How to Download Windows Admin Center (And Set Up)

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This guide will teach you how to download and set up Windows Admin Center. This is a free PC application that provides remote management capabilities for your computer, although it requires an IT Pro subscription plan in order to use some of its most powerful features.

The “windows admin center installation step by step” is a guide that will help you install and set up the Windows Admin Center. The article will include screenshots of the process so that it is easy to follow along.

How to Download Windows Admin Center (And Set Up)

You’ve come to the correct site if you want to learn how to download Windows Admin Center, set it up, and configure the Windows Admin Center port.

This article will teach you how to set up Windows Admin Center from the ground up, from downloading to installing new extensions!

Prerequisites

You’ll need more than just a desktop to properly investigate Windows Admin Center’s potential. You’ll need the following to follow along:

  • A Windows domain with a domain controller for testing. If you don’t already have one, here is a fantastic place to start.
  • Installing Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019 for the first time (This article will be using Windows Server Core 2019). The installation media may be found on Microsoft’s website.

Windows Admin Center is compatible with Windows 10, although it does not support remote access. It will start as an application rather than a service and can only be utilized on the computer from where it was launched. Windows Server makes it possible to access Windows Admin Center from any machine that has a web browser.

Obtaining the Windows Admin Center (with Installation)

On Microsoft’s website, Windows Admin Center is available for download as an MSI. Windows Admin Center is free to use and install on Windows 10 (1709 or later), as well as Windows Server 2016 and later.

The procedure of downloading and installing Windows Admin Center is usually painless. It’s available via the Windows Server Evaluation Portal or a direct download link.

Below is a PowerShell snippet that will both download and install Windows Admin Center on your Windows Server to save you time.

The SME PORT=6516 option is highlighted below. The default port for the Windows Admin Center is 6516. If you want to modify the port after the installation, you may do so here. For Windows Admin Center to utilize, the SSL CERTIFICATE OPTION option creates a self-signed certificate.

Invoke-WebRequest ‘https://aka.ms/WACDownload’ -OutFile “$pwdWAC.msi” ## Download and install Windows Admin Center @(“/i”, “$pwdWAC.msi”, “/qn”, “/L*v”, “log.txt”, “SME PORT=6516”, “SSL CERTIFICATE OPTION=generate”) $msiArgs = @(“/i”, “$pwdWAC.msi”, “/qn”, “/L msiexec.exe (Start-Process) -Wait $msiArgs -ArgumentList

Configuring Firewall Rules

The MSI installer will enable remote access to the Windows Admin Center port by default, however this only pertains to the present state of your network. That access will become invalid if your network profile changes (for example, from private to domain).

A network profile is a collection of firewall rules that may vary based on your server’s status. It’s similar to a security group for firewall configuration. There are usually four types of profiles: public, private, work, and domain.

Create inbound Windows firewall exceptions for the Windows Admin Center port of 6516 (or whatever port you chose for the SME PORT option above) if your server is presently in a workgroup (which we’ll assume for this guide).

When a Winodws server is added to a domain, the network profile is changed to Domain, and you may be unable to access Windows Admin Center if the Domain network profile is not set.

To open the Windows Admin Center port, use the PowerShell instructions shown below.

> New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName “Allow Windows Admin Center” -Direction Outbound -profile Domain -LocalPort 6516 -Protocol TCP -Action Allow > New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName “Allow Windows Admin Center” -Direction Inbound -profile Domain -LocalPort 6516 -Protocol TCP -Action Allow

Accessing Windows Admin Center

You may now manage your server via a web browser, such as Chrome or the new Microsoft Edge, once you’ve installed Windows Admin Center.

To go to the Windows Admin Center, follow these steps:

  1. Open up a web browser on any computer on the same LAN as the Windows server and go to https://<server ip>:6516. This guide is using https://10.20.100.4:6516.

If you don’t know your server’s IP address, you can get it by typing ipconfig in the PowerShell terminal.

Related: ipconfig Commands You Should Know

2. You will likely be greeted with a big warning saying Your Connection is not private. Select “show advanced” and then “Proceed to <IP> (unsafe). Click on Proceed to <server IP> (unsafe).

Because Windows Admin Center uses a self-signed certificate that your local browser does not trust, you are seeing this warning.

A faulty SSL certificate triggers the Chrome SSL warning.A faulty SSL certificate triggers the Chrome SSL warning.

