Download Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate (RC)

Microsoft has reached another important milestone on the road to the final release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate (RC) now available now for download and evaluation."We are now turning our sights towards the Windows Server 2012 Essentials release to manufacturing (RTM). Our goal has been to release Windows Server 2012 Essentials to manufacturing […]

Microsoft has reached another important milestone on the road to the final release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate (RC) now available now for download and evaluation.

"We are now turning our sights towards the Windows Server 2012 Essentials release to manufacturing (RTM). Our goal has been to release Windows Server 2012 Essentials to manufacturing and make it generally available by the end of 2012, and we remain committed to this target," the SBS team stated.

In addition, Microsoft also announced that in the next few weeks, it is going to release some additional software that works with the RC release and includes:

  • Windows 8 companion app "not only makes it easy to access files and folders on the server, but also supports offline access." "Customers will be able to access Windows Server 2012 Essentials through a number of different client apps: a Remote Web Access web browser, our Windows Phone 7 app, and the brand new Windows 8 companion app," informs the SBs team.
  • Windows Phone app for Windows Server 2012 Essentials now allows customers to access files and folders on the server.

Some major changes in the RC include:

  • Increased support for importing SSL certificates. "Previously, customers had to do a lot of work to configure domains obtained in domain wizard by using SSL certificates that were acquired outside of the domain wizard. Now, with updated wizard, this process is much simpler," explains the SBS team.
  • Installation of only critical setup updates during setup. "This might not seem to be a big issue if you only occasionally install Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but to partners that install Windows Server 2012 Essentials often, this change will make setup faster and more predictable," the team writes.

    Note that customers will continue to select the update strategy that they want to use after the server has been set up.
  • Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) rules update now include the latest set of rules and have also made it possible to ignore specific BPA rules by using our UI.
  • Import of existing Office 365 users into Windows Server 2012 Essentials is now much easier.
  • Verified DHCP and setting a static IP address support turned on for Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

Download, if you haven't already started exploring the product yet, this new pre-release version at Download Center.