My Life in IT

Get the Windows Phone 8 GDR 3 Now

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In my previous post I linked from the Microsoft press-release all the new features that are being made available with the Windows Phone 8 GDR 3 Update. One of the interesting pieces of information was that Microsoft was making the update available for developers now. To participate and download Windows Phone 8 Update 3, you need to meet one of three conditions: your phone is “developer-unlocked,” you’re a registered Windows Phone Store developer, or you’re a registered Windows Phone App Studio developer.

I obviously needed to get the update running on my phone (Nokia Lumia 925). I realized that there was no going back once the update is installed as well as no manufacturer and carrier support once this is upgraded. Please make note of this before you attempt the update.

So, to get back to updating. One of the options above is to be registered as a Windows Phone App Studio developer. To do so, visit and sign in with your Microsoft account. Once signed in, you will see a page like this.

Click on a template and select create app. Go through the creation process, hit the next button at the bottom till you reach “Step 4”. At this point you should see a page that looks like this.


Now create on generate app and go grab a cup of coffee while this completes. Your page should look like this at this point.


Now that you are back, you should see a page that looks like this.


Click on the “install the certificate” link first. You will see a pop-up with a QR code. Whip out your Windows Phone 8 device, click on the search button and click on the eye button on the bing screen. You should be able to click on the link from the QR code. When prompted to install, go ahead and install.
Next, scan the QR code for the app that you see on the screen for the app and follow the link and install the app.

You phone should now be ready to accept the preview app. On you phone, go to Windows Phone Store and install the app.

Once the app is installed, you should be able to go to the app and sign-up for the preview. You will get a notification that your phone is registered for update 3. Go to setting and phone updates and check for updates. You should be on your way to install the update. Only caveat is that you will need access to Wi-Fi to download and install the update.

PLEASE NOTE: All steps above is what I followed, I provide no guarantees if it does not work for you. Bottom line is do this at your own risk.

Windows Phone 8 Update 3

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I had an interesting piece of news waiting in my RSS reader today about the much rumored and speculated GDR 3 update for Windows Phone 8. According to many sources, this is the last of the GDR update/s before Windows Phone 8.1 in spring 2014. What was interesting to me that Microsoft released the update this morning without much hoopla that usually surrounds these updates. The update is not much of a radical change in the OS but more of an incremental update that adds some new features to the OS. This update also points to rumors of the spec bump to the OS as well as confirm some of the hardware that might be released by Nokia on Oct 22nd.

It seems that this week is the week of OS releases/updates with Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 all scheduled to launch on October 18th. And not to forget the all-important Surface 2 launch on Oct 22nd.

Here are the new features being added to Windows Phone 8. Check out my next posts on how you can get your hands on this update yourself.

A bigger Start screen for more Live Tiles. A new, customizable Driving Mode. Better accessibility options. These are just some of the new features and innovations that we’re getting ready to deliver to you in Windows Phone 8 Update 3, which will roll out to existing phones over the next several months. As manager of the engineering team responsible for delivering updates to your Windows Phone, today I wanted to tell you a bit more about what’s included in our third official update of the year—plus describe a new preview program we’re launching to help developers keep their apps running smoothly on our latest software.

The story behind No. 3. When we sat down to plan our latest official update to Windows Phone 8, we had three main engineering goals in mind:

  1. Enable incredible new Windows Phone devices.

  2. Enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners.
  3. Improve overall quality.
Support for bigger, higher-resolution screens

So the new update paves the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens. The larger, 1080p HD displays on these devices will make Windows Phone even more personal—for example by sporting jumbo-sized Start screens with room for six Live Tiles across instead of four.

A Start screen with room for as many as six Live Tiles side by side.  Windows Phone 8 Update 3 paves the way for larger Start screens like this on future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens.

More powerful hardware

In addition to larger screens, Update 3 will also bring support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. The added horsepower that this chip delivers should make our already-fluid operating system perform even better.

Driving Mode

A new feature called Driving Mode helps you get from point A to point B with fewer distractions. Working with a connected Bluetooth device, Driving Mode is designed to limit notifications on the lock screen—including texts, calls, and quick status alerts—until you’re safely parked.

