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Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition offers a broad series of next-generation kind of technologies and features.
Easy Domain Set Up
The Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition setup includes creating an Active Directory domain which is one of the simplest AD domain set up. Once the bundle's connector software is installed in a computer, there is no need for any other domain configuration again. It also supports both the home and business versions of Windows.
Easy Dashboard Management Console
The Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition utilizes the easy and quick management console or the Dashboard. It has a straightforward and easy to comprehend post-Setup configuration tasks. This helps in automatic updates, server folders, user accounts, Server Backup, email alert notifications, remote access, computer connections, and media sharing.
With the Best Practices Analyzer in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, trigger signals in the Dashboard are possible through emails. The Dashboard allows virtual configuration of the server’s features which makes the interface simpler compared to other alternatives.
Configuring both the Group Policy and the folder redirection through connected computers is also possible with the Windows Server 2012 Essentials’ basic wizard.
Centralized PC Backup
One of the significant features of the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition is its centralized computer backup capability. This also includes image-based system backups and the new centralized File History backups.
The File History was enabled automatically and is centralized on the server. It also caches your most recent documents and file revisions on the computer for offline use.
The Server Backup feature of Windows Server 2012 Essentials can replicate the relevant server data of the OS partition if configured. This works for the on-site recovery purposes.
Increased Storage Spaces
The Drive Extender from the old version of Home servers is back in the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition but with a much better feature. From being a Drive Extender, it is now called the Storage Spaces. It has a better replication, cross-platform support, and NTFS and drive letter compatibility.
Storage Spaces allows you to use cheaper hard drives to set up a storage pool which can be divided into parts that can be used like physical disks. It can include a hot standby drive as well as use redundancy methods like 2 or 3-way parity.
Adding new disks is also possible anytime which allows a space that can be larger than the capacity of the storage pool.
Remote Access Capability
There is an improved feature in Windows Server 2012 Essentials: the Anywhere Access which also works naturally. It allows you to integrate the server along with an Internet domain using a single checkbox option. This domain is for the remote VPN-based access as well as the Remote Web Access.
This enables you to manage a home office network or a small business network seamlessly even if you are on the go. It can access the server shares as well as run the Remote Desktop sessions into the server or to a connected computer.
Online Services Integration
Compared to its predecessors, the Windows Server 2012 Essentials efficiently and quickly integrates with online services. There is a built-in connectivity with the Office 365 which was a separated add-on in the later versions, and integration with the new Windows Azure Online Backup.
The Dashboard also has integration features to the Microsoft PinPoint which is a new add-on online store for Essentials 2012. This makes browsing and downloading available add-ons much easier.
Simpler Media Sharing
The Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials offers a standard with DLNA-style kind of media file sharing. This allows music, photos, and video sharing through the home office network or Internet using the remote access feature.
The following are the required or minimum and recommended system requirements for the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition:
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