Weekly quickTIP

Server Manager vs. Admin Tools, Terminal Services Edition

I'll stick with my old, familiar friends.

Windows Server 2008 is great, but I keep finding myself disliking its Server Manager tool more and more as I use it. The problem: Server Manager and all its potentially awesome aggregation of consoles and wizards works only with the local machine. If I was a one-server shop that would be fine, but like most in IT, I'm not.

My most recent problem arrived during some research into Server 2008's Terminal Services. You see, using Server Manager gives me all the tools I need for managing Terminal Services in one nice location. But I found myself wanting to administer all my Terminal Servers in that single place. Using Server Manager? No dice.

Then, on a lark I started tooling around with the individual consoles and wizards within Administrative Tools. If you navigate to Administrative Tools | Terminal Services, you'll find each of the common management consoles you're used to using with Terminal Services replicated here. But these aren't the same tools -- they're just a little different.

Unlike those within Server Manager, the Terminal Services tools within Administrative Tools allow me to connect to multiple Terminal Servers all within the same console. The long-lost Connect to Computer link is now available and an even more exciting action lets me Import from TS Session Broker, allowing me to manage all my TS boxes in that single location.

In the end, Server Manager is a great idea, but it needs a little bug fix. Its consolidation of virtually all the management functionality across my server is great, but I want that same management functionality across all my servers too. Until that time, I'll stick with my old friends the Administrative Tools.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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