Windows Server 2012 provides the option of mirrored volumes to improve data protection and recovery. A mirrored volume is simply a copy of an existing volume, termed a ‘shadow volume’. Accordingly, using mirrored volumes results in half the disk capacity of the volumes in question, but with the benefit of there being a copy of your data in the case that the original volume becomes corrupted.

We’ve put together this simple guide on mirrored volumes that will walk you through setup.

Getting started

In order to follow the steps of this guide, this is what you’ll need:
• Two storage devices of the same size . It’s good practice to use the same device model if you’re using physical hardware as opposed to virtualization.
• Root access to your server (Cloud Server or Dedicated Server) is required.

Tutorial

The first step that you’ll need to take is to open an administrative session on your Windows 2012 server. In order to do this, first click on the Start button. Next, type compmgmt.msc into the input form and execute it.

This command should open the Computer Management window. Within this window, browse to Storage, and then Disk Management. You’ll see before you a Disk 0 partition. Right click on this and then click on the “Add mirror…” option in the menu.

This will open up a dialog box. Select which disk you’d like to use to mirror that partition, and then click the “Add Mirror” button.

Warning! It's necessary that Windows converts the storage device to which you're adding the mirrored volume to dynamic disk. This is necessary for processing the modifications.
This will unfortunately break dual boot if you have more than one operating system on your server.

Before conversion, a dialog box will show up to warn you that the two disks will be converted to dynamic disk, unless they were configured as dynamic already. Upon clicking “Yes”, Windows will create the shadow volume.

Note that the shadow volume will be the same size as the original one. While the data is being copied to the new volume, you’ll see a small warning sign next to the new volume.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to make a mirrored volume in Server 2012, disk failure is no longer something to fear. Enjoy the improved recovery times and convenience that comes with savvy mirrored volume usage.

RDP, known as the Remote Desktop Protocol, is a proprietary Microsoft protocol that is responsible for enabling remote desktop connections to a server. This protocol is highly customizable and its configuration can be edited to increase both its security and flexibility through options such as limiting the number of possible concurrent connections or changing the listening port. This second option, modifying the listening port (where new connections communicate with the server) for RDP, is useful as it can enhance your security setup in a very quick and easy way.

In order to modify the listening port for RDP on your Windows 2012 server, we have put together a short guide that will explain the configuration.

Getting Started

To complete this tutorial, you will need:
• 1 Windows 12 RDP Server (Cloud Server or Dedicated Server)

Tutorial

Before you proceed, you should note that if you want to change your RDP listening port, you must allow connections to the new port in your Windows Firewall. If you do not do this, you will be locked out of your server. Once you have allowed the new port number in your Windows Firewall and other firewalls on your system, you can continue with the guide.

Begin by opening an administrative session on the Windows 12 RDP server. Click the Start button. In the field that pops up, you will need to enter the following text and execute:

regedit

The command above will open up the Registry Editor utility window. This Microsoft tool is the central point for making tweaks to how your Windows 12 system runs, and is the location of the port number value for RDP.

With the window open, browse to the following view:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp

Once you have the RDP-Tcp view open, find the PortNumber field. This field contains the value of your current RDP listening port. For our tutorial, we will change it to 9998 as our new listening port. You can select a different port number, but ensure beforehand that your chosen port number is not already in use on the system and, as a security bonus, is not a commonly-used port number. Edit the PortNumber value to your desired port number:

9998

Next, you will need to restart the remote desktop connection service in order for the port number changes to be implemented. This service, known as Remote Desktop Services can be reloaded within Control Panel. Open Control Panel now.

With Control Panel open, navigate to the following views:

System and Security > Administrative tools > Services

In the services list, you will need to find Remote Desktop Services. Right click on it to bring up the option menu, and click on Restart.

While the remote desktop connection service restarts itself, note that any RDP connections currently on will be disconnected. After RDP is running again, you will be able to connect using the new listening port you set.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have successfully changed the value of the listening port for RDP on your Windows 12 server. If you liked this easy way to enhance your security setup, share it with your friends.

The Remote Desktop Protocol, also known as RDP, enables remote desktop connections to be made to a machine. This protocol is proprietary to Microsoft and is executed in a typical client-host architecture, where one machine runs the RDP server software and the clients can connect if they have the necessary RDP client software. RDP has many useful applications, most commonly in that it allows users away from the office access their work stations when needed.

However, as RDP may be set to allow only one remote session at a time, it is useful to know how to enable multiple sessions to allow more users to connect. This tutorial will show you how you can accomplish exactly this in Windows 2012.

Getting Started

For the purposes of this tutorial, you will need the following:
• 1 Windows 12 RDP Server (Cloud Server or Dedicated Server)

Tutorial

If the RDP server is configured to only allow one session maximum, further users who try to connect to the RDP server will encounter an error while negotiating a connection. This error will present itself in the following message from RDP hanging indefinitely:

Configuring Remote Session...

As the RDP server can only allow one session, this message will hang for the second user and the connection will never complete. This problem can be fixed easily by enabling the option for multiple RDP sessions.

This issue occurs in the first place due to the limit Microsoft places on client editions of Windows for security reasons. If you have a server edition of Windows, you are unlikely to face this issue unless someone has set the RDP configuration to accept only one connection.

If you encounter the multiple session hang, you can fix it easily by changing two things in the RDP configuration. First, you will need to open an administrative session on the server. This means that you should have administrative rights to the system and be logged in as the administrative user.

Next, click on the button Start in order to bring up a prompt. Type the following into the prompt that appears and execute:

gpedit.msc

This brings up the Local Group Policy Editor. This utility manages the local network and contains the settings for remote sessions and remote session user limits. In the window for the Local Group Policy Editor, you will need to go through several tabs in order to find the relevant one for RDP policy.

Navigate through the menus that you see in the order below in order to open up the main RDP menu:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services

Once you have the main RDP menu open in the Local Group Policy Editor, you will need to go through two more tabs in order to find the connection limit settings. Locate these tabs:

Remote Desktop Session Host > Connections

After the Connections window opens, you will see a setting called Restrict Remote Desktop Services user to a single Remote Desktop Services session. This is the setting that is responsible for restricting the number of RDP sessions on your Windows 2012 node. In order to allow multiple remote connections, please make sure that this setting is set as:

Disabled

Afterwards, you will also need to add a value for the maximum number of connections. The responsible setting, Limit number of connections, is also in the Connections view. Change the value of this field to the following, or any desired number that fits your RDP usage purposes. For example if you have a large distributed landscape with a need for high concurrent remote connection density, then input a larger number. However, in the case that you have smaller operations, try to limit yourself to the exact number of connections you can expect at any time in order to not overload the server in unexpected cases. For a start while you evaluate your multiple remote connection usage, set the value to:

999999

To test that the new setup is allowing multiple connections correctly, try to login again to RDP with multiple users. If the connection for the second user does not hang, you have succeeded.

Conclusion

With your Windows 12 server now configured to allow multiple RDP sessions, clients will no longer encounter the indefinite hanging issue when trying to connect in bulk. If this quick guide was useful to you, why not share it with your friends?

Your dedicated server is only as secure as the most outdated piece of software currently running on it. Overlooking a single program gives hackers the foothold they need to enter your dedicated server and wreak havoc. Before you know it, they’ve accessed business records and other confidential data, and the only thing stopping them from releasing that information is an encryption standard that will likely be broken within the next two to three years. How can hackers take advantage of outdated software, and what can you do to minimize your risk?

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