Server 2012 R2 Essentials “Cannot connect this computer to the network”

Server 2012 R2 Essentials “Cannot connect this computer to the network”

Last week I finally got around to replacing the ailing SBS 2011 Server with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, prompted in part by finally migrating our email accounts to the cloud.

I was very impressed with the ease with which it is possible to setup an ‘Essentials’ server without getting too technical.

I hit a bit of a weird gotcha, however, when running the Server 2012 R2 Essentials Connector (which you download from http://servername/connect), when running the connector you are asked to provide your username and password:

Type your new network user name and passwordNo problem, I though but alas when I logged in with administrator credentials I am told “You entered an administrator account name and password” and it goes on to say “it is recommended that you use a standard account…”.

Essentials Connect Admin Prompt

I dutifully obey and have the user enter their credentials, only for them to be told “Can’t connect this computer to the server using the user name and password credentials provided”, it then goes on to imply its because the computer is already connected (I checked – it wasn’t).

Essentials Connect ProblemsThe Solution

So it turns out that in spite of Microsoft’s warning against using an administrative account and recommendation to use a non-administrative account, you have to use an administrative account.  Not sure what the wizard designers were thinking that day but it could send many people off on the wrong tangent, searching the server for traces of an already connected PC, etc.

Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob is a Founder of Seguro Ltd, a full time father and husband, part-time tinkerer-with-wires, coder, Muay Thai practitioner, builder and cook. Big fan of equality, tolerance and co-existence.

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5 comments on «Server 2012 R2 Essentials “Cannot connect this computer to the network”»

  1. Lube says:

    Having exactly the same problem. Trying to connect Client computers to WSE 2012 r2 to use Client backup feature. Inspite of the fact that it warns me to not use administrative credentials, it keeps throwing me out the same error message if I dare to provide Standard domain user credentials instead of Domain Admins Member user.
    Has anybody found out the cause of that problem?

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Lube,

      As per the my post, I don’t think this is a ‘problem’ so much as a screw-up on Microsoft’s UX programming. You have to use admin credentials for this process in my experience.


  2. MarkW says:

    I have not found that to be the case. I am setting up computers now, and have used both admin accounts and standard user accounts. Both work for me.

    I was curious though about why the warning message about using an admin account. I have not seen any downside explained yet. If you use a standard user, it makes them a local admin, which is not usually what you want.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey Mark,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Interesting – so just to be clear, you proceeded with a non-admin account and the process worked fine? Did you already have the computer joined to the domain? I only ask because if not, this obviously presents a big security hole as non-administrative users could join PCs to the domain.

  3. Joe says:

    I have upgraded a box to win10 and tried to use the new connector through live essentials and get this issue.

    If I use a non admin it fails and throws up one error.
    “This computer cannot be connected to the server using the user name and password credentials provided. This may be an exsisting computer account…”

    If I use an admin it fails and throws up one for a different reason.
    “The windows server essentials connector has encountered an unexpected error. Click close to undo most of the changes made to this computer.”

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