Windows Server 2012 R2 First Impressions

Yesterday, Microsoft released the preview of Windows 8.1. It received a lot of attention and it may have somewhat overshadowed the preview release of Windows Server 2012 R2 (“12R2” suggests Mark Minasi). I installed it and here are some first impressions of the release.

  • There is a Start button. It just takes you to the Start Screen (so there is no Start Menu), but certainly in a virtual or remote desktop situation, I find it a lot easier to click it instead of the small hotspot from 2012.
  • There is a minor change to the Task Manager: it now lists “Background Processes” and “Windows Processes” separately. It makes it easy to view how non-Microsoft services are behaving.
  • It is now possible to view the list of installed apps organized by most frequently used, installed date, etc. It’s easier to get to the list of all apps by clicking or tapping the Up arrow.
    The tradeoff is that newly installed applications are no longer pinned to the Start Screen automatically. You’ll have to manually pin those you want to see there.
  • It’s easier to customize and name the groups of pinned items on the Start Screen (right-click or swipe up – instead of the All Apps command there now is a Customize command).

Overall, I think the tweaks will make a difference in my experience with both the client and server versions. I haven’t updated by tablets yet, but will do so this week. I’ll probably have another short post about it then.

by Sven Aelterman

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