Longhorn Core – Step Forward, Step Back

Server Core : Renaming and Terminal Services in Server Core

Terminal Services is another common topic. A lot of people think that since there is no shell you can’t TS into Server Core. However, Server Core does include TS remote admin mode, when connected you just have the same experience as if you were logged on locally, a cmd.exe window. TS remote admin mode is not enabled by default and it is another one of those things that is only available in a non-remoteable gui. For this one, we included a script that can be used to turn it on and off, turning it on is done by running:

Cscript \windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /ar 0

Terminal Services by default in Longhorn Server uses a new higher security mode that only allows Vista and Longhorn Server clients to connect. If you want to TS to your Server Core box from a pre-Vista\Longhorn Server Terminal Services client, you need to turn off the higher security mode, which can be done by running:

Cscript \windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /cs 0

Once enabled you can then use the TS MMC snap-ins to remotely manage TS on the Server Core box, or use the TS command line tools. For example, since there is no Start menu to select logoff to end your TS session, you can use the logoff.exe command line tool.

After coming home from TechEd, one of the first things I wanted to play (er… work) with is Longhorn core. Windows without the GUI overhead and without the bloat of desktop apps like MediaPlayer and some might say full blown Internet Explorer mights complete sense to an environment burned often by patch Tuesday. In talking with the project manager for the Core server I urged them to make it extensible that more application like Websphere could install to it. Do I really need Messenger or MediaPlayer even installed on an application or database server? I don’t think so, and if I can administrate it remotely all the better. This is the step forward.

The step backward is the CLI commands currently necessary to configure the server. Needless to say, it is far from RTM-ready, and I don’t think a single Microsoft person would say otherwise. It might be able to serve files or be a DNS server without any problem, but even getting the correct device drivers installed to the system proved troublesome today.

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