Windows Server 2016 Essentials in Workgroup

Hi,

Can anyone please advise if I can install and use Windows Server 2016 Essentials in a Workgroup basically as a workstation rather than as a DC & without FSMO roles?  

I simply want to use a Dell T30 server running RAID-1 to run a Progress Database and the system "might" be isolated on a separate network but also could be introduced to a corporate LAN later where they have a DC already at a later stage.

I just want to keep things simple and keep the system in a workgroup.

Possible?

Thanks
WayneInUK
wayneinukAsked:
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yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
If you are planning to run this as a DC and it is the only DC you have to have all FSMO roles. It is not possible to do this any other way.

As a workgroup setup you will find that management of your network will become difficult.

Option 1
So if you are planning to eventually introduce his server to production why not add it from the get-go. It should not have any effect on your network.  

Option 2
Build it as an isolated workgroup and document all steps for a future rebuild in production.
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Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
Why Essentials ?? Price ?
Standard edition with build in 5 call would be much better for you. Essentials has a lot of functions that you not going to use in Workgroup, so what is the point ?

Yes you can use it, just don;t create Domain, but remember you not going to be able join this server to any existed  domain.
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wayneinukAuthor Commented:
Hi yo_bee,

Initially the system will be isolated on a customer site, the server only has one role which is to collect data from a device connected to an RS485 port (internal card) and records certain data values in the Progress database - this is only ever going to be its role, no users other than the local admin for maintenance.  Even if it gets put onto the clients corporate LAN at a later date it will never be allowed to be part to the client domain and in fact for us in terms of the software it runs it is better only ever in the workgroup.

I've built the system but it is now expecting to be either added to a domain or I'm expected to create a new domain using the WSE wizard, this pops up each reboot.

I've read a few threads saying that WSE 2016 "has" to be added to a domain or a new domain created or the server will shut down - is this true?

What else would I need to do to just keep it in a workgroup as it is now?

Thanks
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oBdACommented:
No. Still the same as it has always been with SBS. Essentials must be a DC, must own all FSMO roles, and does not support trusts with other domains.
Buy a Standard license. Yes, it's more expensive. Guess why the cheaper version is restricted ...

Install and Configure Windows Server Essentials or Windows Server Essentials Experience
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/install/install-and-configure-windows-server-essentials-or-windows-server-essentials-experience
- Must be the domain controller at the root of the forest and domain, and must hold all the FSMO roles.
- Cannot be installed in an environment with a pre-existing Active Directory domain (however, there is a grace period of 21 days for performing migrations).
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wayneinukAuthor Commented:
Hi Tom,

Basically we need a physical server for these sites because generally the builds are better than standard PC's.  We used to use the Lenovo TS140 machines and install Windows 7 Pro since that's all Progress Personal Edition requires to do the job we are expecting it to do however the TS140 went end of line and any other decent server I've looked at around the TS140 price requires a server OS, I chose WSE because it is cheaper than Standard & I'm not bothered about using any other facilities - the system just sits taking readings and storing the readings in the DB for the next 3 - 4 years until replaced.

Thanks
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wayneinukAuthor Commented:
Hi oBdA,

I don't want to add it to an existing domain or create a new - just want to run in a workgroup - this okay?

Thanks
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oBdACommented:
No. As I said: Essentials must be a Domain Controller. No ifs, ands, or buts.
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wayneinukAuthor Commented:
Hi oBdA,

I've read so many conflicting views including this one & people are saying that it must be a DC to use all the out of the box functions which I can fully understand, I don't need any of them though.