A new feature of Windows Phone 8 Update 3 called Driving Mode helps you get from point A to point B with fewer distractions.

You can even configure Driving Mode to send automatic replies to people who call or text when you’re behind the wheel, to let them know you’ll get back to them.

New accessibility features

Another highlight of the new update is Mobile Accessibility for Windows Phone 8, which isn’t a single feature but a suite of apps designed to make Windows Phone easier to see, hear, and use. The apps, which include a screen reader, make it easier for blind and visually impaired users to manage calls and contacts, send texts and emails, browse the web, make Skype and Lync calls, and hear notifications like alarms, calendar events, and low-battery warnings.

Improved Internet Sharing

Many of you are familiar with the Internet Sharing feature, which turns Windows Phone 8 into a mobile hotspot by sharing your cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.

In Update 3, we’ve made it easier to use your phone as a data-savvy hotspot for Windows 8.1 devices. Just pair your phone and Windows 8.1 PC or tablet over Bluetooth, tap your network name, and you’ll be connected and ready to go. No need to enter a password or dig out your phone and turn on Internet Sharing—it’s done for you.

But, wait, there’s more

That’s not all we’ve packed into Windows Phone 8 Update 3. Besides hundreds of under-the-hood performance tweaks and enhancements, we’ve also added a bunch of small but handy new features, including several that you’ve been asking for. They include:

  • More useful ringtones: With Update 3, you can use custom ringtones for more things—including instant messages, emails, voicemails, and reminders. You can also assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you’ll know who’s texting you without even looking.

  • No more twist and shout: Does your screen keep spinning when you’re trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.
  • Better storage management: New storage settings make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. A new category view shows what’s taking up space at a glance.
  • Easily close apps: Now you can use the App switcher to quickly close apps when you’re finished with them.
  • Wi-Fi access out of the box: You can now connect to Wi-Fi during phone set up, so you can start conserving cellular data right out of the box.
  • Better Bluetooth: The team made a bunch of improvements to improve connection quality for Bluetooth accessories.

Windows Phone 8 Update 3 adds the ability to assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you'll know who's texting you without even looking.          Does your screen keep spinning when you’re trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.

Announcing the Developer Preview Program

Finally, today I’m also happy to announce the Windows Phone Preview for Developers. The program, which officially launches later today, gives app builders early access to our operating system updates so they can verify that their apps work as expected on the new code.

To participate and download Windows Phone 8 Update 3, you need to meet one of three conditions: your phone is “developer-unlocked,” you’re a registered Windows Phone Store developer, or you’re a registered Windows Phone App Studio developer.

You’ll find more details about the new program in a post today on our official Developer Blog. Try it out and let us know what you think, and thanks for your continued interest in Windows Phone!


2013 Microsoft MVP Award

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I am pleased to announce that as of today, I am the recipient of the 2013 Microsoft MVP Award. This is my first MVP Award and its an honor to be included with some amazing MVP’s


MVP awards are given to individuals by Microsoft in recognition of their contributions to the technical community, such as this blog, forums and community contributions to User Groups such as

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my readers, followers, fellow MVPs and of course the Microsoft employees that have encouraged, helped and supported me over years.

Thank you everyone.

All about the Surface 2

Categories: Hardware, Surface
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Microsoft unveils Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and new accessories

Pre-order will begin at 8 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.

Surface 2 will launch 10/22

Microsoft on Monday announced that the Microsoft Surface family of tablets is growing. Two new Surface models — Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 — along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, will be available at Microsoft retail stores, and select third-party retailers in 22 initial markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States on Oct. 22 and China in early November. Additional markets will be announced in the coming months.

Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles, so it’s more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk. Enhancements in Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro make Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 even more powerful and customizable.

Pre-order Surface

Customers can pre-order Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 starting at 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 24, 2013, at, Microsoft Stores, and Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, as well as select retailers in most Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch markets.

Value-added services

To help people get the most out of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, customers purchasing either device will receive free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype WiFi on their Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 at more than 2 million hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200 GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.

