Today, I was prepping the our family's Lenovo Yoga13 (affectionately known as yZilla) to leave the house for a bit. So I did a quick test of tethering to an iPhone 5 with a USB cable. The dreaded network connection errors came up, where the connectivity status showed "No Internet access". Hmm. Could it be that I didn't change that DNS back to DHCP, back when I cleaned up after the client connector install procedure? Well, yes! The "Apple Mobile Device Ethernet" network adapter (part of iTunes) isn't available to change its network settings when the phone isn't attached. So this was a latent issue that bit me, at the most inconvenient time of course, as we were rushing. So I performed my manual DNS cleanup procedure. But boy, wouldn't it be grand if this issue really gets fixed? With 12 systems out there that are backed up to my home, it'd sure be swell to have this problem gone, for good. So, to everybody who upvoted my Microsoft Connect bug report, I say, THANK YOU! This is the pesky age-old Essentials issue, that affects folks who chose the domain-join-skip way of installing the client connector, may actually be fixed soon!
View the original Microsoft Connect report here.
The workaround was discussed on The Homeserver Show Forums here, and detailed first here on TinkerTry, step-by-step, Windows Server 2012 Essentials remote client loses its Internet connection, here’s your DNS-related fix Sep 9 2012.
More recently, I was disappointed that UR1 didn't fix this issue, despite Microsoft's promise, Update Rollup 1 for Windows Server 2012 Essentials is available, testing on my busy server underway Feb 26 2013
nor did UR2, Update Rollup 2 for Windows Server 2012 Essentials is available, testing on my busy server underway Jun 18 2013. Uh oh. Would it work in the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Preview?
Apparently not, explained at Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Preview The Essentials Experience Jun 15 2013. How bleak this was looking. Why? Well, my workaround was now broken as well. Boo. But the wait may not have been in vain! with UR3 coming in the next month or two! A new server and client registry tweak is coming, something like
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\Networking will have a new key called something like "Skip auto DNS detection registry" that you'll set to True, and "skipautodnsconfig" DWORD set to 001, as explained by SBSDiva on this recent Home Server Show Episode 234, beginning at this spot, 13 minutes into the episode. I gotta say that this fix is a little late though, with my thoughts already wandering to how they may improve handling of DNS for domain-join-skip clients, on the upcoming Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, due to be released with the rest of the R2 family on October 18th (and the free Microsoft Store delivery of Windows 8.1 on October 17th).
Aug 25 2013 Update:
See also this excellent read that Jason pointed out on the forums here, where he tips me off to this gem: Unravelling the mystery of Client DNS with Essentials family Servers Jun 17 2013 by Robert Pearman
Nov 04 2013 Update:
New article about UR3 now out, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem, and help to (sort of) fix it:
Windows Server 2012 Essentials Update Rollup 3 has arrived, with DNS fixes by Paul Braren, Nov 04 2013.