How to Use Windows Admin Center

Datacenter networking servers

In this article, I will demonstrate how to use Windows Admin Center (WAC) to remotely manage your servers. If you haven’t already, check out my article on how to download and install Windows Admin Center before starting with the tutorial below.

How to Use Windows Admin Center

When you launch Windows Admin Center, you’ll see something similar to this screen.

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The Windows Admin Center ‘homepage’

If you were installing this from scratch, the only difference is that you wouldn’t see any connections…yet.  Click the ‘+ Add‘ button and you’ll see this:

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Next, click the ‘Add‘ button under Servers. Start typing in the name of the server and WAC should ‘find’ it for you. Check the ‘Add the server name exactly as entered‘ checkbox if you are OK with how the object will look.

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Adding a new server to Windows Admin Center

In addition to adding servers one at a time, you can also import from a .txt or .csv file, or search your Active Directory. I typed in my server name, it found it, and I clicked Add. The server now shows up on my list of connections. Let’s click on it and see what we get. (At the first login per session, it will ask for credentials to gain access to the server). You can also control access to Windows Admin Center using role-based access control (RBAC).

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Viewing the Overview tool for our newly managed server

Look at all that info on one screen. This is a Hyper-V VM, but if it were physical, Windows Admin Center would also show you the URL/hyperlink for an iDrac or CIMC web-based remote access page, very handy. This ‘Overview’ page alone shows you info from the About page on My Computer, Task Manager performance info, the Windows build number, Up Time, computer name, domain, Azure backup status, disk space. Slick. If you click ‘Enable disk metrics‘, it will start to gather all local disk performance info for you. Bear in mind, this will cause a slight performance hit on said I/O. You can even Restart or Shutdown the server right from this dashboard.

Using Tags on your Servers

To help categorize and organize your managed resources including servers, virtual machines, etc. you can use Tags to label each item. Let me show you.

On the homepage, I will select ‘ws16-dc1.reinders.local‘ and then click ‘Edit Tags‘.

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Adding a Tag to a Server

I type in ‘Domain Controller‘ and click Save. I also added a few other Tags and added them to appropriate servers. Nice. This is especially helpful if you have ‘an interesting server naming scheme’ and would like an easier way to find all of your SQL Servers.

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List of Servers with Tags

Windows Admin Center Modules

Let’s use this domain controller to show you some of the most popular Tools available in Windows Admin Center.

Devices (Device Manager)

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The ‘Devices’ tool – Device Manager

The Devices tool lists the devices on the server and lets you disable them, update drivers, and even drill down into the details of each device. On the Hyper-V network adapter above, it shows you some juicy technical bits including if it’s in a Connected state, if there are any problems with the device, and when it was installed (the device driver).

Events (Event Viewer)

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The Events tool – Event Viewer

The Events tool allows you to do almost everything you could do in Event Viewer (MMC). Here I have selected the System log, selected an event, and the Details appear in the pane below.

You can also export the log simply by clicking the ‘Export‘ button above. Very easy.

Files & file sharing

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Using the Files & file sharing tool to browse the server’s C: drive filesystem

The Files tool lets you browse the local filesystem volumes/partitions on the server. You can create new folders, create new files, Upload and Download files, and even Extract from compressed files like .ZIP. Very handy when you don’t need to Remote Desktop (RDP) to the server to grab some files…

Quick Tip: If you hover over each module on the left, you can click the ‘open in new window‘ icon and have several different tools on screen, and on different monitors if you wish. Below I have the Overview, Installed Apps, and Firewall tools all visible.

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Multiple Tools in multiple Windows for efficiency


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The Networks tool lets you view many details on each of the NICs in your server

The Networks tool lets you browse the network interface cards (NICs) in your server and view many details of each. Here we can see the IP Addresses, DNS Servers, connection Status (Up), MAC Address, link speed, and much more. When you click Settings above, you can alter the IPv4 and IPv6 settings right from WAC.

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Modifying the Ethernet settings in Networks

Performance Monitor

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Using Performance Monitor to examine Processor details and realtime information

The Performance Monitor tool is one of the newer modules utilizing the new ‘Workspace’ function in Windows Admin Center. In the screenshot above, I added a Counter and chose ‘Processor‘ from the dropdown Object list. I kept the defaults for the remaining options. It is amazing how far we’ve come thinking about how Performance Monitor looked in Windows Server 2003 back in the day.

PowerShell (Yes, you can run a remote PowerShell console right from WAC)

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Using the PowerShell tool to open a remote PowerShell session

The PowerShell tool is particularly helpful. Instead of logging into your server to check a few things, you can open a remote PowerShell session right in the console. And remember, you can open this as a separate window in WAC and put it on your 2nd (or 3rd) monitor for more efficiency.

Processes (from Task Manager)

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The Processes tool shows you similar information from Task Manager’s Processes tab

Let’s suppose you get a report of a specific domain controller being slow or unresponsive. Instead of logging into it, you can open the Processes tool from Windows Admin Center to get real-time information on all the processes running on the server to troubleshoot.

Registry (Registry Editor)

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Using the Registry tool to view contents of keys in your server’s Registry

The Registry tool lets you access the Registry on your server, modify values, and even add new keys or subkeys. A wonderful time saver.

Remote Desktop

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Yes, you can use Remote Desktop to ‘remote desktop’ to your server 🙂

This might be the most self-explanatory, but choosing the Remote Desktop tool opens a new RDP connection to your server. And as you can see, not too many surprises. It works just as you would expect it to. Using it in a separate window is always helpful.

Roles & Features

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Using the Roles & features tool to add the ‘DHCP Server’ role…

The Roles & features tool lets you view all of the installed roles and features on your server, Install available ones and Uninstall ‘Installed’ ones if you choose. Above, I started the Install of the ‘DHCP Server‘ role…


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We can use the Services tool to browse all Windows Services, start/stop them, and adjust their startup settings

The Services tool shows us the Windows Services – their Name, Display Name, Status (Started/Stopped, etc.), and Startup Mode (Automatic, Manual, Disabled). We can select a service and click Settings to adjust its startup settings including login information.

Update (Windows Update)

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Updates lets you manage patching for your managed Servers

The Updates tool shows you what patches and updates are available for your managed server. You can select individual patches (yes!) to install or uninstall. Besides clicking Settings to adjust your server’s Update settings (above), you can also schedule your server’s restart after patches are successful.

There is a nice variety of options using Windows Admin Center that you don’t necessarily get with the local ‘Windows Update’ Settings tool in the Windows Server GUI.


I just scratched the surface to give you an overview of what Windows Admin Center offers IT Pros and administrators. Each module is interactive and allows the server administrator to handle ALL aspects of managing their servers. From adding the ‘Active Directory Domain Services’ role in Roles & Features to monitoring Memory and CPU metrics with Performance Monitor and restarting a Windows service in Services, everything is at your fingertips in one plane of glass. Launching several tools in separate windows is a great boon to your productivity.

I used Windows Admin Center over the past few years to upgrade my domain controllers to Windows Server 2022 in my Hyper-V AD lab environment. As soon as Windows Server 2025 is generally available later this year, I’ll offer posts on upgrading my DCs to the latest release using Windows Admin Center to validate prerequisites.

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment or question below if you liked what you saw or have a question for me.