Surface 2

Surface 2 is the most productive tablet for personal use. It offers all the entertainment and gaming capabilities you expect from a tablet, along with the ability to get work done. Surface 2 is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, making apps run faster and smoother and increasing battery life to up to 10 hours for video playback. The 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p video for enjoying shows and movies, and its full-size USB port has been upgraded to USB 3.0 for up to four times faster file transfers. Camera resolution has also increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video and featuring improved low-light performance, making face-to-face conversations with your favorite people crisp and clear. Even with these and other upgrades, Surface 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Surface 2 will ship with Windows RT 8.1, bringing improvements in key areas such as personalization, search, multitasking, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity. The new Xbox Music allows you to stream millions of songs for free, and an updated Video app and great games from the Windows Store such as “Halo: Spartan Assault” will ensure that you never run out of ways to play. When it’s time to get serious, Surface 2 is pre-loaded with Microsoft Office 2013 RT — including Outlook RT; simply click in a Touch or Type Cover and get to work.

Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations;[1] it will start at $449.

Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface Pro and, like its predecessor, is a true laptop replacement, capable of running virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite,[2] as well as apps from the Windows Store. Surface Pro 2 offers the portability and simplicity of a tablet when you want it and the power and flexibility of a laptop when you need it. It is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor which, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 60 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro.

Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM.[1]

Full specs are available at

New Accessories

Today’s announcement also includes seven new accessories that will make Surface even more flexible, more portable and more productive:

•Touch Cover 2. Thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover, measuring only 2.75 mm thin, Touch Cover 2 features backlit keys for even better readability. Touch Cover 2 is more rigid, registers keystrokes with greater accuracy and features updated sensors that support a variety of gestures across the entire keyboard. Touch Cover 2 has an estimated retail price of $119.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.

•Type Cover 2. Type Cover 2 features the same super-thin, lightweight design of the original Type Cover, but it’s now backlit and will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black in the coming months. It’s also more rigid, providing a better lap-typing experience, and is designed to be noticeably quieter when striking keys. Type Cover 2 will have an estimated retail price of $129.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.[3]

•Power Cover. Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent to help you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight. Power Cover will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

•Docking Station for Surface Pro. The Docking Station for Surface Pro lets you quickly connect Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals in a single step, taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant. While Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. PC peripherals connect via its one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports. The Docking Station for Surface Pro will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

•Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers. The Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers connects magnetically to any Touch or Type Cover, letting you type from anywhere in the room using Bluetooth technology, so it is even easier to connect Surface to a TV or monitor[4] and type from another location, such as the couch. Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers will have an estimated retail price of $59.99. It will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada beginning Sept. 24.

•Car Charger with USB. Car Charger plugs into most cars’ power or lighter ports and charges Surface without the need for an additional adapter. It also features a USB port to allow simultaneous charging of a phone or other device. Car Charger will have an estimated retail price of $49.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

•Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition. This special-edition Arc Touch Mouse has been updated to match the look of Surface. Like other Arc Touch mice, it is designed for comfort and flattens for portability. It connects via Bluetooth 3.0, freeing Surface’s USB port for use by other devices. Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition will have an estimated retail price of $69.99 and will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 24. Distribution in additional markets is projected to begin in the coming months.

More information on Surface is available at

Recap: Top 31 Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012

Categories: Windows, Windows Client, Windows Server
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Over the past month, Microsoft IT Pro Technical Evangelists and I have authored a series of articles about our Top 31 Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012.  Now that our series is complete, I’m providing a clickable index below of all of the articles in the series for your convenience, just in case you perhaps missed any of them when they were first released.

Hope you enjoy our Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012!

