Microsoft has removed the essential experience roles from all versions of SKUs in Windows server 2016, Windows Server 2019 and Windows server 2022.
Early in 2018, Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2019 Essentials would not include the Essentials Experience role. The Essentials Experience primarily simplified file sharing and device management. For a better management experience, we now have Windows Admin Center.
The above image from Microsoft doc confirms that the Windows Server Essentials Experience Role has been removed from all SKUs, including Windows Server 2019 Essentials. By referring to all server SKUs.
Has Microsoft also started deprecating Essential Experience Roles for Windows Server 2016 or Windows server 2012 SKUs? Since the page is about Windows server 2019, we are unsure. Check out this article for detailed information.
Windows Server Essential Experience is Deprecated on Windows server 2016?
I have a Microsoft Azure subscription, so I planned to test Windows Server Essentials Experience features on Microsoft Azure VMs.
Create a New VM with Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
I created one VM with Windows server 2016 and started to install and configure the Essential Experience Role on it.
The installation of the Essential Experience Role was successful; the server was rebooted after I was asked to configure the Essential Experience Role and the configuration of the Essential Experience Role was also successful.
Integration to Microsoft Azure failed on Windows Server 2016 Essential Dashboard
Essential Experience Role has many features, but Integration to Azure and Office 365 is one the best features to keep the user sign-in details familiar.
But When I click the button Register to Microsoft Azure. The new window opened; I followed the screen’s instructions, but it repeatedly showed the error. There was an issue configuring the integration at the end of the configuration.
I googled for the error, but all the error descriptions and solutions refer to Windows Server 2012, not Windows Server 2016.
I followed many troubleshooting steps, but none of them was helpful. When I close the Registry Microsoft Azure window and go to the service section in the dashboard, the Microsoft Cloud Services Integration keeps loading for many hours without stopping.
So, in the end, I thought maybe the Microsoft Azure Image I used could be corrupted.
Creating Another New VM in Microsoft Azure
So, I created another two VMs in Microsoft Azure with Windows server 2016 datacenter and configured the domain on both of the VMs.
Ultimately, both VMs showed the same error and behaviour while integrating into Microsoft Azure.
Configuring the Windows Server Essentials Service on On-Premises Server
Further, I downloaded the latest Windows Server 2016 Standard version of the image to confirm the integration issue and installed it using the virtual box.
I successfully installed the Windows Server 2016 OS, dconfigured the domain, and configured the Essential Experience Role on the server.
But during the integration to Microsoft Azure, I found the same error and behaviour as in Azure VMs. I got stuck with the error. There was an issue configuring the integration error repeatedly.
I confirm the following information on Windows Essential Experience Role Integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory, As of 14th October 2021.
- Windows Server Essentials Experience Role works fine on Windows Server 2012 R2 for all SKUs.
- Some Windows Server Essentials Experience Role features are not working on Windows Server 2016, like Integration to Azure and Office 365.
- Some Windows Server Essentials Experience Role features are not working on Windows Server 2019, like Integration to Azure and Office 365.
- As confirmed, Windows Server Essentials Experience is unavailable for Windows Server 2022.
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