Desktop Experience in Windows Server 2012 R2

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Hello everyone! I am Tanmay Bhagwat, a program manager on the Remote Desktop team working on Desktop Experience, RD Session Host, and Windows MultiPoint Server.

Desktop Experience is the Windows Server feature that you can use to provide a better desktop experience to end users while delivering desktops through Remote Desktop Services.

We last published an overview article outlining inclusions in Desktop Experience for Windows Server 2008 R2. Since then we have made additions to Desktop Experience to match the Windows 8.1 Experience. Many of you have been asking us for a similar overview article for Desktop Experience in Windows Server 2012 R2.

The major additions to Desktop Experience since Windows Server 2008 R2 are access to the Windows Store through the Windows Store modern app, the ability to change PC settings from the Settings charm, the ability to play a slide show on your lock screen, and integrated search among others.

Today we are pleased to announce the release of an overview article for Desktop Experience in Windows Server 2012 R2. The article provides a list of all the applications and features that get added to Windows Server when you install Desktop Experience.

Please read the article and comment to let us know how we can improve it to get you the information you need to provide an excellent experience for your end users.

Note: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the RDS & TS forum. Thank you!

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  • the link to the new overview article is not working.

  • Hi, happy to know about you, We are also a IT support services provide company and our major services are Web designing, development, Windows server management, remote server management and all other maintenance services on affordable price. Contact us here :

  • Hi Shillet1,

    The link is working now. Thanks for your feedback.



  • The link to the new overview article is working now. Thanks for your feedback.



  • Ay chance to introduce Microsoft Account synchronization in Windows Server also?

  • Hi Stan,

    Could you outline the scenarios for which that would be useful? I would love to know more.


  • Unfortunately, this would have been useful if you brought back the Start Menu. (especially on a Server OS) So, I will still use Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 for the foreseeable future until the start menu returns.

  • I second the comment from above about the start menu.  It seems that Windows server design is done by a committee rather than common sense. Why touch interface on a server!!??

  • Bring back the start menu, give us a choice.  Until then, it's 2008R2.  Microsoft is making us take a long hard look at how we do things, and we want to start making more and more things delivered through the browser so we're not backed into a corner by things like Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

  • Hi, I would like to know about kind of licensing to RDS.


    Artur Júnior dos Santos Lopes

  • We are using the Desktop experience feature in our session based deployment of 2012R2 RDS.

    We are utilizing multiple RDS sessions by a single account in some areas of the business but the shadowing console does not have the client computer name column which makes difficult to shadow a specific computer that uses the shared account. This was available in 2008, please bring it back.

  • Hi Artur,

    Please go through the materials at this link to get an overview of RD Licensing:


  • Hi Billy,

    This is really good feedback. We will certainly consider bringing back the Computer Name column on the Shadowing console.


  • Scott and others wanting the Start Menu back - your feedback has been heard. Please check out the Microsoft Keynote Video at Build for a glimpse of the Start Menu.


  • How's about adding the tsadmin / tsconfig back into 2012 and facilitating installation for a simple workgroup over AD?  Not all environments require AD and most IT admins choose GUI over powershell.

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Desktop Experience in Windows Server 2012 R2