Top 31 Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012

  1. The Cloud OS Platform by Kevin Remde
  2. Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 by Brian Lewis
  3. Feel the Power of PowerShell 3.0 by Matt Hester
  4. Live Migrate Your VMS in One Line of PowerShell by Keith Mayer
  5. Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Replica by Kevin Remde
  6. Right-size IT Budgets with “Storage Spaces” by Keith Mayer
  7. Yes, there is an “I” in Team – the NIC Team! by Kevin Remde
  8. Hyper-V Network Virtualization by Keith Mayer
  9. Get Happy over the FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 by Matt Hester
  10. Simplified BranchCache in Windows Server 2012 by Brian Lewis
  11. Getting Snippy with PowerShell 3.0 by Matt Hester
  12. How to Get Unbelievable Data Deduplication Results by Chris Henley of Veeam
  13. Simplified VDI Configuration and Management by Brian Lewis
  14. Taming the New Task Manager by Keith Mayer
  15. Improve File Server Resiliency with ReFS by Keith Mayer
  16. Simplified DirectAccess by Sumeeth Evans
  17. SMB 3.0 – The Glue in Windows Server 2012 by Matt Hester
  18. Continuously Available File Shares by Steven Murawski of Edgenet
  19. Server Core – Improved Taste, Less Filling, More Uptime by Keith Mayer
  20. Extend Your Hyper-V Virtual Switch by Kevin Remde
  21. To NIC or to Not NIC Hardware Requirements by Brian Lewis
  22. Simplified Licensing and Server Versions by Kevin Remde
  23. I Think, Therefore IPAM! by Kevin Remde
  24. Windows Server 2012 and the RSATs by Kevin Remde
  25. Top 3 New Tricks in the Active Directory Admin Center by Keith Mayer
  26. Dynamic Access Control by Brian Lewis
  27. Get the Gremlin out of Your Active Directory Virtualized Infrastructure by Matt Hester
  28. Scoping out the New DHCP Failover by Keith Mayer
  29. Gone in 8 Seconds – The New CHKDSK by Matt Hester
  30. New Remote Desktop Services (RDS) by Brian Lewis
  31. No Better Time Than Now to Choose Hyper-V by Matt Hester

What’s Next? Keep Learning!

Want to learn more about Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012?  Want to prepare for certification on Windows Server 2012?

  • Do It: Join our Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge online peer study group for FREE at

You’ll get FREE access to video-based lectures, structured study materials and hands-on lab activities to help you study and prepare!  Along the way, you’ll be part of an IT Pro community of over 1,000+ IT Pros that are all helping each other learn Windows Server 2012!

Catch the Launch of Windows 8 and Click in with Surface

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Tune in Thursday, October 25, at 11:15 am EDT while we broadcast live from New York City and launch Windows 8.

Catch the Launch of Windows 8











Join us virtually tomorrow for a special Surface webcast where you can learn more about Microsoft Surface and how to purchase.

Click In.

Windows 8 Launch. NYC

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I am here in NYC along with my friend Steven Bink. We walked around Times Square yesterday and saw a few Windows 8 launch related items. I will be updating this post as we go through the launch activities as well.

WP_000094 ; WP_000096

20121025-094439.jpg Waiting in line to check in.

20121025-094752.jpg Steven Sinofsky hanging out in line with us.


20121025-102709.jpg Got our passes. Now for the good stuff


20121025-110129.jpg Seated. Waiting for the launch to begin in 12mins. Look for the webcast link in the other blog post on top.

20121025-112416.jpgSteven Sinofsky keynote at Windows 8 launch for press.

Julie and Mike showing off Windows 8 hardware.


20121025-115814.jpg Steve Ballmer on stage.



20121025-131844.jpg Checking out the surface event. Only RED badges allowed.

Office 365 University

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Microsoft today introduced a new subscription service for Students for about $80 a year. This is a surprisingly low price for features that students get. Office components like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Publisher and Outlook (that’s not available in the current Home version) plus all the other Office 365 goodies to go with it. On top of that students get 60 Skype world minutes per month, 27GB SkyDrive storage along with free upgrades and the ability to install on two separate computers. Check out the announcement from the Office Team below and how you will be eligible to get your copy.Office 365 University for Higher-Education Students

Today, we’re introducing a new offering for university and college students called Office 365 University. Available in the first quarter of 2013, Office 365 University will be offered online, at retail locations and at Microsoft Stores in 52 markets worldwide.

Starting today, eligible students can buy Office University 2010 or Office University for Mac 2011 and receive a free subscription to Office 365 University when it becomes available.