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/a4c9681e-7384-4ff9-bd0f-9c8b9937ef1e/wse2016-just-as-a-member-of-a-workgroup?forum=winserveressentials

Thanks
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oBdACommented:
Doesn't matter if you need them or not. Essentials must be a Domain Controller, full stop.
Any workarounds you might find on the web will violate the license agreement.
And don't confuse the "Windows Server Essentials" OS edition with the "Windows Server Essentials Experience" available in Standard and Datacenter.
Microsoft sells it cheaper because it comes for one single, very specific, usage scenario: "Entry level" Domain Controller for a small environment. That's exactly it. Nothing more, nothing less. Anything else (including your case), you need a Standard or Datacenter license.
The Essentials license is in place to prevent exactly that kind of usage you're planning.
So don't start selling your clients unlicensed operating systems. It's not going to be well received during an audit.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Just because the computer is marketed as a SERVER doesn't mean you have to install a Server Operating System on it.  Windows 10 Pro will probably suffice unless you need the connectivity (connection count) of a Server OS
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Again,

Essentials *MUST* be a domain controller - a FSMO master domain controller.  And to run STABLE, you need to set it up with the wizards and continue using the wizards.  

If that's not what you want to do, you bought the wrong product and should have researched it first.  If you want a server in a workgroup, buy Standard edition which can be in a workgroup.  AND you'll need to buy CALs.

There's no legal way around it. Sorry.
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wayneinukAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all.

I installed Windows 10 Pro 64 on the T30 and got all drivers working apart from the Intel I219-LM which simply refuses to be identified despite installing the I219-LM drivers from the Intel site - https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25016/Intel-Network-Adapter-Driver-for-Windows-10?product=36773

Looks like in this instance I might have to install another NIC just to just the system out and working.
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.

I have recommended this question be closed as follows:

Split:
-- oBdA (https:#a42381507)
-- oBdA (https:#a42381431)
-- Lee W MVP (https:#a42381605)
-- David Johnson CD MVP (https:#a42381553)


If you feel this question should be closed differently, post an objection and the moderators will review all objections and close it as they feel fit. If no one objects, this question will be closed automatically the way described above.

Pber
Experts-Exchange Cleanup Volunteer
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Jerry TaylorCommented:
you can have WSE-2016 in a workgroup if you prefer over a domain.   this works  for WSE 2012/2012r2/2016

after a clean install,  go to

regedit -

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Run

remove the  Key,   Reboot ...

after it reboots,  go to server manager  remove rolls and features wizard, and uncheck WSE Experience

after completed, reboot.

continue to set up as a workgroup :)

We do this all the time for customers who have software that  needs to be loaded on a server that's a part of a workgroup and not a domain.

originally posted by Reece5646 on MS Technet
I personally have done this on my WSE 2016 for 6 months and no problems at all
and also, this is completely reversible without reinstalling, by adding the registry key that was deleted and checking the wse rolls in wizard (done this too)
BUT once WSE rolls is installed, it can not be uninstalled and can only be formatted and reinstalled to get WSE in workgroup mode

[*** DELETED BY LeeW - Windows Server Essentials MUST be setup in a domain - it's part of how it's licensed.  This constitutes hacking in my opinion ***]
[Additional reference: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/UseTerms/Retail/WindowsServer2016/Essentials/UseTerms_Retail_WindowsServer2016_Essentials_English.htm - section 2.b.ii
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Jerry TaylorCommented:
to explain better, there is NO AD DS installed if you follow the instructions above, therefore with no Active Directory installed there are NO terms and conditions broken..
section 2.b.ii of MS WSE terms of use do not apply as there is no domain to configure, its a workgroup
2.      USE RIGHTS
b.      Running Instances of the Server Software
ii.      You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured:
·        as the domain controller (a single server which contains all the flexible single master operations (FSMO) roles);
·        as the root of the domain forest;
·        not to be a child domain; and
·        to have no trust relationships with any other domains.

secondly, an alternative would be just do a clean install of WSE and dont configure ANY rolls and cancel the wizard or leave it in background forever unconfigured - the above instructions simply remove the nagging config message

basically you are making it the same as MS windows server 2011 and MS WHS with a NO domain or domain controller environment

this has been brought up with MS many times and is the only workaround for end users running NAS servers that are unable to configure their other machines on a domain.

