The articles I wrote here on 4sysops about the Adminpak-Vista issue were accessed about 150,000 times. Obviously, Microsoft has managed to frustrate quite a few admins this way. It took them more than a year to finally solve this problem. And the solution is the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT).

In my opinion, it was one of their biggest mistakes with regards to Vista. IT pros are certainly the ones who have to be persuaded first when a new operating system is released. When I realized that Adminpak tools don’t work on Vista reliably, my first thought was that this operating system can hardly be ready for prime time if even Microsoft is unable to make their own software work on it. I never believed that it would have taken them this long to come up with a new version. Well, I have to say thanks for the many new readers they brought to my blog this way.

Even though I installed SP1 for Vista on several test PCs without problems, I was a bit hesitant to update my own PC to SP1 at work because of the many horror stories I have read about the update. But the release of RSAT was reason enough for me to make this move now. RSAT was installed without problems, too. I am not sure what happened to the Adminpak tools. I think they were just replaced. I didn’t use them for some time because they were too unreliable enough for my taste.

RSATUnlike Adminpak, RSAT has to be enabled as a Windows feature after the installation. This is quite similar as under Windows Server 2008. I wonder why they didn’t just include them in SP1 then? Anyway, to enable the tools you need for your work, you have to go to the Control Panel, click Programs, and then click Turn Windows features on or off under Programs and Features. Only then will they show up in the Administrative Tools folder in the Start menu. There are two groups of tools:

Role Administration Tools ^

  • Active Directory Certificate Services Tools
  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Tools
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Tools
  • DHCP Server Tools
  • DNS Server Tools
  • File Services Tools
  • Network Policy and Access Services Tools
  • Terminal Services Tools
  • Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services Tools

Feature Administration Tools ^

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools
  • Failover Clustering Tools
  • Group Policy Management Tools
  • Network Load Balancing Tools
  • SMTP Server Tools
  • Storage Manager for SANs Tools
  • Windows System Resource Manager Tools

I must admit, I do not fully understand the logic behind this division. What makes GPMC so different from the other Active Directory tools? Well, but that doesn’t mean much. To this day, I didn’t understand the difference between a feature and a role. I guess, it is just my lack of imagination. Anyway, I should stop grumbling. We should be happy that Vista can finally be used to manage Windows servers.

You can download RSAT here:

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8 Comments
  1. Leonardo 14 years ago

    I’ve tried out adminpak over 9000 years ago when W2K Server was released, so I don’t remember much about the experience except one thing: It was too slow, particularly when handling the Event Log.

    A terminal services session has been my management method since, and will continue to be unless I find some compelling reason to switch to, or even implement RSAT as alternative.

  2. Amy 14 years ago

    FINALLY!!!!! I have been waiting impatiently for these tools since the beta versions of Vista!

  3. Christopher 14 years ago

    They’re, getting warmer…but are still missing ADUC with Exchange 2003 tabs.

  4. Aaron 14 years ago

    Much of the time I think people just complain about Microsoft because they think it makes them sound like a better admin. As if being mad about something makes you an expert.

    Having said that, on this issue I agree 100% with your complaint. It was definitely a bad call to make SP1 available without some kind of adminpak.

    In addition, I’m still attempting to understand how they can release Server 2008 while Hypervisor is still only at RC1. Hypervisor is one of their huge selling points but it still isn’t in it’s fully matured stage.

    Today it’s 29 days since Server 2008 launch…

  5. Jay Rogers 14 years ago

    I agree with all points mentioned. Is there anyway to at LEAST get the Terminal Server Profile Tab.
    They really should make all products have some type of managment with vista (like Exchange 2003 stuff too.

    Definitely hurt it’s adoption in corporations.

  6. Michael Pietroforte 14 years ago

    Leonardo, yes many admins prefer managing servers by logging on via RDP. Actually, this was Microsoft’s excuse when IT pros started complaining that the malfunctioning of the Adminpak under Vista. I was surprised how many came to my blog in the hope of finding a solution to their problem. I think Adminpak and RSAT are useful if you are managing many different servers. You can have all your tools in just one console. So you can connect to all your servers with just a mouse click.

    Amy, yeah “finally” was also my first thought when I read about it.

    Christopher, hmm you are right, ADUC is not in the list. I just noticed this now because I installed the Adminpak tools before. Did you install RSAT on a Vista machine without Adminpak? Is ADUC really not included?

    Aaron, I also like complaining about Microsoft, but I don’t think that it makes me a better admin. Actually, I think it will prevent me from getting the highest decoration available for a Windows IT pro, i.e. I will never become an MVP. 😉 As to the hypervisor, I am not complaining about that. It is not ready for prime time, so they shouldn’t release it yet. In my view, they should release Windows Server 6.5 together with Hyper-V.

    Jay, do you mean the Terminal Services Profile tab in ADUC?

  7. Christopher 14 years ago

    Michael ADUC exists on Vista but it doesn’t have tabs for Exchange Management (Exchange Advanced, Exchange General). XP was the same way, so the corrective course was to install the Exchange Admin tools which included an msc for ADUC that included the exchange admin tools.

    As I type this, I now realize that my previous post was inaccurate. Sticking with convention, the RSAT should not include an ADUC with exchange management tabs. We should install the exchange management tools on Vista, and use the ADUC that is delivered with it. Herein lies the last piece that I’m missing in order to use Vista for domain management in the way that I currently use and therefore prefer. (admitting that I could always just RDP to the Exchange server; but my current tools are far less cumbersome than an RDP session) I suppose what I need is an updated Exchange 2003 admin pack that works with Vista.

    Note to those that have been down this path; there IS a way to manually copy over the exchange 2003 admin tools and register DLL’s and such and some of it works. But those highly convenient tabs that I use all day long are still missing from ADUC.

    The lack of this tool doesn’t really impact my organization. XP SP2 + 97 patches is working just fine for us. There are no compelling reasons for me to upgrade to VistaME, and there are many incompatibilities and a giant cost of upgrading that compel me to stick with XP.

  8. Predashen 14 years ago

    Finally !

    thank you very much for the article ,it worked like a charm !

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