WinRM 3.0: Manage Windows Server 2008 R2 remotely with Server Manager and PowerShell

In this post, I’ll walk you through the steps for getting WinRM 3.0 properly configured on Windows Server 2008 R2 to allow you to use Server Manager to manage the server and to permit remote PowerShell sessions.
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At my workplace, we are in the process of replacing Windows Server 2003 R2 and some Windows Server 2008 R2 systems with 2012 R2 VMs. In my opinion, one of the key benefits of the Server 2012 R2/Windows 8.1 generation of operating systems is the inclusion of a centralized Server Manager application, which enables you to manage performance and events as well as manage roles and features of any number of servers in bulk.

As this is a Server 2012 technology, you’d think that this would apply only to 2012 and above, but with a little bit of work this can apply to your Server 2008 SP2 and Server 2008 R2 SP1 servers as well. The only caveat to this is that the installation of roles and features themselves is not possible for down-level servers but is only possible for Server 2012 and above.

Please note that the instructions here are for the full install only. If you are looking for an install for Server Core, some of these steps may differ for you.

Prerequisites ^

Server Manager before WinRM 3.0 configuration

Server Manager before WinRM 3.0 configuration

If you have a Windows 8 or Server 2012 box handy, you may want to go ahead and launch Server Manager, go to Manage, and choose Add Servers. You can then search Active Directory and add as many of your servers as you’d like. If this process has not been done yet, you will most likely see a manageability status of “Online - Verify WinRM 3.0 service is installed, running and required firewall ports are open,” as shown in the image.

To start the process, let’s check for some prerequisites first. You have to be running Service Pack 2 on Server 2008 or Service Pack 1 on Server 2008 R2. You must also have the .NET 4.0 Framework installed. Finally, in the case of a Windows 2008 server, you may need to install the Windows Management Framework 2.0 prior to WMF 3.0. Here are a couple of one-liners you can run from PowerShell to extract that info:

Return the service pack version:

Return the .NET 4 version information (if you get an error, that means it isn’t installed):

Return the PowerShell component versions (we really care about the PSVersion property):

As you can see, I’m good to go on all of these, so we can go ahead and proceed to configuring WinRM 3.0.

Install and configure WinRM 3.0 ^

To get going with WinRM 3.0, we’ll need to install the Windows Management Framework 3.0, which is just a simple MSU install much like the RSAT tools. Once done, we can verify the installation by running the $PSVersionTable command again, showing the new version. This update requires a reboot to take effect.

There is also a hotfix, KB2682011, that enables the collection of performance information on these older servers. In each of the occasions where I’ve tried to install the hotfix, the installer responded that it is not applicable to my computer, which tells me it is most likely included in a rollup somewhere along the line. If you can’t get the performance data out of Server Manager, this may be something to try.

Finally, we’re going to have to open a PowerShell window, run as Administrator, to do the last couple of steps. Once you have your command prompt open, execute the following commands:

The first command starts and sets the startup of the WinRM service to automatic, configures the listener port, and defines the firewall exceptions for the listener port. The second configures the computer to receive any PowerShell commands sent to it via WinRM. Once done, and if you get the results shown, you should be able to right-click the server in your Server Manager, choose Refresh, and have full functionality. By default, the performance counters are not started. If you wish to use them, you simply need to right-click the server and choose Start Performance Counters.

Server Manager after WinRM 3.0 configuration

Server Manager after WinRM 3.0 configuration

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  1. Patrick Ritchie 6 years ago

    Easy steps, explained purpose and expected response - easy to read... and the big compliment

    It worked the first time exactly as desired. Thank you for posting this article!

    - Patrick Ritchie


  2. Sébastien PERINE 5 years ago

    It works like a charm !

    Very good article, clear and precise.

    Thanks a lot.

    - Sébastien Perine


  3. Wayne Garske 4 years ago

    Great instruction. Absent of all the rabbit hole distractions. Thanks.

    Wayne Garske


  4. Jose Murillo 4 years ago

    Tested on Windows Server 2008 R2 Spanish version, commands worked no need to change anything.




  5. Brian 4 years ago

    Great article, perfect instructions!



  6. Riaz 3 years ago

    Worked perfectly the first time. Thanks.


  7. Aziz 3 years ago

    Great, worked for me.

    Managing Windows 2008 R2 Standard SP1 from Windows 10 Pro.


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