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The 10 most popular Windows Server admin tips of 2015

Microsoft released three Windows Server 2016 technical previews in 2015, and our readers couldn't wait to learn what to expect from the upcoming version of the OS.

After making the first technical preview for Windows Server 2016 available in October 2014, Microsoft released three technical previews for the new server operating system this year, with the most recent one released in November.

With Windows Server 2016 due out next year, our readers were curious about any changes coming with this next version, which is expected to launch officially in the second half of 2016. After looking at the analytics on our site, we've collected the top 10 Windows Server admin tips based on what drew the most attention.

IT professionals also wanted to learn which free tools could help monitor and manage Windows Server. But it wasn't all Windows Server 2016; as Linux gains in popularity, we found plenty of traffic funneling toward a guide geared to help the Windows Server admin learn how to handle Linux.

10. Free tools to monitor Windows Server

When the native applications aren't enough, there are many third-party tools administrators can use to check their server performance and health. Nagios, for example, monitors the performances of services, such as IIS and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

9. Working with the Sysinternals utilities

The Windows Sysinternals tools are a collection of utilities that can help the Windows Server admin manage and troubleshoot their data center environment. One of these utilities, dubbed Disk2vhd, allows admins to convert an OS image from disk into a virtual hard drive, while the MoveFile tool schedules file rename and delete commands for the next reboot.

8. A first look at Group Policy in Windows Server 2016

Admins will be happy to find the structure of Group Policy won't change much in Windows Server 2016. But to ensure that customers deploy servers with a smaller footprint, the preferred deployment method lacks a GUI -- although this can be changed if backward compatibility is required.

7. How to move files with a PowerShell FTP script

Admins can take advantage of the .NET capabilities in Windows to move files with a PowerShell FTP script, including steps that create a Web Client object and pass along the credentials to access the FTP server.

6. Five books all Windows administrators should read

There are hundreds of books on managing Windows, but finding the ones that are worth reading can be difficult. These five books aren't strictly for managing Windows environments and include one book that shares fundamental insights to the administrator of networks and systems.

5. Manage NTFS permissions with this PowerShell module

The File System Security PowerShell Module can help administrators manage NTFS permissions to control user access to folders. This tip explains how to string together several commands to remove inherited permissions.

4. How to get started with Linux administration

Linux has slowly crept its way into more enterprises, meaning many Windows administrators will need to learn how to manage the open source operating system. For administrators new to Linux, get started with the terminology and the commands used to check running processes.

3. Hyper-V Server is cost-effective, but is it worth implementing?

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is a cost-effective option for budget-conscious shops, but it does come with limitations. The free product lacks official Microsoft support outside of the TechNet forums, but using it can cut licensing costs for organizations that need to watch every dollar.

2. Five questions to expect during a Windows administrator job interview

Candidates for a Windows administrator position should come prepared to talk not only about their experience managing IT environments, but about what additional expertise they can bring to the position, such as experience with Hyper-V or compliance regulations.

1. New Hyper-V features in Windows Server 2016

Microsoft has been tweaking Hyper-V with each ensuing technical preview of the Windows Server 2016. The upcoming version of Hyper-V promises improvements in storage resiliency, which includes the ability to detect a loss of connectivity to VM storage. PowerShell Direct also allows admins to copy files into a VM -- even without network connectivity.

Next Steps

Five popular Windows Server tips for admins

How to land a hot Windows admin job

Valuable security resources for Windows administrators

This was last published in December 2015

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