10 Reasons Higher-Education Students Will Love Office 365 University
  1. The best of Office: Includes the new Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.
  2. The best price: At US$1.67 per month, it’s a great deal. (Estimated retail price of US$79.99 for a four-year subscription; non-U.S. pricing available.)
  3. Four years: If school takes more than four years, renew once for a total of eight years of Office 365 University.
  4. Digital note-taking: Take notes with touch, pen or keyboard in OneNote and keep them handy in the cloud and across multiple devices.
  5. Save to SkyDrive: Office 365 University saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so content is always available across devices.
  6. More storage: Additional 20 GB Premium SkyDrive Storage for a total of 27 GB.
  7. Skype: 60 Skype world minutes per month included.
  8. New upgrades: Get future upgrades and enhancements.
  9. Two installations: Install Office 365 University on up to two computers (PC or Mac) for one user.
  10. Office on Demand: Use it even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured Office to an Internet-connected Windows-based PC.
Who can get Office 365 University?

Full- and part-time enrolled university and college students, faculty and staff in accredited institutions are eligible to purchase Office 365 University.

Higher-education students, faculty and staff must verify their eligibility online as part of the Office 365 University product activation process. (Note: Verification is post-purchase for all channels except directly from Microsoft Store, where we offer a pre-purchase verification.)

Read all about it here

Microsoft Surface RT pricing seems to be revealed. Starts at $499

Categories: Hardware, Surface
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The Verge and are reporting that Microsoft has now unveiled the pricing for both of its ARM-based Surface RT tablets at its Microsoft online stores. The 10.6-inch Surface, powered by Windows RT, will go on sale on October 26th and will be priced starting at $499 for the 32GB version without Touch Cover and $599 for the 64GB model. A 32GB version will be offered for $599 with a Touch Cover included. The 9.3mm thin tablet weighs just 1.5lbs and includes a built-in kickstand and vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case.

Microsoft listed its Surface pricing at its online Microsoft Store this morning, indicating that pre-orders will be available shortly. The company has also listed the prices for its Touch Cover, at $119.99 each, and Type Cover for $129.99. The Touch Cover appears to be available in white, red, black, blue, and purple colors – while the Type Cover is listed as a single item in black.

While the link above does not seem to be working currently, we seem to have gotten screenshots of what to expect.



This blog post and topic is one in a series of blog posts on 31 days of our favorite things in Windows Server 2012.

DirectAccess, Wow! What a really cool technology to write about. I know I cannot cover everything about DirectAccess, not even come close, but I will try to highlight why this version of DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 is so much easier, and simple to deploy than ever before. But, before we go forward, I would like to set the context on where we came from and a little bit of my personal history with DirectAccess and how this applies to me. I know everyone might have their own reasoning on how and why to use DirectAccess but hopefully my experience will help someone who might be contemplating if this should apply to them. If you wish to skip my story, hit the break below to get into new features and deploying Simplified DirectAccess.

In April of 2009, I was on Microsoft campus attending a TAP (Technology Adoption Program) Airlift for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. The last session before we left for home after 3 days of presentations and interacting with the product team was on DirectAccess. I sat through the presentation by John Morello who was a Senior PM on the Windows team. When the session ended, I went up to John and told him, whatever you just presented I want it! And thus began my journey with DirectAccess. The reason why I thought it was such an amazing feature was because, at that time I was working for a company that was a small business with 125 employees but about 75 of those employees were remote users, the laptops they used never saw the inside of a corporate network except for when they were provisioned or came in for repair during their lifecycle. These machines were non-domain joined, non-admin controlled machines. The overhead of using VPN and the manual connection method of VPN did not appeal to us and so we never deployed it. This was the solution.

So, I started testing with the help of the product team DirectAccess in Server 2008 R2 and quickly realized that this was a pretty encompassing product. Configuring DirectAccess included knowledge of IPv6, Certificates, DNS, Group Policy etc. Also, one important requirement was that the servers needed to be IPv6 capable or a NAT-PT device would have to be used, which ran into thousands of dollars. After a lot of testing and configuring I was able to get DirectAccess deployed. We used user folder redirection, Mobile Broadband features of Windows 7 to have a great user experience with DirectAccess. However, with my limited knowledge at that point, I know that if I was not part of the TAP, it would have been very difficult to deploy and use DirectAccess in my organization. When I took up a new position with my current employer, we ended up deploying DirectAccess to over 300 machines in 77 locations across the country. We are in the process of deploying DirectAccess in Windows 8 and Server 2012.