there are many reason why you should not do this.. all of which include loss of amazingly rich features (and may as well just use windows 10 if not using active directory)
but there are no TOC's broken in any way shape of form
MS has decided to create this very version of Windows server 2016 (dumbed down) called Windows Storage Server 2016, however as of now it is only available as part of a new box package and not available through retail
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oBdACommented:
Jerry Taylor,
Pray tell, what makes you think that 2.b.ii does not apply? Or that your "alternative" would not violate the license agreement?
You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured:
This says very clearly that you are only allowed to use WSE in a domain, with the WSE OS itself running AD. Full stop. End of story. End of speculation.
Noticed the "must"? Not "may", "can", "are allowed to", or the like.
Note that this is a license agreement, not a description of what's technically possible.
If you see any loophole with that "must", you're going to have "to explain [even] better". After all, given that I know nothing about your background, it could well be that you're better informed than Microsoft's legal department.

The only exception would be 2.b.iii, when WSE is installed as a Hypervisor(!):

If you run both permitted instances at the same time, the instance of the server software running in the physical operating system environment may be used only to run hardware virtualization software or provide hardware virtualization services. The instance running hardware virtualization software or hardware virtualization services does not need to meet the requirements in (ii) above. The instance running hardware virtualization software or hardware virtualization services is the only such configuration that does not require the instance to be a domain controller.
Note the first sentence in 2.b.iii. So this will not help here, either, because the author (and usually anybody else buying WSE) will want more services of the OS than running it as Hypervisor (otherwise the WSE license would be wasted), namely, in this case, a Progress Database.
And have a look at section 5.e as well.
Microsoft made it abundantly clear in the past decades how SBS is to be used.
You would be laughed out of court with your argument, and, as soon as it comes to playing the blame game, wayneinuk (any anybody else) would very probably be out of a job if he followed your advice ("But a guy at EE told me it would be OK!" is no valid excuse for violating a license agreement). And that can happen sooner than you think.
You seem to be awfully generous with other people's jobs.
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Jerry TaylorCommented:
1,
By your definition, every person that installs server 2016 clean install and runs it without rolls is breaking TOC
note this is with windows server 2016 standard/datacentre
WSE is the only version that has nag message with wizard

2,
You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured: <-note the colon.. this means if ANY of the next bullet points are true than there is a violation.
you are correct, if Microsoft disallowed the use of wse from not using a domain or a domain controller (AD-DS) it would say this same line:
"You must run the server software within a domain" full stop.. no colon, with no following bullet lines outlining the "only if" rules, no other way to interpret this line
but it does not say that...
it clearly says:
You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured: then lists what you can not do IF AD-DS is configured

there is NO AD-DS running on a server that is clean installed, it has to be choosen in rules and setup

if not chosen then that entire line does not apply

it says:
You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured:
note the "Where" after domain.. this clearly says if running a domain and Active Directory.. but the way i outlined it is doing neither

a good example would be this line from the laws of the road
you must not drive your car within the states legal road system:
-car does not conform to emission/safety requirements for the state
-driver does not hold a valid drivers license
-car does not have a valid plate permit

you can not misquote the above by saying
"you must not drive your car" full stop

of course you can drive it, if the following bullet lines after the colon are met, then you can not drive it on the public roads

this is basic stuff and simply worded..

again if you were not allowed to install server OS without an active directory, domain or domain controllers it would say that

it says nothing about using it right out of the box without AD and DC, but if you want to use other parts of the OS software like connector/backup services, than you do indeed need to install it as stated in TOC
but not as a simple NAS

or it would say that line "You must run the server software within a domain" stop

edit:
note, when you do the procedure outlined by me, essentials roll is NOT installed and you can not run it
this is on purpose so that no one can inadvertently break any TOC.
once essentials roll within the server software is installed it must be in a directory, and can not without some serious hacking be circumvented

