Windows Server 2012 Essentials - Connector installation

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 2 2013 (updated on Jul 7 2015) in
  • HomeServer
  • Windows
  • This article has been largely replaced by Dec 11 2013 improved version:

    Original article appears below.

    Here's a look at the installation of the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Connector, focusing on the home user, who may prefer to stay in a workgroup rather than join a domain. It's a bit faster and simpler to install this way, and has proven to be well suited for my extended family's daily backup needs. The focus is on end-user simplicity, with an alternative to auto-starting LaunchPad.


    Windows Server 2012 Essentials - Connector installation

    Uninstall any previous Connector

    Win+W, type Uninstall, click the 'Search' box at top-right, type Server, and look for any Windows Home Server Connector software, if found, uninstall it and reboot
    more details here

    Install Windows Server 2012 Essentials Connector

    to avoid the domain join, follow this Microsoft article:
    How to skip domain joining during client deployment in a Windows Server 2012 Essentials network, Guang Hu, Microsoft, September 06, 2012

    which boils down to this:

    reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment" /v SkipDomainJoin /t REG_DWORD /d 1    

    to your clipboard
    press 'Win+X', Command Prompt (Admin)
    paste the clipboard contents into the command prompt window, press 'Enter'
    using your favorite browser URL line, replacing servername with the name of your WS2012E server, typing
    download the client installer
    double-click the client to begin the installation wizard

    Prevent LaunchPad from autostarting

    if you'd prefer (Task Manager, Startup folder is one way, LaunchPad setting is another)

    Create a handy shortcut for backups

    you may wish to create a shortcut to "C:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin\BackupLaunchpad.exe" on your Start menu (metro UI), and/or your taskbar

    this allows the end user easy access to kicking off a backup, or checking backup status

    Admittedly, there is a DNS  related drawback to this workgroup install, but there is a work-around I created, explained here. This workaround will need to be applied manually to each client after the occasional rollup. But eventually, Microsoft may make an actual fix, as they sort of promised me, here's the excerpt from the article:

    Posted by Microsoft on 11/19/2012 at 10:44 PM
    Hi tinkererguy,
    Thank you very much for submitting feedback to us via Connect. Your input is very valuable to us. We are happy to inform you that the particular issue will be addressed in our next public refresh – as a result we will be closing this feedback.
    Best wishes,
    Windows Server Team

    please comment below, to indicate if you'd also like screenshots


    Step-by-step, detailed walk-through.

    See also

    How to make Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials client connector install behave just like Windows Home Server
    DEC 11 2013