Installing a Second Server : SBS 2011 Essentials & Premium Add on Server

SBS Essentials LogoIt seems like a lot of businesses are bringing a second server online lately, perhaps discovering the benefits a Terminal Server (or Remote Desktop Services Server or even Multipoint) can bring, or maybe it is a Server that will run SQL for an LOB application. Personally i prefer to keep the SBS free of Apps if possible, especially accounts programs.

The SBS PAO (Premium Add on) Is a great way to get that second server and SQL license, but it may not be the most cost effective route to get what you want, so make sure you do your research before purchasing.

That’s my little marketing pledge done, now on to the technical stuff.

If you are familiar with installing SBS and general networking, likely you know already how to add a second server to an SBS Standard network, but what about essentials?

    • Do you try to install the connector?
    • Do you use the traditional ‘Computer Name’ tab in System Properties?
    • Does it show up in the Dashboard?
    • Does it get backed up?

Connector or Not Connector that is the question!

Firstly you need to ask what OS is your server. Is it Server 2008, 2008 R2 or maybe an older 2003?

The connector software will install on Server 2008 R2 Standard, IF you are running SP1, and also if your Server is NOT a Domain Controller.

If you are not running SP1 you will see this message if you attempt to install the Connector software.

SBS Essentials Connect Error

If you want to know which OS’s and Versions are supported, check out the ‘supportedOS’  XML file on your essentials box.

You will find that file in this directory

C:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin\WebApps\Client\Package\

supported OS XML pathsupportedOS XML File

If you want to know what version of Windows you are running, you can type this command into an Elevated command prompt:

systeminfo | findstr /B /C:”OS Name” /C:”OS Version”

Check OS VersionCheck OS Version

Assuming you meet the requirements you will be presented with a warning about Supported Client OS’s and you can click on ‘Continue Anyway’ to continue the installation.

SBS Essentials Connect Warning

You may want to note that it is not possible to install the connect when logged on using Remote Desktop. Also the same problems affecting install on Client OS’s can strike on a Server install. Plenty of resources out there for those, but my post is where i will point you.

Now for my disclaimer.

Adding the connector is not supported. You get a big warning to the same effect. If you do decide to install the connector it is at your own risk, i am not going to be held responsible for anything, whether it works or doesn’t work, whether it works some of the time and whether it makes you look silly. By reading this disclaimer in your head or out loud you have waived any legal responsibility on my part in perpetuity throughout the universe.


Is it in the Dashboard?

Yes. If you install the connector then it will indeed show up in the dashboard.

SBS Essentials Dashboard

Does it get backed up?

The short answer? Yes it does.

It does appear that the SBS Essentials ‘Client Backup’ will backup the server OS.

However, i have to stress this is not supported, and because of that there is no guarantee from anyone, Not me, Not Microsoft that you could successfully restore your server from that backup.

The SBSE client backup does not contain ‘agents’ for the Server OS or any applications you may be running on it, like SQL, so a backup with the SBSE client backup cannot be trusted, or guaranteed.

If you are going to have the Server show up in the dashboard, i recommend you disable the SBSE backup, and instead rely on your own backup strategy for the Server, but i am not discussing that in this post.

You can disable the backup from the dashboard, by clicking ‘Customise Client Backup for the computer’ and clicking disable backup.

You may also want to disable the launch pad.

RDP Server running LaunchpadThe launch pad runs, or at least seems to run, perfectly well on the server. I set my test server up as a RDS (TS / Terminal Server) and logged into with two separate accounts, and the Launchpad ran fine for both. The only thing i didn’t like was that a helpful or considerate user may want to poke around the backup settings, and that could be bad, so to remove temptation, my advice would be disable it.

    Likely as not you wont need the Launchpad on that server anyway.
    You can disable the Launchpad through the registry, or via MSCONFIG.

Multipoint Server

All of the above is subject to one exception. Windows Multipoint Server 2011. (WMS)

This Server OS, is supported for use with Essentials, can handle the Connector install, and perhaps most importantly, is also supported to be used with the SBSE Client backup.

If you haven’t heard of, seen, or used WMS, then get yourself along to the SMB MVP Community Road Show and see it in action.

Useful links for Multipoint


About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

7 Responses to Installing a Second Server : SBS 2011 Essentials & Premium Add on Server

  1. Interesting article. Look forward to going thorugh it in more detail.

  2. Tim T says:

    Is it possible to install the premium add-on to a server that already has Essentials installed?

    • Is it possible to install the premium add-on to a server that already has Essentials installed?

      The PAO consists of two parts. Server 2008 R2 Standard. And SQL 2008 For Small Business.

      As i understand it, you can install SQL on to SBS Essentials if you want to.

      However if you have the PAO you would be better of installing that Second server, and installing SQL onto that.

      Can you clarify what you actually want to do?

  3. Jason says:

    I have the same question. My SBS Essentials server is already in use, and I just bought PAO. I only bought it for the RDS feature (I have the RDS CALs as well). I don’t have a second physical server. How do I go about doing this?

    • I would backup the Essentials Server, then use a P2V tool like Disk2VHD (sysinternals) to make a VHD of your Essentials server.

      Format and reinstall the physical server using the 2008 R2 media you received with the PAO. Enable the HyperV role.

      Configure 2 Virtual Machines, one for Essentials and one for your PAO Server.

      You can then use the VHD you just created to boot your Essentials server. Then you can boot the PAO server and install 2008 R2 on to that for your RDS Server.

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