Configuring Windows Server 2016 Standard with the Essentials Role


When planning out your network, you may decide that the features of Windows Server Essentials are a great fit for your business, but you exceed the 25 user limit in the normal software. With the use of a Windows Server Standard license, we can install the Essentials role to give you the same features, but supporting up to 75 users (assuming you’re using the Office 365 Connector). In this guide, I will show you how to install the Windows Server Essentials role on top of Windows Server 2016 Standard.


  • A clean installation of Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2016 Standard (This guide will apply to both).
  • Configured the Hostname, Time Zone, and a Static IP Address to the server.

Installation Instructions:

  1. Log into the target server as the local administrator. You can either enable remote desktop, or use the console to log into the server.
  2. Open the Server Manager Window Server Manager Icon Windows Server
  3. In the Dashboard, choose Add roles and features
  4. Click Next on the Before you begin page of the wizard

    Add Roles - Before you begin

  5. on the Select Installation Type screen, choose Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.

    Add Roles - Select Installation Type

  6. Ensure that your server is selected and click Next on the Select destination server screen.

    Add Roles - Select Destination Server

  7. Locate and select Windows Server Essentials Experience on the Select Server Roles window. Click Add Features on the prompt.

    Add Roles - Add Server Roles

    Add Roles - Features Popup

  8. On the Select Features window, click Next. Optionally, you can install any addition features such as the Telnet Client if you would like.

    Add Roles - Select Features

  9. Click Next  on the Windows Server Essentials Experience screen.
  10. Finally, Click Install on the Confirm installation selections screen.

    Add Roles - Installation Progress


Post Installation Role Configuration:

Now that the installation is finished, we will need to configure the Essentials Experience Role.

  1. In the Server Manager, locate the Notifications Button Action Required Server Manager Server 2016 in the top right hand side of the window, then choose Configure Windows Server Essentials.

    Configure Windows Server Essentials

  2. Click Next on the Configure Windows Server Essentials screen
  3. Enter your Company Name and either accept the generated domain name, or enter your own. Click Next.

    Configure - Company Information

  4. Enter an Administrator account name and a password for the account, then click Configure.

    Configure - Create a network administrator account


The wizard will now configure the server with the information provided. If the process fails, review this article and try again.


Once the server has restarted, log back into the server using the administrator account you created.

You can now open the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard and continue configuring your environment.

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