Direct Access

Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced DirectAccess, a new remote access feature that allows connectivity to corporate network resources without the need for traditional Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections. DirectAccess provides support only for domain-joined Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate edition clients. The Windows Routing and Remote Access Server (RRAS) provides traditional VPN connectivity for legacy clients, non-domain joined clients, and third party VPN clients. RRAS also provides site-to-site connections between servers. RRAS in Windows Server 2008 R2 cannot coexist on the same edge server with DirectAccess, and must be deployed and managed separately from DirectAccess.

Windows Server 2012 combines the DirectAccess feature and the RRAS role service into a new unified server role. This new Remote Access server role allows for centralized administration, configuration, and monitoring of both DirectAccess and VPN-based remote access services. Additionally, Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess provides multiple updates and improvements to address deployment blockers and provide simplified management.

Fast-forward to 2012, in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, DirectAccess deployment is a breeze. Go through a wizard and a working configuration of DirectAccess is deployed in a few clicks. Thankfully, for people like me who have had some experience with DirectAccess in the past, there is a way to get a customized deployment going as well.

New Features

DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 is one of the roles in the “Remote Access” unified role. Here are the new feature highlights

  • DirectAccess and RRAS coexistence
  • Simplified DirectAccess Deployment
  • Removal of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) as prerequisite
  • Built in NAT64 and DNS64 support for IPv4 only resources
  • Support for DirectAccess behind a NAT device
  • Load Balancing Support
  • Multi Domain Support
  • NAP Integration
  • Manage-Out to clients support
  • User Monitoring / Server Status / Diagnostics
  • IP-HTTPS performance improvements
  • Server Core Support
  • Multisite Support

Deployment Options

  • Single Site Remote Access
  • Remote Access in a Cluster
  • Multiple Remote Access Servers in a Multisite Deployment
  • Remote Access with OTP Authentication
  • Remote Access in a Multi-Forest Environment
  • Remote Access with Network Access Protection
  • Remote Access in the Cloud

Simple Direct Access Deployment Steps

  1. Install the remote access role:
    • In the Server Manager console, in the Dashboard, click add roles.
    • Click Next three times to get to the server role selection screen.
    • On the Select Server Roles dialog, select Remote Access, click Add Required Features, and then click Next.
    • On the Select features dialog, expand Remote Server Administration Tools, expand Role Administration Tools, and then select Remote Access Management Tools, and then click Next.
    • Click Next four times.
    • On the Confirm installation selections dialog, click Install.
    • On the Installation progress dialog, verify that the installation was successful, and then click Close.
  2. Obtain two consecutive public IPv4 IP addresses and configure them on the external adapter of the server. These addresses must be unique.
  3. Create a new DNS record for the server FQDN.
  4. Obtain a server certificate for IP-HTTPS connections, with a subject name that matches the FQDN of the server.
  5. Create client security groups.

After Installing the Remote Access Role. Open up the Remote Access Management Console


Click on the Deploy DirectAccess Only option


If you have two adapters, select the Edge topology and enter the FQDN or External IP address, if not, select the topology that meets your requirements


Click Next and Finish with the default options or select to edit the settings (settings can still be edited later)


The wizard will go through various configurations and finish successfully


That’s it, you are done! At this screen, you can go and look through all the configuration steps and edit as needed/necessary.


More Resources:

Remote Access tech center on TechNet:

Remote Access overview:

This is Cool! How do I get the new DirectAccess?

This article described DirectAccess improvements in Windows Server 2012 to provide easy deployment and monitoring. To explore the new DirectAccess feature for yourself …

  • Join our FREE Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge to continue your learning and prepare for MCSA certification!
  • Download the Windows Server 2012 installation bits!
  • Build your own Windows Server 2012 server lab environment!