Managing Active Directory and Group Policy can be a little obscure due to the prerequisite of installing the Remote Server Administration Tools on Windows 7 and 8. In Server 2012, there is no separate install of the RSAT tools, you just have to know where to look. Fortunately, it proves consistent by being part of the Add/Remove Roles and Features part of the Windows Server operating system. I like the role-based installations because it greatly simplifies the install process, provides you a list of Server’s native capabilities, and keeps the installation minimal by allowing you to manually choose what you want installed after the fact.
To get the Active Directory Users and Computers, you want to be sure to install just the tools you need, not the entire domain services on your server. That is, unless you wish to make your server a domain controller.
Open up Server Manager by clicking the icon pinned to the Taskbar or right-clicking Computer and going to Manage. In the top-right corner of the window, go up to the Manage menu and click ‘Add Roles and Features’.
From here, you will go through a dialog wizard. Follow the on-screen instructions to get to the install on the server you want configured. Choose Role-based or feature-based installation and select your server.
Unless there are other roles you would like installed, skip Server Roles and hit Next to get to the Features.
On the Features page, check Group Policy Management Tools.
The description reads: Group Policy Management is a scriptable Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in, providing a single administrative tool for managing Group Policy across the Enterprise. Group Policy Management is the standard tool for managing Group Policy.
Scroll down a little bit to get to and Remote Server Administration Tools -> Role Administration Tools -> AD DS and AD LDS Tools and check those boxes, particularly AD DS Snap-Ins and Command-Line Tools.
The description reads: Active Directory Domain Services Snap-Ins and Command-Line tools includes Active Directory Users and Computers, Active Directory Domains and Trusts, Active Directory Sites and Services, and other snap-ins and command-line tools for remotely managing Active Directory domain controllers.
You can also select other tools you want like the Active Directory Administrative Center but to specifically get just Active Directory Users and Computers, check the box in front of AD DS Snap-Ins and Command-Line Tools.
Confirm your selections and let the install do its work.
Once the installation completes, you will see ‘Active Directory Users and Computers’ and ‘Group Policy Management Console’ on the Start Screen. You can also find them under the Administrative Tools folder should you want to copy a shortcut to your desktop. Note: using the GPMC from Server 2012 gives you access to New Windows 8 and Server 2012 Group Policies.