Installing the Failover Cluster Feature and Tools in Windows Server 2012

Installing the Failover Cluster Feature and Tools in Windows Server 2012

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The installation procedure for Failover Clustering in Windows Server 2012 is very similar to that found in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.  In this blog we will discuss the changes in Windows Server 2012 as well as the different options for installing the Failover Clustering feature.

Windows Server 2012 continues with the Roles and Features model. All clustering technologies are considered Features, as they are infrastructure that enables Roles to be made highly available.

The Failover Cluster feature consists of the following components as shown by the Windows Server PowerShell CmdLet Get-WindowsFeature:

Display Name



Failover Clustering


This installs the core Failover Clustering feature and all fundamental requirements.  It does not include any management tools.

Failover Cluster Management Tools


Includes the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in and the Cluster-Aware Updating interface.

Failover Cluster Module for Windows PowerShell


Includes Windows Powershell cmdlets for managing failover clusters.  It also includes the Cluster-Aware Updating module for Windows PowerShell, for installing software updates on failover clusters.

Failover Cluster Automation Server


Includes the deprecated Component Object Model (COM) programmatic interface, MSClus.

Failover Cluster Command Interface


Includes the deprecated cluster.exe command-line tool for Failover Clustering.  This tool has been replaced by the Failover Clustering module for Windows PowerShell.



Installing the Failover Clustering feature using Server Manager

The Failover Clustering feature can be installed with either Server Manager or Windows PowerShell cmdlets.  In Server Manager, the Add Roles and Features Wizard is used to add roles and\or features.  The Add Roles and Features Wizard are accessed in the Server Manager Menu bar by choosing Add Roles and Features from the list.

This starts the Add Roles and Features Wizard.  The Installation Type is Role-based or feature-based installation.

Be sure the correct server is selected in the Server Selection screen

In the Features screen, select Failover Clustering

A pop-up screen appears listing additional requirements for the feature

If you wish to install the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in and Failover Cluster PowerShell cmdlets, management tools, then click Add Features

Confirm the selections and click Install

The installation of the Failover Clustering feature does not require a reboot, checking the Restart the destination server automatically if required check box is not necessary.

There are optional features available for the Failover Clustering feature administration tools.

These are deprecated features (Failover Cluster Command Interface (cluster.exe) and Failover Cluster Automation Server) in Windows Server 2012 but are made available, as there are still some applications that may need them, SQL Server being one of them.  Installing it may be necessary for any legacy scripts you have built on the old Cluster.exe command line interface. 

Once the Failover cluster feature is installed, the Failover Cluster Manager interface is available in the Tools category in the Menu bar.

Failover Cluster Manager is also available by right clicking on a node in the cluster in the All Servers view.


Choosing Failover Cluster Manager opens the snap-in.


You are now ready to fun Validate and create your cluster!

See this doc for the steps of setting up the cluster now that you have the feature installed and are ready to go:


Installing the Failover Cluster feature using Windows PowerShell

It is important to note that you must run these cmdlets in a PowerShell console that is opened with elevated privileges, which means opening it with the “Run as Administrator” option.

The following cmdlet will install the Failover Clustering feature and the management tools. 
Note: If you do not specify the
–IncludeManagementTools switch, the Failover Cluster Administrator and PowerShell cmdlets for cluster will not be installed.


Install-WindowsFeature -Name Failover-Clustering –IncludeManagementTools

You can use the –ComputerName parameter to install the features on other servers without having to log into them.  Here is an example of the cmdlet to install the failover cluster feature and tools on a specified server, in this case “ServerX”:


Install-WindowsFeature -Name Failover-Clustering –IncludeManagementTools –ComputerName ServerX


If you would like to find the list of features and the names to specify in the Install-WindowsFeature cmdlet, you can use this cmdlet:




Wildcards can be helpful to narrow down the returned set of features:


 Get-WindowsFeature Failover*


The Get-WindowsFeature Failover* cmdlet will return the feature, but not the tools.  To get the tools you can use the following:


 Get-WindowsFeature RSAT-Cluster*



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  • The command :

    "install-windowsfeature RSAT-Clustering -IncludeAllSubFeature"

    Is also usefull to add all Clustering features.


  • FYI SQL2012 repair may fail due to the command line interface features not being installed on a node.  Apparently 2012 still uses cluster.exe when running repair scripts.  Someone at MS please notice that these scripts need to be upgraded to Powershell cmdlets!

  • In some cases on a multi-subnet cluster, when the nodes were not able to communicate & changes were not propagating at times. Cluster.exe showed the requested information for all the nodes & marked an error message for the others where as PSH showed information about healthy nodes only.

    This can be confusing.

  • Which Windows Server licensing/edition is required to setup a failover cluster? We are planning to setup a 2-node failover cluster to run a SQL Server and another application both of which require automatic failover in case the node on which they are running fails.

  • @Kaustav

    The Failover Clustering feature is present in the Standard, Datacenter, and Hyper-V SKUs. For SQL Server HA scenarios, many of our customers use the Standard SKU.

  • I have two servers with windows 2012 installed, I want to create a windows cluster but I donot have any shared storage attached. Is that possible to create a cluster with shared storage.

    Please reply to

  • The best place for questions on Failover Clustering is in the Cluster Forum.  Here's the link:

  • Now if I could only locate how to uninstall the Cluster Manager feature, the circle would be complete.

  • uninstall-windowsfeature RSAT-Clustering

  • I have two server both are physically separate and in intranet network.

    I want to use windows cluster for sql server always on availability purpose. I dont have DNS & Active directory.What exactly i have to install for windows failover cluster.

    Please reply on my e-mail


    Abhishek Dadarya

  • Hi, I really appreciate this kind of blogs, the information is very helpful.

    I am planning to deploy this environment:

    Failover Cluster Win Server 2012

    2 Physical Servers


    1 Virtual Machine DC1, DNS & DHCP



    1 Virtual Machine DC2

    1 Virtual Machine  NODE2

    *VNX 3150 (STORAGE)

    I would like to hear your recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!

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