Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) enables IT administrators to remotely manage roles and features in Windows Server 2008 from a computer that is running Windows Vista with SP1. It includes support for remote management of computers that are running either a Server Core installation option or a full installation option of Windows Server 2008. It provides similar functionality to the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack (read more about Adminpak in my “Download Windows 2000 Adminpak“, “Download Windows 2003 SP1 Adminpak“, and “Download Windows 2003 R2 Adminpak” articles).
What does RSAT contain?
RSAT tools contain both Role management tools, and Feature management tools. Here is a descriptive list.
The Roles tools contain:
Active Directory Certificate Services Tools – Includes the Certification Authority, Certificate Templates, Enterprise PKI, and Online Responder Management snap-ins. Active Directory Certification Authority Tools includes the Certification Authority, Certificate Templates, and the Enterprise PKI snap-ins. Online Responder Tools includes the Online Responder Management snap-in.
Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Tools – Includes Active Directory Users and Computers, Active Directory Domains and Trusts, Active Directory Sites and Services, and other snap-ins and command-line tools for remotely managing Active Directory Domain Services. Server for Network Information Service (NIS) Tools includes an extension to the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in and the Ypclear.exe command-line tool.
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Tools – Includes Active Directory Sites and Services, Active Directory Services Interfaces (ADSI) Edit, Schema Manager, and other snap-ins and command-line tools for managing Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services.
DHCP Server Tools – Includes the DHCP snap-in.
DNS Server Tools – Includes the DNS Manager snap-in and the Dnscmd.exe command-line tool.
File Services Tools – Includes the Storagemgmt.msc snap-in and Distributed File System Tools and File Server Resource Manager Tools.
Network Policy and Access Services Tools – Includes the Routing and Remote Access snap-in.
Terminal Services Tools – Includes the Remote Desktops and Terminal Services Manager snap-ins.
Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services Tools – Includes the UDDI Services snap-in.
The Feature tools contain:
BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools – Includes the Manage-bde.wsf script.
Failover Clustering Tools -Includes the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in and the Cluster.exe command-line tool.
Group Policy Management Tools – Includes Group Policy Management Console (or GPMC), Group Policy Management Editor, and Group Policy Starter GPO Editor.
A note about GPMC: In Vista, after you install SP1, you will notice that GPMC, which used to be installed by default on the computer, has disappeared from the Administrative Tools folder. Even if you run GPMC manually, it will default to the Local Group Policy Editor. This will cause you to be unable to manage domain-based Group Policy from that computer. Because of these changes, you must use Remote Desktop to connect to another computer to manage Group Policy. Microsoft have promised that shortly after the release of Windows Server 2008, an updated GPMC with greater functionality will be released. Now we have it. The updated GPMC includes the ability to use Starter Group Policy objects (GPOs), which enable you to configure common scenarios more easily. It will also include more powerful search and filter capabilities to make it easier to find and edit settings and add comments about the settings (or the GPO itself), as well as Group Policy Preferences (also known as PolicyMaker) to further enhance the manageability of Group Policy.
Network Load Balancing Tools – Includes the Network Load Balancing Manager utility and the Nlb.exe and Wlbs.exe command-line tools.
SMTP Server Tools – Includes the SMTP snap-in.
Storage Manager for SANs Tools – Includes the Storage Manager for SANs snap-in, and the ProvisionStorage.exe command-line tool.
Windows System Resource Manager Tools – Includes the Windows System Resource Manager snap-in and the Wsrmc.exe command-line tool.
Windows Server 2003 support
This is quite important. Only the following tools support the management of Windows Server 2003:
- Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Tools
- Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Tools
- Active Directory Certification Authority Tools
- DHCP Server Tools
- DNS Server Tools
- Terminal Services tools
- Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services Tools
- Group Policy Management Tools
- Network Load Balancing Tools
Although containing most of the tools that one might need to manage a Windows Server 2003 environment, the lack of some tools means that one will still need to maintain a workstation running the Windows Server 2003 Adminpak if they need to remotely manage the settings missing from this list.
Installing the RSAT update
Download the tools from this location:
RSAT can be installed on 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the following configurations:
- Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1
- Windows Vista Enterprise with SP1
- Windows Vista Business with SP1
RSAT can be used to manage 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows Server 2008, you do NOT need to have separate copies of the tools just because you have 32-bit and 64-bit servers.
Double-click the file you’ve downloaded to start the installation process. Click Ok on the prompt.
In the license terms click I Accept (but only if you accept the license agreement…).
The installation will commence.
When it’s done, click Close. No reboot is required.
Adding the RSAT tools
After installing the update, you now need to manually add the various RSAT tools to the operating system. Simply installing the update will not allow you to use the various tools as MMC snap-ins, and they won’t appear on the Administrative Tools folder. This concept is quite similar to what we had to do in Windows Server 2003 Adminpak. However, there, we had to go through some loops in order to just install the set of tools that we wanted, because by default, installing Adminpak cause ALL administrative tools to be installed. Read my “Extract Specific Tools from Adminpak .msi” article for more info on that.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Programs.
- In the Programs and Features area, click Turn Windows features on or off.
- If you are prompted by User Account Control to allow the Windows Features dialog box to open, click Continue.
- In the Windows Features dialog box, expand Remote Server Administration Tools.
- Select the remote management tools that you want to install.
- Click OK.
Now, going back to the Start menu, you can see that the new RSAT tools have been added to the Administrative Tools folder.