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How can I receive and respond to server alerts?

System Health in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can trigger alerts via email. Here's how to enable them.

An IT administrator can access the Alert Viewer at any time and use the Refresh feature to get the current status of the system and infrastructure. However, a myriad of issues will trigger email reports to designated personnel. This helps to ensure that problems are recognized and corrected in the timeliest manner. To configure email recipients, access the Alert Viewer, click "Set up alert email notifications" and then click Enable when the dialog opens.

Locate the SMTP Settings dialog; it is possible to define an originating email address, the name of the sending (originating) SMTP server, the port number used by the SMTP server to send and receive email, and other options like SSL and authentication. Finally, enter email recipients to receive email alert notifications. Be sure to apply any changes and test for proper operation after making any changes.

Administrators typically have four options when responding to a System Health alert. They can resolve the alert, ignore it, enable it or delete it. For example, when an administrator reviews corrective recommendations and takes the steps needed to resolve a problem, it may indeed be resolved, but be sure to Refresh the Alert Viewer in order to clear the alert. When a noncritical alert occurs, administrators might opt to ignore the alert, which essentially disables that entry. To ignore a particular alert, open the Alert Viewer, select the alert and then click "Ignore the alert."

Once an alert entry is ignored, it must be re-enabled before it can be resolved. Simply reverse the steps used to ignore the alert and select "Enable the alert" instead. To remove an alert entirely so that it no longer appears at all, access the Alert Viewer, select the alert and then click "Delete the alert." Remember that deleting an alert is intended primarily as a housekeeping process -- if the alert is not corrected, it will re-appear in the next health check.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is not intended for enterprise-class data centers that are often better-served with more robust, sophisticated and automated systems management tools. For small to midsize businesses, however, Essentials can be a convenient platform for basic management tasks, which allows administrators to handle a wide range of issues that frequently affect server and endpoint operating systems. As with any new tool, forays into systems management should start with small experimental deployments, allowing IT staff to test System Health behaviors and develop confidence using the platform before rolling it out to the business.

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