Category Archives: Server Essentials, SBS

How to rapidly create a Virtual Machine from WIM or ISO (WIM2VHD)

If you have DVD media or and ISO of your Operating System, you can quickly and easily create a sysprepped VHD or VHDX image. With this Virtual Hard Disk file, you can set up a Virtual Machine and boot it directly to the Out of Box Experience, thus saving about half an hour to an hour of installation time.

The process for doing this and PowerShell script called Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 is documented in the Technet Script Repository here –

Note: This latest release (v6.3) now supports the creation on Generation 2 VMs.

Three new chapters for my book have been released

Today, I released three new chapters to my book, An Administrator’s Guide to Windows Server 2012 Essentials. The chapters cover the following topics.

  • Installing a Remote Desktop Services Server with Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Growing beyond 25 users with Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Virtualizing Windows Server 2012 Essentials on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V

The chapters are free for registered purchasers of the book, or they can be purchased individually. You will find more information here at

Update Rollup 2 for Windows Server 2012 Essentials Available Now

Microsoft have released the Update Rollup 2 for Windows Server 2012 Essentials. The update is available via Windows Update. More information on the issues that are resolved can be found here –

The client side package remains the same, and is automatically applied to client computers. More information on this package can be found here –

Note that client computers may appear to be offline in the dashboard until the client side package is installed and should be rebooted after the update is applied.

Http://Connect shows a 404 – File or directory not found error page

Http://connect is used in Small Business Server and Windows Server Essentials to configure and join client computers to the domain. There is a known issue with Trend Micro’s Worry Free Business Security suite version 7 and 8 which causes this issue.

The solution is to disable (NOT DELETE) the CGI-exe and ISAPI-dll modules on the SBS Client Deployment Applications Website in IIS.

  1. To do this, you need to start up the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager. Note: There are 2 of these located in Administrative tools. Select the non-numbered (version 7) one.

  2. Expand to the SBS Client Deployment Applications Home and locate Handler Mappings.

  3. Double-Click Handler Mappings. Then locate CGI-exe. Right-Click and Edit Feature Permissisons.


  4. Remove the tick on Execute. You will now see CGI-exe and ISAPI-dll listed in the disabled section. Click OK.


  5. Return to the SBS Client Deployment Applications Home, right-click on the website, select Manage Web Site, and restart the site.



How to set up an Internal SMTP Service for Windows Server 2012 Essentials

Windows Server 2012 Essentials does not come with Microsoft Exchange Server as its predecessor Small Business Server 2011 did. However, many small businesses still use a copier or multifunction device that has the ability to scan to email. Some units also allow a fax to email forwarding service. Unfortunately, many of these devices rely on some form of internal SMTP service to enable them to relay emails to recipients.

Fortunately, you can enable a SMTP service that is built into the core operating system for Windows Server 2012. Here how to do this.

Install the SMTP Service

  1. Launch the Server Manager. From the Search charm, type in Server Manager to find it.


  2. From the Dashboard, Add Roles and Features. The Add Roles and Features Wizard will begin. Click Next on the first screen.


  3. Select Role-based or feature-based installation.


  4. Select the Essentials Server (which should be highlighted by default).


  5. Click Next to bypass the Roles selections.


  6. Scroll down the list and tick the SMTP Server feature.


  7. A new window will pop up to inform you that some other services will also be installed. Click Add Features to confirm and continue. Click Next to continue past the features selection screen.


  8. Click Install to complete the Installation.


  9. Click Close when the installation has completed.


Configure the SMTP Service

  1. From the Search charm, type IIS. Hover your mouse over one of the selections, and run the Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Manager.


  2. Click Yes to the UAC Prompt.


  3. Expand to SMTP Virtual Server #1, right click and select Properties.


  4. General Tab: Set the IP Address to the server’s IP address.


    Note: You can also enable logging is required.


  5. Access Tab: Set the IP for the internal devices in the connection button.


    Add the same IP to the Relay list.


  6. Delivery Tab: Set an external domain – you can use the free customised domain from Microsoft, and you can also optionally add a Smart host, if required. Tick the Attempt direct delivery box, if you want the server to attempt to deliver the email directly first before trying the Smart host.


  7. From the Search charm, type Firewall to locate and run the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security console.