i think this is where the confusion is..
is it possible you were thinking this would make essentials dashboard work? because it will not work
in fact if you try to execute it, it shows not installed roll

windows essentials dashboard/rolls NEEDS to be on a domain with AD-DS installed to work, and to follow MS TOC

not installing it or any other software and only the basic windows server 2016 aloows you to run in workgroup, essentailly(pun) as a workstation with zero bells and whistles" and is perfect for the home user that only wants it to keep movies and pictures on it
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oBdACommented:
By your definition, every person that installs server 2016 clean install and runs it without rolls is breaking TOC
BS. This question is about Windows Server Essentials only from the very beginning.
And note that in https:#a42381507, I explicitly made the distinction between WSE, and Std/DC with the WSE role
The license agreement linked is that of Windows Server Essentials, not for Standard (with or without the WSE role), and not for Data Center (with or without the WSE role).

You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured: <-note the colon.. this means if ANY of the next bullet points are true than there is a violation.
Yeah, right. Sure. Dream on.
I can see the judge rolling on the floor laughing when you're trying to explain your unlicensed WSE with that.
The line clearly states that the server must be running AD, and the bullet points clearly detail how the WSE OS must be configured.

And talking about "misquote": if you're quoting traffic laws, provide a verbatim quote or a valid link, not something you scribbled down from memory.
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Jerry TaylorCommented:
oBdA,
you dont have to get so nasty with others
this was my first post on this site, i was simply trying to help out someone that needed help

you have attacked/trolled me for doing so

you are wrong sir..

here is the OP question:

Hi,

Can anyone please advise if I can install and use Windows Server 2016 Essentials in a Workgroup basically as a workstation rather than as a DC & without FSMO roles?  

I simply want to use a Dell T30 server running RAID-1 to run a Progress Database and the system "might" be isolated on a separate network but also could be introduced to a corporate LAN later where they have a DC already at a later stage.

I just want to keep things simple and keep the system in a workgroup.

Possible?

Thanks
WayneInUK

this is answered in post 2:
Yes you can use it, just don;t create Domain, but remember you not going to be able join this server to any existed  domain.

my initial reply was in concert with the second post answer showing you can remove the nag screen as well

---

you have inserted facts NOT in evidence into this thread and not helped

no where does it say if you dont install the rolls of essentials you are breaking TOC --- but you somehow figure that because its cheaper than std thats why you cant... thats rediculous and you can not show me anywhere that is the case..

its simple in the TOC... use this essential addon software you must use a domain and/or active directory

but if you dont use essentials addon to windows server 2016... your not forced to run it in a domain

please show me where what you say applies to the OP question???
you took this opportunity to jump in and spout useless info that doesnt apply and then when some tries to answer the original posters question you jump all over him with insults.. not cool

i dont think i can feel comfortable helping others on this stie, as i dont like being trolled that likes to make up rules for other companies that dont exist and chastise people that answer questions..

i didnt come here to get into a fight or get trolled.. i came to volunteer help someone in need
youve done your site and the community a disservice not only by spouting misinformation, but by attacking people that simply want to help others.

im sure there are others will join and try to help,, i hope you dont treat them the same or you will be very lonely
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Jerry TaylorCommented:
also.. what i stated will not circumvent essentials policy, because technically its not even installed, nor can it be installed WITHOUT ADDC.. so this is not a hack, this is not anything but not installing essentials as pointed out in post 2

such BS when people dont read

and to answer the original poster properly..
yes you can, and this is the only way you can legally have it work in a workgroup
MS explains this way too, but the second you install ANY essential  rolls all bets are off, you are breaking TOC by not having a domain, and you would need to learn some advance coding to do this.
but nothing i have said will allow you to do this
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If the edition purchased was Essentials, then that was what was purchased and the license agreement that applies.  Failing to activate essentials does not in some way turn it into a Standard license.  The only thing that can turn it into a standard license IS a standard license.
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Jerry TaylorCommented:
I'm breaking TOC in this screen shot if i just leave it as is? not configured?
https://prnt.sc/hxh0lh
this is a brand new install without any extra inputs done-besides entering serial key during install.. to be delivered to client as is

