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Windows Admin Center (WAC): Everything you need to know

2 min

What is Windows Admin Center? (WAC)

Windows Admin Center is a local, browser-based management tool that allows Windows Servers to be managed without relying on Azure or cloud. Previously, this tool was called “Project Honolulu”. Windows Admin Center is a modern version of “In-box”, just like Server Manager and MMC. Windows Admin Center is an addition to the System Center and the Operations Management Suite.

Windows Admin Center makes managing Windows Server platforms clearer and easier. It functions as a central command and management for a number of different extensions. Windows Admin Center allows IT administrators to run PowerShell commands across GUI, security, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Azure Cloud. This makes it a handy tool for managing the cloud in a hybrid project. Validated Microsoft on-premise users can easily use a good hybrid infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI.

How do you install Windows Admin Center and which port do you need? (WAC)

Windows Admin Center is available for free download as an MSI from Microsoft's website. Before you start installing Windows Admin Center, you need to have the following things in order:

  • Make sure you have installed a new Windows Server. This can be Windows Server 2016, 2019, or 2022. It can also be installed with Windows 10 or newer. Don't have a license for one of these programs yet? Then you can buy these licenses here.
  • Make sure you have a Windows domain with a domain controller.

Windows 10

First, you need to download Windows Admin Center as MSI from Microsoft's website. When installing Windows Admin Center on Windows 10, port 6516 is automatically used. It is possible to use a different port. It is also possible to use a shortcut by letting Windows Admin Center manage your TrustedHosts. When starting Windows Admin Center, the tool opens a browser where the installation can be completed.

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Windows Server with desktop

Windows Admin Center is installed on Windows Server as a network service. A specific port must be chosen. Furthermore, a certificate for an HTTPS is required. The program itself can create a signed certificate for testing. You can also enter a thumbprint of an existing certificate. The DNS name or the machine name must match your certificate. You will then be given the choice to let Windows Admin Center manage your TrustedHosts.

Server Core

With Server Core you can install Windows Admin Center via Command Prompt. You must specify a port and use an SSL certificate. A fingerprint can be entered for an existing certificate.

Windows Admin Center (WAC): Certificate

Windows Admin Center can generate a signed certificate itself. With a new certificate you have to restart the setup with the WAC .msi file. Then you can click the “Change” button. You can create an SSL certificate via ICA (internal certificate authority).

Windows Admin Center (WAC): Latest Version

Version 2110.2 is the latest GA release. This version has fixed many major bugs of “Role-based Access Control” along with bugs of other extensions.

Windows Admin Center (WAC): Extensions

Many different extensions can be managed with Windows Admin Center, namely the following:

  • Hyper V
  • Storage Spaces Direct
  • Storage Replica
  • Failover Cluster Manager
  • Azure File Sync
  • Windows Advanced Threat Defender Protection
  • Third party extensions

Windows Admin Center (WAC): Features

Windows Admin Center can be used for certificate management, firewall management, local user settings, role and feature management, services management, network settings monitoring and much more.

Windows Admin Center has many features for streamlining administrative processes. For example, it is possible to improve management architecture, use modern authentication, manage modern server types, and migrate and replicate storage.

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