Some days ago, when I was thumbing through the RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools) help file I found a somewhat disturbing sentence:
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You can install the Administration Tools pack on computers running the Windows Vista with SP1 operating system, and use the Administration Tools pack to manage specific technologies on computers running either Windows Server 2008, or, in some cases, Windows Server 2003.
So in "some cases" we can use RSAT also for Windows Server 2003? Well, how many Windows Server 2008 machines do you already have in your organization? We've only a few test servers. So, of course RSAT will mostly be used to manage Windows Server 2003 for quite some time. Unfortunately, the help file doesn't get more specific about the RSAT tools that do support Windows Server 2003.
I've tried some of them, and so far all worked properly. However, that doesn't mean much. If a certain tool doesn't officially support Windows Server 2003, I wouldn't use it even if it seems to work, anyhow. The danger of your server being messed up is simply too big.
It seems as if Microsoft blogger Kurt Roggen sensed my worries somehow because he posted an article in his Windows Server 2008 blog that clarifies this issue. These are the RSAT tools that are fully supported for Windows Server 2003:
- Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Tools
- Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Tools
- Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) Tools
- DHCP Server Tools
- DNS Server Tools
- Group Policy Management Tools
- Network Load Balancing Tools
- Terminal Services Tools
- Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services Tools
As far as I am concerned, all tools that I need are included. Roggen also has a list of Windows Server 2008 tools that are unavailable through RSAT:
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- Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) Tools
- Fax Service Manager
- Network Policy and Access Services (NPS) Tools (has no remote connectivity functionality)
- Server Manager (has no remote connectivity functionality - top feature request #1 - Server Manager product team is looking how to get this done in next release)
- iSNS (Internet Storage Name Service)
- Storage Explorer
- Windows Media Services (available through separate addon for x86 and x64)
- WINS (Windows Internet Name Service)
- Windows Server Backup
- Windows Deployment Services (WDS) Tools
- IIS 7 Manager (available through separate addon for x86 and x64)
- Hyper-V Tools (available through separate addon for x86 and x64 - More information: Q949758)
Just in case in you miss the Terminal Services Profile, Remote Control, Environment, and Sessions tabs in the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in you should check out Brian W. McCann's blog post.
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Every time Microsoft changes their mind on what we should use to administer servers, I fire up Remote Desktop.
MS tells admins to use RDP. It is their excuse for neglecting the remote tools. Since I realized that some things don’t work with Adminpak, I also prefer RDP. It seems the situation is quite similar with RSAT now.