Welcome to the third part of our guide to installing Windows Server 2016 Essentials . If you’ve missed the first two parts of the series, be sure to catch up!

It took a while, but we finally have the server operating system installed and initial configuration completed.  We now need to fire up the server Dashboard to configure and customize the system for our specific needs. In this part of the series, we’ll take a guided tour of the Windows Server 2016 Essentials Dashboard Setup page.

The Dashboard is an administration console, which simplifies most of the tasks needed to manage your Windows Server 2016 Essentials network and server. From the Dashboard, you can perform a variety of tasks which include:

  • Finish setting up your server
  • Perform common administrative tasks
  • View server alerts and act on them
  • Set up and change server settings
  • Access or search for Help topics on the Web
  • Access Community resources on the Web
  • Manage user accounts
  • Manage computers and mobile devices as well as backups
  • Manage access and settings for server folders and hard drives
  • Configure remote access to your server network
  • View and manage add-in applications
  • View and manage integrated cloud services such as Office 365, Microsoft Intune and Windows Azure

You can open the Dashboard from either the desktop or Windows Start menu.

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The Windows Server 2016 desktop, with Dashboard icon at top-left.

Before we actually get to the Dashboard, one simple task before going further is to take a peek at the taskbar in the lower right corner of the desktop and click on the speech icon.

This walkthrough is part of our 625 page guide to Windows Server 2016 Essentials. Pick up a copy today!


This is the new-style Windows Action Center, which lets you know of any issues it may find with the operating system and installed programs.  When clicked, a sidebar panel  open with a list of messages and potential issues to resolve. My Action Center is clean right now, but it’s worth a quick check. Note that the taskbar icon will be updated with a number if any messages are waiting for you.

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Moving on to the Dashboard, once opened you will notice a series of setup tasks for you to complete.

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Setup tasks in the Dashboard.

Let’s go down this list one by one and perform the necessary tasks to fully configure and prepare your server for deployment in your organization.

Get updates for other Microsoft products

First up on the list is configuring operating system and “other” product updates.

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Configuring updates.

This one is a no-brainer.  Clicking the option to Change Microsoft update settings allows you to configure the type of updates your server will receive. Make sure that the Use Microsoft Update option is enabled:

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and click OK to finish this very simple task.  The result is the Green “completed” check-mark as indicated in the following screen.

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First task completed!

That was the easy one!  Not that the other setup tasks are difficult; this is just fast and easy.