WSEE in Existing Domain


Okay few questions

I know you can add WSEE to a domain as a member server…

Does it matter when?

If it’s an established existing domain?

Or does it need to be a virgin domain?

Does the Domain Controller also need WSEE, or can it be a plain Jane Windows Standard DC?

Finally… One very specific use case I have not seen documented at all. That I would like to accomplish, but am VERY apprehensive about.

Predicated that you CAN join WSEE to an established existing domain:

I have a domain, currently residing on a single Windows Server 2019 Standard Domain Controller.

However the Domain was Migrated from Windows Small Business Server Standard 2011.

All the AD rolls were migrated gracefully and properly; Exchange was removed gracefully and properly.

Server and Domain are Solid and Stable.

Can WSEE be safely introduced? Are there any potential “Got-ya’s”? What would the process look like?

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Best Answer

Yes, WSEE can indeed be joined as a member server to an existing AD DC at any time (existing or virgin).

WSEE does not need to be (and should NOT be) also installed on the DC when going the member server route. Rather, the DC should, as you’ve said, just be a plain Jane Windows Standard AD DC.

Basically, you stand up a brand new/clean server instance that’s running Windows Server 2016, 2019, or 2022 Standard, and then you natively join it to your existing AD DC as a member server.

After doing that, you then install the Windows Server Essentials Experience (WSEE) server role on it using the Server Manager (if it’s Windows Server 2016 Standard), or via the WSEE Installer (if it’s Windows Server 2019/2022 Standard).

After WSEE has been successfully installed on the server, you will then need to run the “Configure Windows Server Essentials” wizard. When the wizard starts up, it should recognize that the server is already natively joined to the domain, as a member server, and offer to configure Essentials on the server accordingly. Do NOT proceed with the wizard if it doesn’t happen to recognize that the server is already domain joined for whatever reason (otherwise you’ll end up with two primary AD DCs).

As for your last question… I don’t foresee any issues (or “Got-ya’s”) there seeing as the old SBS 2011 domain should have already been upgraded to support the newer domain structure required (via the use of adprep.exe /forestprep and adprep.exe /domainprep) when you successfully migrated it up to Windows Server 2019. That being said… You should make sure that you have a working backup of your existing domain controller before proceeding just in case (i.e. as a safety fallback measure).

Best of luck!

  • Tom
    In this scenario: Where you have a basic Windows Domain controller. Plus, a Second server with WSEE installed. What server would it be best to install the AD Certificate Services Roll / Certification Authority?
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