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Windows Server 8: Server manager dashboard, revealed?

A screen shot has been leaked of Windows Server 8's server manager dashboard. Will Microsoft officially unveil it at BUILD, or is this just internal, pre-beta experimentation?
Written by Stephen Chapman, Contributor on

As Microsoft continues to shed more and more information about Windows 8 prior to its BUILD conference (which makes one wonder just what they're going to have left to show when the conference finally kicks off), so do those who are privy to Windows 8 bits they shouldn't be privy to. The widely-known "Canouna" -- who can often be found sharing information and/or screen shots from unleaked Windows 8 builds -- recently posted a screen shot of the server manager dashboard from a Windows Server 8 build:

Windows Server 8: Server manager dashboard

Windows Server 8: Server manager dashboard

File this screen shot in the speculation and rumor category. While the screen shot in and of itself is low-res and hideously tagged to death, we see enough to now know that Microsoft's drastic changes to the UI run deep and aren't being kept strictly to Windows client.

If true to form and this dashboard is legit, the UI in the screen shot above is consistent with the tile-based Windows 8 UI we have all become familiar with:

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In a previous post, I uncovered a whole slew of information from individuals involved with Windows 8 at Microsoft. One of them, in regards to Windows Server 8, had the following to say:

Microsoft Windows Server 8 | Server Manager + The Management Administration eXperience (MAX) team is tasked with creating an application to accompany it’s latest version of the Windows Server product. I was added to the team to help with designing the basic UI for this new application based on stakeholder feedback from the teams user research. Problem: Based on the brand pillars and application goals pick a UI type and patterns to create a fresh new application. Be flexible in the design so that when Windows 8 is released that those styles can be applied to this new UI without having seen them before. Action: As a part of the UI/UX team I helped in the process of picking the current UI to be released. I added elements to the UI to support the different features and scenarios based on the best possible UX experience for our users within our v1 product restraints. Result: I was able to contribute in the creation of a brand new desktop/server application that should be used by IT professionals along side of Microsoft’s System Center product line.

Is this new dashboard the application mentioned in the description above, or does the description above reflect a completely separate application altogether?

Prior to this point, all we have seen from the Windows Server 8 side of things is a Hyper-V demonstration by Microsoft at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July, as well as miscellaneous tidbits from leaked builds that had only been a reflection of work done in Windows client where the UI was concerned.

Even if this is only some semblance of what the server manager dashboard will look like when finished, it's obvious that Windows Server 8 adopters will have something either new-and-fun or new-and-annoying to play/contend with. And with Microsoft spilling the beans about Windows 8 client on their official Windows 8 blog for the past couple of weeks, Windows Server 8 appears to have quite a bit still left tucked up its sleeve - especially if this new dashboard has anything to say about it. Will Microsoft officially unveil this new dashboard/UI at BUILD, or will they hold off? We'll find out in less than a week as BUILD kicks off on Tuesday, September 13.

Are there any Windows Server admins out there? If so, then tell us what you think so far based on the limited-but-telling information seen in the leaked screen shot. Microsoft typically makes decisions like this based on a mountain of user data and client feedback, so do you feel a dashboard like this would help or hinder you? Let us know in the comments below!

-Stephen Chapman SEO Whistleblower

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Related Windows 8 content here on ZDNet:

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