Disable Server Manager and Initial Configuration Tasks via Group Policy

Windows Servers by default run the Initial Configuration Task tool and the Server Manager at login. Rick Vanover describes how to disable this auto launch via Group Policy in Windows Server 2008 R2.

When I see the Server Manager tool and the Initial Configuration Tasks panel in Windows Server 2008 R2, I don't always remember to click the box that says Do Not Show Me This Console At Logon; therefore, I keep closing it or needlessly seeing the tools during my logon process. Further, if a new administrator logs in to the server, these two tools are presented on the first logon. You can get around the needless display of these two consoles at logon with a Group Policy setting.

The benefits to suppressing the launch of these two tools are: It will prevent an accidental configuration, such as removing a role or inadvertently changing Windows firewall status, and it will make the logon process a little quicker. It doesn't hurt to suppress these tools; chances are, if a change needs to be made to a server, you will be able to figure out how to launch Server Manager (ServerManager.msc) to perform admin tasks on the server.

The setting for disabling this auto-launch is configured in Group Policy in Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | System | Server Manager. The two values to hide are Server Manager and Initial Configuration (Figure A). Figure A

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If you set both of those values to Enabled, it will make servers in the domain not display the tools on logon. You can still open the Server Manager; but the option to hide the console is pre-populated and cannot be changed (Figure B). Figure B

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The Initial Configuration Tasks tool is a little different, as there isn't an easy way to run it directly (like Server Manager's snap-in). This tool will still run if the server is running before it joins the domain, so the basic tasks such as changing the computer name, setting an IP address, and configuring a Windows firewall can still be performed from the Initial Configuration Tasks tool.

Do you see a benefit in disabling this tool for subsequent runtime for a server? Share your comments.