3. At the Sign in screen, provide the local administrator login and password.

For the sake of simplicity, this tutorial will use the local administrator account. However, the User Access Options guide might help you go much more sophisticated in this area.

Logging in using the built-in local administrator accountLogging in using the built-in local administrator account

Using Windows Admin Center to Join a Domain

Windows Admin Center offers a variety of functionality and management options for Windows Server. Let’s look at how to add a Windows Server to a domain to give you an idea of what Windows Admin Center can accomplish.

When you initially log in, you’ll be presented with a list of computers, of which there is only one: the one on which you installed Windows Admin Center. Below is an example of what this screen may look like.

  1. To deal with a server, choose the (usually only) Windows server from the list.

Windows Admin Center's Server ChooserWindows Admin Center’s Server Chooser

2. After you’ve made your selection, Windows Admin Center will show you a dashboard for your Windows Admin Center server (as seen below). You’ll also note that the machine name (1) is produced at random (if you installed Windows) and that the Domain (2) does not exist.

Windows Admin Center's primary DashboardWindows Admin Center’s primary Dashboard

3. On the dashboard, click Edit Computer ID. Common features like hostname and domain membership are defined by the Computer ID in Windows Admin Center.

Changing the computer's settingsChanging the computer’s settings

4. Type in the name and domain of your machine. This tutorial uses the domain ad.gurucomputing.com.au and the machine name Test-Server-2019.

Concurrently changing the computer name and domainConcurrently changing the computer name and domain

5. Enter the Domain User and Password (this article uses ad.gurucomputing.com.au/christopher.bisset), select the Restart immediately box, and click Save. If you opt to reboot, you will be requested to do so.

Credentials of someone who is permitted to connect machines to the domainCredentials of someone who is permitted to connect machines to the domain

6. Log into Windows Admin Center with your domain admin credentials (not the local administrator user account) and click on the test Winodws server again after rebooting.

The revised dashboard should now be visible. The computer name and domain have both been modified, as seen in the picture below.

To reflect the changes, the computer name and domain have been modified.To reflect the changes, the computer name and domain have been modified.

Because older systems demand a maximum of 15 characters, the Name on the Top Left has been chopped off.

After successfully joining the domain, you may begin investigating the choices available in Windows Admin Center. You’ll note right away that the majority of the sidebar categories (the left side menu in the picture below) seem remarkably like control panel categories, which they are.

Windows Admin Center is intended to be a web-based server administration solution. The control panel is mostly replaced with the categories (such as Firewall, Installed programs, and so on).

Select the Firewall category, for example, while examining a Windows server. You’ll notice the firewall exception you created previously using PowerShell.

PowerShell had already set up firewall rules.PowerShell had already set up firewall rules.

There are also several categories designed for remote management of the server. Files & File Sharing allows you to directly upload, download, or modify files on your server as shown in the following screenshot.

An overview of the Windows Admin Center's file browserAn overview of the Windows Admin Center’s file browser

Particularly intriguing are the PowerShell and Remote Desktop categories. As though you were using remote PowerShell natively, PowerShell enables you to open a remote terminal right on the system!

Within the browser, the PowerShell consoleWithin the browser, the PowerShell console

This remote PowerShell console is very useful for workgroup servers, since maintaining a workgroup server without a Domain may be exceedingly difficult.

You may use the Remote Desktop option to launch RDP in your browser. You may have a full-fledged remote desktop connection within Windows Admin Center using RDP in a browser!

Viewing the Server Core 2019 remote desktop (it is not very interesting as Server Core 2019 has no GUI)Viewing the Server Core 2019 remote desktop (it is not very interesting as Server Core 2019 has no GUI)

There are about a dozen additional categories that this post will go over for now. The majority of them are similar to the control panel and are self-explanatory. Instead, let’s look at using a Windows Admin Center extension to manage Active Directory.

Using Windows Admin Center Extensions to Manage Active Directory

Windows Admin Center is an expandable system that allows you to add new functionality through extensions. It has a wide number of extensions for different administrative duties (in fact, some of the sidebar categories are Microsoft bundled extensions).

An optional Windows Admin Center Extension provides additional capabilities. Cluster management, virtual machine administration, and active directory management are all examples of this (as seen below)

Install the Active Directory extension to showcase extensions.

This website does an excellent job of demonstrating the Active Directory extension in detail.