[Edited by leew]
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The problem with that is that the end user had to accept the EULA before reaching that point.  The EULA indicates you MUST continue setup and make it a DC since it must be a DC.  No workaround is permitted.  You don't get that far if you don't accept the EULA.  TECHNICALLY, as I understand the licensing process, you as the consultant are supposed to deliver the computer with the Out-of-box experience ready for the end user (which is what sysprep does,, though I have never run sysprep on an essentials system.

Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should or are entitled to.  You can buy Office Home and Student and write a proposal for a client... but doing so is violating the EULA since the EULA states it cannot be used for commercial purposes.  Track your budget, write a school report, etc, but don't try to make money with a Home and Student version.  Is there anything that stops you?  Not that I know of - but that doesn't mean it would then be ok.
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oBdACommented:
Jerry Taylor,
I'm "getting nasty", because even after multiple references in this thread indicating that WSE must be a DC, you insist on recommending a clear violation of the WSE EULA.
In doing so, you yourself violate EE's Terms of Use (https://www.experts-exchange.com/terms.jsp); they used to have a separate entry for that titled "About hacks, cracks and keys", explicitly referring to "defeating the licensing of software", but in the meantime seems to have been replaced with:
6.e. Planning illegal activities, including, but not limited to, creating computer viruses, building a bomb, counterfeiting money, pirating software or publishing unauthorized serial numbers of products for reuse.
Not only that, you are, as I said before, in an appalling generous way putting people's jobs on the line. The very people you claim you're trying to help.
Circumventing licensing restrictions is not "helping". It's illegal and an invitation for lawsuits.

I reiterate:
* Windows Server Essentials (formerly SBS) is a separate edition of Windows Server.
* Even though you keep dragging in the Standard and Datacenter editions, the WSE edition is the only software edition (and its licensing) that this question is about.
* Since its first release, SBS/WSE has always been restricted to what's already been discussed here: must be a DC, must be the Forest Root, must own all FSMO roles, no trusts. Google/DuckDuckGo/Whatever it yourself if you don't believe me.
* The important parts of the license agreement (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/UseTerms/Retail/WindowsServer2016/Essentials/UseTerms_Retail_WindowsServer2016_Essentials_English.htm), redux:
By using the software, you accept these terms.
Obviously, the software (WSE) will be used. By not configuring it as a DC, yet using it, you will be violating the following terms of the agreement:
ii. You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured:
· as the domain controller (a single server which contains all the flexible single master operations (FSMO) roles);

...
I don't see how anybody could construe from this the notion that by not configuring the AD, using the software would still be within the agreement.
You want it to be "You may run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured, but only if ^ the following points apply ...".
That is not what it says. It says (and this license agreement was written by a bunch of highly payed lawyers; you can assume they know what they were doing and that it will hold up in court): "You must run the server software within a domain where the server’s Active Directory is configured as the domain controller (a single server which contains all the flexible single master operations (FSMO) roles, and as the root of the domain forest, and not to be a child domain, and to have no trust relationships with any other domains."
The bullet list is obviously easier to read.
Or even shorter: "AD is mandatory in WSE, further restrictions apply."

If you insist on a traffic law comparison:
* By using a car on a public street, you agree to the traffic laws. By using the software, you accept the terms of the license agreement.
* Traffic laws state that you must be (reasonably) sober to drive a car. The license agreement states that the server's Active Directory must be configured.
* Can you drive a car drunk? Can you leave the server's Active Directory unconfigured?
--> Yes. Yes.
* Will you have violated the traffic laws by driving drunk? Will you have violated the license agreement by leaving the server's Active Directory unconfigured?
--> Yes. Yes.
Fines, additional costs, driver's license loss, job loss, and other legal consequences may apply.
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