Server 2019 App Compatibility FoD

I’ve been checking out the preview builds for Windows Server 2019, the next iteration of Microsoft’s flagship server operating system. Over the next few weeks, I will discuss some of these really cool, upcoming features.

In this article, we are going to discuss App Compatibility Features on Demand (FoD) for Server Core.

Most people know Server Core as the headless experience in the Windows Server OS world. It is meant to be managed remotely, not through Remote Desktop. The first versions of Server Core had quite a few limitations on what could and could not be run. As the operating system has matured, Server Core has become a powerful and more secure alternative to Server with Desktop Experience.

The App Compatibility FoD expands on the usefulness of Server Core by improving, you guessed it, app compatibility. It does this by installing some of the binaries and packages from Windows with Desktop Experience, but without adding any of the GUI pieces. It is available on a separate ISO and will only install on Server Core.

Some components that become available on the server with this update include:

  • Event Viewer
  • Performance Monitor
  • Resource Monitor
  • Device Manager
  • Microsoft Management Console
  • File Explorer
  • Windows PowerShell ISE
  • Failover Cluster Manager
  • Internet Explorer (yep…seriously, although Microsoft points out that this component is optional)

Support is also included for SQL Server Management Studio, version 16 or 17. These must be installed separately from SQL Server via the command line.

How do you install this feature?

  1. Download the FoD ISO that matches the version of the preview release of Server 2019
  2. Sign in as administrator on the fresh newly installed Server 2019 Core server you want to install FoD on
  3. You can use “net use” to map a drive letter to the location of the ISO if needed, to copy it to the local drive
  4. Start up PowerShell by typing in powershell.exe at the command prompt
  5. Mount the FoD ISO with the following: Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath C:\ISO (or whatever the path of the local folder is)
  6. Type exit to exit out of the PowerShell window
  7. Then use DISM to work with the image:

    DISM /Online /Add-Capability /CapabilityName:ServerCore.Appcompatibility~~~~0.0.1.0  /Source:C:\ISO /LimitAccess

  8. Once the progress bar is complete, just restart the server and you are good to go.

Are you thinking about trying this feature? Let me know what you think!

References:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-insider/at-work/whats-new-wip-at-work#app-compatibility-feature-on-demand-fod-for-server-core

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