  1. Select the Settings cog (1) in the upper right corner of the main Windows Admin Center page.

2. On the left-hand side, click Extensions (2), as shown below. A list of installed and available extensions should be displayed:

Finding your way to the Extensions PortalFinding your way to the Extensions Portal

3. Select the Active Directory extension and press the Install button.

The Active Directory Extension is being added. The Active Directory Extension is being added.

It’s worthwhile to go through the extension list to see what’s available. A Windows Admin Center plugin is available for several Microsoft-related services.

The Active Directory option will change from Available Extensions to Installed Extensions after installation.

4. If you’re remotely controlling your Domain Controller (discussed later in this article), you’ll see an Active Directory option in the sidebar. Start administering Active Directory by clicking on it.

Using the Active Directory Extension to Browse OUsUsing the Active Directory Extension to Browse OUs

The Active Directory area will not display in the sidebar if you are not using Windows Admin Center on a domain controller, as seen in the picture above. This issue will be resolved as soon as possible.

This will be a very similar experience to people who have used the Active Directory Administrative Tools (not to be confused with Windows Admin Center). You’re not utilizing Microsoft’s Remote Server snap-ins; instead, you’re using a web interface with no locally installed tools at all.

Under the hood, it’s all PowerShell.

You may not realize it, but PowerShell is responsible for the whole backend of Windows Admin Center. A PowerShell script runs in the background every time you modify a setting or visit a dashboard, enacting the change. In fact, in Windows Admin Center, you can look behind the curtain and simply extract the PowerShell that executes!

PowerShell Firewall Functions Inspection

Return to the Firewall Category and, as seen below, click the View Powershell Scripts button. A new panel appears, displaying a selectable selection of PowerShell functions. When you choose an option (like with the Disable-FirewallRule option below), Windows Admin Center shows the function that Windows Admin Center utilizes to do its operations.

Every category in the sidebar may be inspected in this manner.

In the backend, seeing the underlying PowerShellIn the backend, seeing the underlying PowerShell

This is a useful tool since it shows you how Microsoft structures all of their PowerShell and provides you with a ton of best practice examples for building your own PowerShell!

Other Servers Can Be Managed From Afar

Think again if you believed you had to install Windows Admin Center on every server in your network. Windows Admin Center only has to be installed on one server. All you need is PowerShell Remoting enabled on your servers since Windows Admin Center performs everything behind the scenes using PowerShell.

In this post, we’ll demonstrate this via remoting into the domain controller.

You may not be able to administer your domain controller remotely if you’re working in a production domain. Check your IT regulations before testing any functionality on critical equipment!

  1. Click the Windows Admin Center header in the upper left to return to the server list.

2. Select Add from the drop-down menu.

Windows Admin Center's Server ChooserWindows Admin Center’s Server Chooser

3. Navigate to Servers.

4. Either manually input the domain controller’s machine name or use the Search Active Directory box to look for it.

5. Add the server to your list of options.

6. Choose a server and log in using your domain credentials.

These stages are shown in the animation below:

Adding an additional machine to the Server SelectorAdding an additional machine to the Server Selector

Your domain controller now has a web interface, and you didn’t even have to install anything!

Your browser is just utilizing the Windows Admin Center server as a host and execute all of the domain controller’s backend instructions!

You may also utilize the Windows Admin Center server as a jump box to handle the domain controller if the controller has remote desktop enabled! Below is a fully working RDP session:

Even though the PC utilizing the browser has no direct connection to the Domain Controller, it may be managed remotely.Even though the PC utilizing the browser has no direct connection to the Domain Controller, it may be managed remotely.

The browser-running PC in the preceding example is unable to reach the Domain Controller directly. Instead, the browser communicates with the Windows Admin Center server, which in turn communicates with the Domain Controller. This approach may be used to get remote access to restricted or sensitive equipment.

Where Should We Go From Here?

If you like, you may utilize Windows Admin Center to manage your complete server fleet. On Microsoft’s website, there is a wealth of information. Windows Admin Center can even control your whole fleet of endpoints to some degree (albeit, an RMM tool like Meshcentral or TeamViewer would be more appropriate for endpoints).

Another tool to add to your armory is Windows Admin Center, which is quite handy for administering GUI-less systems.

The “windows admin center download for windows 10” is a tool that allows users to manage their Windows 10 devices. It features a full-screen management interface, and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

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