  8. Add a new Inbound Rule. (Right Click on Inbound Rule, and select New Rule)


  9. Select Port.


  10. Type in 25 as the local port.


  11. Click Next (Allow the Connection).


  12. Uncheck Public. (Prevents external access to the server)


  13. Give the rule a name, and click Finish to create the rule.


  14. You should now see a new rule enabled in the firewall management console.


  15. Restart the SMTP Service and set the service for Automatic Start. Open up the Services Management Console. Double Click on the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol service. Stop and then Start the service. Set the Startup type to Automatic.


That’s it. The service is ready and waiting.

NOTE: You can also do this with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and also with Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2. With SBS2011 Essentials and Server 2008 R2, there is a slight difference in adding the SMTP Service role, but it is a fairly straightforward task.

WSUS for WS2012 Essentials is available

Microsoft have just released a hotfix that allows the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) role to be enabled. This hotfix and description is available here –

Once the hotfix has been applied, you can then enable the WSUS role on a server running WS2012 Essentials. You can read more about how and what WSUS is from the Microsoft Technet article here –

A word of thanks to the HP Coffee Coaching Team, MVPs and IT Pro Community who have campaigned to have this feature enabled in WS2012 Essentials.

Stop Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 from automatically rebooting the server after logging in

One of the recent issues in managing Windows Server 2012 is the way Automatic Updates works by default. If automatic updates are installed on a server, it may or may not automatically reboot the server or PC.

At the log in screen, you may see this message.

Upon logging in, you may be faced with the prospect of the server rebooting in 15 minutes. The countdown timer has started and there is no apparent way to click on a “Postpone” button.

In many cases, this will cause some distress. Particularly if this is a Hyper-V host server, and you have an entire network of 120 users accessing the virtual machines!

Fortunately, there is a fix to prevent the server from counting down and restarting.

  1. Open an administrative command prompt.
    to stop the Windows Update service.

This will stop the Windows Update service, and stop the countdown timer until the server is restarted manually. Don’t forget to restart the server at the next possible opportunity.

Administrator’s Guide eBook versions released

I have released the eBook versions of the Administrator’s Guide to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

The books are available in the following formats.

iBooks (ePUB) –

Kindle (Mobi) –

Purchasers of the ebooks above will also be entitled to a PDF copy, which has enhanced page layout and higher resolution screenshots. The PDF copy can be purchased directly from the website here

An Administrator’s Guide to Windows Server 2012 Essentials

I’ve written a book.

The full details of the book are featured here –

You can download a sample of the book here –

It has been a drawn out process, and I now appreciate the effort it takes to write. I’d like to reiterate the acknowledgements to the people who have made this book possible.


I want to acknowledge God as my inspiration and to give Him the glory for His creation and my reason for existence in this point in time in the universe. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.

I want to thank my wife of 25 years, Hwee Ling, for her patience in putting up with my techno babble, and long hours immersed in work/IT/computers. I look also to my two daughters, Kristen and Karyn, for their joy in life and passion for discovery and knowledge. I want to specifically thank Karyn for her tireless work in helping me design, complete, proof read, format, and edit this manuscript.

Thank you, Jeff Middleton, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Windows Server (SBS/Essentials), who found time to glance through the book and write the foreword. You have been a good friend and valuable resource through IT Pro Experts and

For the photos of old SBS boxes, my appreciation goes out to my SBS-MVP family in Dave Nickason, Handy Andy Goodman and Jason Miller. Who would have thought you guys were hoarding the last remaining remnants of SBS history!

To Glen Scales (Exchange-MVP), and Susan Bradley (SBS-MVP), thank you for your contributions to the list of resources for small business. I know that readers will benefit greatly from your extensive knowledgebase.

To the rest of the SBS and WHS MVP community, I thank you for your passion, drive, ideas, and help in making the product workable in the real world. Truly, you guys and gals bring meaning to the slogan “Independent Experts, Real World Answers”

To the Microsoft® Small Business Server/Windows Server® 2012 Essentials Product Group Team, I thank you for your invaluable help in working through the issues and listening to the community and for making this the excellent product it is for the small business community.


SBS2012 is now Windows Server 2012 Essentials and it does not include Exchange

Great article from Susan Bradley with links to resources here –

Bottom line:

  • There is no SBS2012.
  • It is now called Windows Server 2012 Essentials or WS2012E for short.
  • It does not include Exchange.
  • Or Sharepoint, or SQL.

I’ve been blogging about the new features of WS2012E. It is a great fit for really small businesses, ie those up to 15 users. You really need to look at your IT strategy to work out what is the best way to work in your business (or your client’s business).

AND… It is not the end of the world that the SBS product is dead. There are other new and exciting alternatives. Watch this space.