Data Centers

How to add roles to a Windows Server 2012 computer

Scott Lowe illustrates the steps to adding roles to servers in Windows Server 2012.

Windows 2012 has brought with it some small changes and some big changes. With it, Microsoft has also tweaked what have become some common processes. Even the basic items, such as adding new roles to the server, have undergone some changes. In this article, I'll get back to basics and provide you with a look at the way that you add new roles to servers in Windows Server 2012.

As shown in Figure A, the process kicks off from the newly revamped Windows Server 2012 Server Manager. To add a new role, from this window, go to Manage and choose Add Roles and Features.

Figure A

Begin the process of adding a new role to Windows (click to enlarge images)

The first screen you see provides you with some background advice that you should read before you continue. If you don't want to see this screen each time you add a role, select the check box next to Skip This Page By Default. Click the Next button to continue.

Figure B

The Before You Begin page provides you with preliminary information
Windows Server 2012 breaks roles down a bit more than was done in previous versions of Windows Server. In Figure C, you can see that there are two options. First, you can add a simple server role, such as the IIS role. Or, you can choose to deploy Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services roles by choosing the Remote Desktop Services Installation option. Click the Next button to continue once you've made your selection.

Figure C

Choose your installation type

Another change that has come to the Add Roles and Features Wizard is the ability to deploy roles and features to both the local server as well as to other Windows 2012 servers. This is particularly useful when you have a lot of Server Core deployments and want to use a GUI to deploy roles.

On the screen shown in Figure D, you can choose a server from the pool of servers - I don't have additional servers in my pool right now -or you can choose to add the role to a 2012 installation on a virtual hard disk. Once you choose the server, click the Next button to continue.

Figure D

Choose the server you wish to manage

Next up, you will see a screen that will look somewhat familiar, depending on your experience with previous versions of Windows. From this screen, choose the role or roles that you want to add to the server.

Figure E

Choose the roles to add to the server
If the selected role requires additional tools or services, a window will pop up that shows you the additional services that are required to support the role. Click the Add Features button to allow these features to be added (Figure F).

Figure F

Additional features are needed to support the selected role
Next, you're asked to choose Windows features that you may wish to add. In Figure G, you can see that some features are already installed; they're grayed out. If you want to add features, select them and then click the Next button to continue.

Figure G

Choose the features you wish to add

Some roles have additional configuration options or services that can be included with the installation. At this step of the process, you can choose which options and services need to be included to meet your needs.

Figure H

Choose the additional services you need to support this role

Finally, you will be presented with a summary page that confirms the selections you've made. You will also be asked whether or not the target server can be restarted once the roles and features have been added.

Figure I

Do you want to allow a restart?

And that's it! You will be presented with a status screen that shows you how far along the installation has progressed, but when that's done, the roles and features will be installed on your server.

About Scott Lowe

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

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