Windows Server 2012: Roles & Features

A colleague asked me earlier today if I knew off the top of my head how many roles and features there are in Windows Server 2012, and I had to admit that I did not know.  As Albert Einstein once said, why memorize what you can reference.  However as a quick exercise I decided to not only count them, but type them up into an article for Kalvin… and for all of you!

NOTE: I included all of the sub-roles and sub-features as well for all except for the Remote Server Administration Tools, which would show a tool for all of the roles and features.


1. Active Directory Certificate Services

2. Active Directory Domain Services

3. Active Directory Federation Services

4. Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services

5. Active Directory Rights Management Services

6. Application Server

7. DHCP Server

8. DNS Server

9. Fax Server

10. File and Storage Services

a. File and iSCSI Services

i. File Server

ii. BranchCache for Network Files

iii. Data Deduplication

iv. DFS Namespaces

v. DFS Replication

vi. File Server Resource Manager

vii. File Server VSS Agent Services

viii. iSCSI Target Server

ix. iSCSI Target Storage Provider

x. Server for NFS

b. Storage Services

11. Hyper-V

12. Network Policy and Access Services

13. Print and Document Services

14. Remote Access

15. Remote Desktop Services

16. Volume Activation Services

17. Web Server (IIS)


1. .NET Framework 3.5 Features

a. .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)

b. HTTP Activation

c. Non-HTTP Activation

2. .NET Framework 4.5 Features

a. .NET Framework 4.5

b. ASP.NET 4.5

c. WCF Services

i. HTTP Activation

ii. Message Queuing (MSMQ) Activation)

iii. Named Pipe Activation

iv. TCP Activation

v. TCP Port Sharing

3. Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)

a. IIS Server Extension

b. Compact Server

4. BitLocker Drive Encryption

5. BitLocker Network Unlock

6. BranchCache

7. Client for NFT

8. Data Center Bridging

9. Enhanced Storage

10. Failover Clustering

11. Group Policy Management

12. Ink and Handwriting Services

13. Internet Printing Client

14. IP Address Management (IPAM) Server

15. iSNS Server Service

16. LPR Port Monitor

17. Management OData IIS Extension

18. Media Foundation

19. Message Queuing

a. Message Queuing Services

b. Message Queuing DCOM Proxy

20. Multipath I/O

21. Network Load Balancing

22. Peer Name Resolution Protocol

23. Quality Windows Audio Video Experience

24. RAS Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK)

25. Remote Assistance

26. Remote Differential Compression

27. Remote Server Administration Tools

28. RPC over HTTP Proxy

29. Simple TCP/IP Services

30. SMTP Server

31. SNMP Server

a. SNMP WMI Provider

32. Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (Deprecated)

33. Telnet Client

34. Telnet Server

35. TFTP Client

36. User Interfaces and Infrastructure

a. Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure

b. Desktop Experience

c. Server Graphical Shell

37. Windows Biometric Framework

38. Windows Feedback Forwarder

39. Windows Identity Foundation 3.5

40. Windows Internal Database

41. Windows PowerShell

a. Windows PowerShell 3.0

b. Windows PowerShell 2.0

c. Windows PowerShell ISE

d. Windows PowerShell Web Access

42. Windows Process Activation Service

a. Process Model

b. .NET Environment 3.5

c. Configuration APIs

43. Windows Search Service

44. Windows Server Backup

45. Windows Server Migration Tools

46. Windows Standards-Based Storage Management

47. Windows System Resource Manager (Deprecated)

48. Windows TIFF IFilter

49. WinRM IIS Extension

50. WINS Server

51. Wireless LAN Service

52. WoW64 Support

53. XPS Viewer

Now: Adding roles and features in Windows Server 2012 is easier than it was previously… either use the Add Roles and Features Wizard (See my article and video here).  Or you can use Windows PowerShell (which is the preferred way to do it) by using the cmdlet Install-WindowsFeature.  Even though there is a distinction between Roles and Features, the cmdlet to install them is the same for both.

Now go forth and serve, my fellow IT Pros!


4 responses to “Windows Server 2012: Roles & Features”

  1. Thanks for the list. It’s hard to find a simple, concise list like this on the Internet. What about Windows Deployment Services, WS Essential Experience, and WS Server Update Services. They appear in my Roles drop down box (for 2012 R2)?

    1. Phil I have no idea why but it seems I left a few roles off the list, including WDS and WSUS. WS Essential was not an issue in 2012, but was introduced in R2. -M

  2. Thanks for the details of Server rules and features but it’s time to move on Windows Server 2019. Thanks

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