features that I have observed as no longer being listed/available. I devised this list by listing what roles and features were available in each. The result is a list of roles and features that were available in Windows Server 2012 R2, but are no longer available in this version of the Windows Server Technical Preview.

Server Roles

  • Application Server

 

Features

Note: It is obvious that some of these features have been upgraded (i.e. the .NET Framework, PowerShell), or re-branded (i.e. ‘Volume Replication’ to ‘Storage Replica’).

  • Remote Server Administration Tools > Role Administration Tools > AD DS and AD LDS Tools > AD DS Tools > Server for NIS Tools [DEPRECATED]
  • Telnet Server
  • Windows Feedback Forwarder
  • Windows PowerShell > Windows PowerShell 4.0

 

So those are some of the interesting changes thus far with the new Windows Server Technical Preview 2.

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