Although Windows Server 2012 is a great leap forward in server operating systems with dozens of new and enhanced features, administrators will continue to need to perform some of the routine tasks that have always been performed. As you might expect, these tasks might be performed a little differently in Windows Server 2012 than they were in older versions of the operating system.

Change server name or join a domain

Most servers are members of a domain and administrators often rename servers in order to comply with local naming conventions in use in the organization. To do this, open the charms bar by mousing to one of the corners on the right side of your screen. From the charms bar, choose Settings | Server Info. This will open the familiar window that you see in Figure A below.

Figure A

System information (click to enlarge images)

Click the Change Settings link in this window to open the System Properties window and, in that window, click Change to edit computer name and domain information. This is shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Change the computer name and domain membership settings

Run a program with different user credentials

I’ve been working on creating a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager training course for TrainSignal and, during the course creation process, I needed to run the SCCM console under a variety of user credentials to test System Center’s new role-based access control features. I could have simply logged off and back on the test server each time I needed to change credentials. Instead, however, I chose to use Windows’ Run As capability to run a program under different user credentials.

To accomplish this task from the new Start screen, right-click the program you wish to run under different credentials. When the app bar appears at the bottom of the screen, choose either Run As Administrator or Run As a Different User (Figure C).

Figure C

Ways to run a program with different user credentials

When you choose to run a program as a different user, the following window appears, just as was the case in older versions of Windows Server.

Figure D

Provide credentials under which the program will operate

Open the Run box

Personally, I’ve always made liberal use of the Run option on the Start menu, as long as it’s been available. I find it to be a really easy way to quickly find what I need without having to navigate Windows Explorer or the Start menu (i.e., open a remote connection to a server = Start | Run | mstsc). Although it’s not immediately obvious, the Run box has not disappeared from Windows Server 2012. Here’s how you get it.

Open the Start screen. Once it’s open, just type the word Run. Typing something opens the Search results box. You will see that the Run applet shows up, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

The Run applet

Select the Run progam to open the familiar Run box, shown in Figure F.

Figure F

The Run box

I recommend that you right-click the Run application on the Start screen and choose Pin To Taskbar from the app bar. This will make the Run box much more accessible since it will always be available on your taskbar and you will be able to use it without having to open the Start screen.

Open a command prompt

I still use the command prompt a lot and like it to be quickly accessible. In older versions of Windows, I would simply go to Start | Run and type cmd and get my prompt. In Windows Server 2012, I can replicate this outcome using the Run box from the previous tip or I can simply choose the Command Prompt tool from the Start screen.

However, before you can just select it from the Start screen, you need to unbury it from its hiding place. To do so, go to the Start screen and right-click anywhere around the border. The app bar will appear with an All Apps icon, as per Figure G.

Figure G

The App Apps icon

Click the All Apps icon to open the Apps page shown in Figure H. On this page, right-click Command Prompt to bring up the tool’s app bar, which you can also see in Figure H below. From here, decide where you’d like to pin the Command Prompt shortcut-to the Start screen or to the Taskbar.

Figure H

Open a command prompt


These are just four of the common tasks that you may want to perform in Windows Server 2012 that have different steps than in versions past.