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I ran into a little issue this morning and am wondering how I avoid the issue in the future. Fortunately, the issue resolved itself, but this could be a major problem in the future.

My domain environment is virtualized on Server 2016 Core Hyper-V hosts. Our PDC was rebooted this morning and didn't come back online. When attempting to use remote management tools, I could not authenticate into the Hyper-V host to view the console and see what the VM was doing (turns out it was chkdsk on a 4TB volume). No matter how I tried to remotely view this VM, I was greeted with authentication issues due to the PDC being offline. Server Core 2016 doesn't allow minimalist interface like 2012 R2 did, so there aren't any local management tools besides powershell.

Do others have similar setups and have you had any experience managing a system like this? It makes me want to reinstall Server 2016 as a GUI instead of Core just to ensure local vm management tools work.

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    Maybe start by getting rid of your Windows NT Server 4 Domain Controller. Oh... wait... when you said PDC you probably meant "The Domain Controller holding the FSMO roles, one of which is the PDC emulator." - How many Hyper-V hosts do you have? How many Domain Controllers?
    – joeqwerty
    Oct 23 '17 at 16:15
  • Can we start by realizing there is no PDC since maybe 17 years or so? And running one DC only plus no visual UI on the physical server - yes, it has it's problems as you found out.
    – TomTom
    Oct 23 '17 at 16:51
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There's a newer initiative from Microsoft called "Project Honolulu". It's basically a HTML5 Web client for Windows Server management.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/manage/honolulu/honolulu

It's in beta for now, and release is planned for mid-2018.

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Yes, what you have is not a smart setup.

In general, when running a minimalistic setup (i.e. no real redundancy) it is smarter to have a UI on the physical host - for the simple reason that you then have A UI. Powershell is powerfull, but I prefer a UI for most simple things.

Server core has a lot of advantages, but I would always make sure I have access to a physical system with a UI as minimum. I do so in remote locations (1-2 servers > all have UI installed) and only deviate when I can make sure to have alternatives available.

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