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I've got a domain hosted on Windows Server 2012 Essentials. I just bought a Surface 2, thinking that it would be easy peasy to join my domain and access all my files, clearly nothing is ever simple; it supports a partial domain join called a "Workplace Join" which requires ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) on the server.

Is it possible to install this on Essentials 2012 (I can't find it), any pointers to tutorials to set this up?

Failing that, any alternative ideas for getting my surface on the domain?

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I don't think that product SKU offers the AD FS role. I don't work with SBS or Windows Essentials. So if you are unable to see a role called Active Directory Federation Services available to install, then you are out of luck.

If you can upgrade the server to at least Windows Server 2012 2012 R2 standard edition, then you can use workplace join. You can then use a feature called "work folders" to make files accessible on the surface. Please see http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2013/07/10/introducing-work-folders-on-windows-server-2012-r2.aspx

The surface cannot be a domain member at all in the full Active Directory Domain perspective (regardless of whether you have a full blown server install or not) as its running Windows RT. Surface Pro obviously doesn't have this limitation and can be a domain member.

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You might have more luck with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials since R2 introduced BYOD? In terms of the Surface, Workplace Join (which uses the R2 ADFS Web Application Proxy) is available with Windows 8.1. There are some blogs that mention that this is available with the Surface 2. –  nzpcmad Dec 18 '13 at 18:32
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