PowerShell, Remote Desktop Comes to Microsoft's Project Honolulu

A few weeks after the Windows Insider release, systems administrators can now download the Project Honolulu technical preview version 1711.

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Microsoft has closed some pretty significant gaps in its Project Honolulu systems management software in the latest update to the technical preview of the toolset.

Project Honolulu is a set of graphical user interface (GUI) tools that are meant to bridge the gap between the PowerShell command line and GUI tools like the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). In mid-November, Microsoft gave members of the Windows Insider early access program a first look at the next update to toolset.

Now, version 1711 of the Project Honolulu technical preview release is available to all comers and Microsoft has further peeled back the curtain on what it has in store for users.

Although the toolset is meant to add point-and-click ease to many Windows Server administration tasks, the reality is that some features simply don't have a GUI management component to speak of. In such cases, users are forced to launch PowerShell, somewhat defeating the software's purpose.

However, now it's no longer necessary to abandon the Project Honolulu interface to issue PowerShell commands. Microsoft has embedded a PowerShell console directly into the toolset, allowing users to manage GUI-less features in remote Windows Server systems without switching apps.

Along the same lines, Microsoft has added a remote desktop feature to the toolkit. Found within the software's Server Manager component, the new remote desktop capability allows users to complete tasks that are not natively supported in Project Honolulu.

Other additions include the ability to add Windows 10 client systems as connections in the software's Computer Management component. Microsoft also added a graphical configuration tool for Switch Embedded Teaming (SET), a software-defined networking capability that debuted in Windows Server 2016, is not now available in the Virtual Switches section.

On the performance front, Microsoft saw fit to remove one feature for the sake of minimizing its impact on congested corporate networks. The systems status column in the connection list has been removed, Jeff Woolslayer, a Windows Server program manager at Microsoft, state in a Dec. 1 announcement.

"Honolulu no longer tries to connect to every connection you have added to your profile when you launch it. The connection test is performed only when you add an individual connection (i.e. when you add a single server, cluster, or PC) and when you initiate a connection" such as when you click on a server to manage with Server Manager, Woolslayer wrote. "This prevents Honolulu from flooding your network when you have a large number of connections added to your profile or do a bulk import of servers from a .txt file."

In another performance-enhancing move, Certificates and Events tools have been tweaked and can now handle larger datasets with improved responsiveness. Microsoft plans to issue similar updates to all of software's tools in upcoming updates.

Finally, the ability to use Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS) when Project Honolulu is installed on a server has been removed. The account password management functionality can still be used with the software if its running on Windows 10.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...