Windows Server Essentials Experience Role has been deprecated

Microsoft has removed essential experience role from all version of SKUs in Windows server 2016, Windows server 2019 and Windows server 2022.

Early in 2018 Microsoft made an official announcement saying, Windows Server 2019 Essentials will 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.

Above image from Microsoft doc confirm that, the Windows Server Essentials Experience Role has been removed from all SKUs, including Windows Server 2019 Essentials. By referring to all server SKUs.

But since, the page is about Windows server 2019, we are not sure. Is Microsoft has started deprecating Essential Experience Role for Windows for Windows Server 2016 or Windows server 2012 SKUs also? check out this article for the 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 Essential Experience Role was successful, the server was rebooted, after I was asked to configure the Essential Experience Role and the configuration of 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 common.

But When I click the button Register to Microsoft Azure. A new windows got open, I followed the instruction on the screen but I was repeatedly showing the error There was an issue configuring the integration at the end of the configuration.

I googled for the error but all of the error description and solution is referring to Windows Server 2012 version not Windows Server 2016 version.

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, Where the Microsoft Cloud Services Integration is keep loading for many hours without stop.

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 the another two VMs in Microsoft Azure with Windows server 2016 datacenter and started to configure the domain on the both of the VMs.

In the end, both of the VMs was showing the same error and behavior while integrating to Microsoft Azure.

Configuring the Windows Server Essentials Service on On-Premises Server

Further more to confirm the integration issue, I download the latest Windows Server 2016 Standard version of the image and installed it using the virtual box.

I installed the Windows Server 2016 OS, configure the domain and configure the Essential Experience Role on the server successfully.

But during the integration to Microsoft Azure I found the same error and behavior as I found in Azure VMs. I got stuck with the error There was an issue configuring the integration error again and again.

Conclusion:

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 is working fine on Windows Server 2012 R2 all SKUs.
  • Some features of Windows Server Essentials  Experience Role is not working on Windows Server 2016 like Integration to Azure and Office 365.
  • Some features of Windows Server Essentials  Experience Role is not working on Windows Server 2019 like Integration to Azure and Office 365.
  • As already confirmed Windows Server Essentials Experience is not available for Windows Server 2022.

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