Home > anywhere access, server, Small Business IT > Windows 2012 Server Essentials Anywhere Access – Part 1

Windows 2012 Server Essentials Anywhere Access – Part 1

This and the following post are going to be focused on the Anywhere Access feature included in Windows 2012 Server Essentials.

As most you know, I love this product. It’s my go-to solution for my clients who require a server that is easy to manage and is user-friendly. 2012 Essentials fits the bill perfectly. It’s designed for small businesses with up to 25 users. This post will focus on Anywhere Access, aka: working in your jammies. (I’m all about the jammies).

Anywhere Access allows users to connect to the server, and even to their desktop, from outside the office using a web-friendly interface. This how-to will step you through configuring Anywhere Access and how it looks to the users.

After Windows 2012 Server Essentials is installed, launch the Dashboard, if it isn’t already launched.

Click on Setup Anywhere Access then Click to configure Anywhere Access

Anywhere Access

You now have the option to have the program setup your router, or you can do it manually. Personally, I prefer the manual method, maybe I’m just old school.

Router Skip

You will now be presented with a Getting Started window. Click Next.

If you have a domain name, you can use it or you can create a new one. This name becomes the url for the users to access the server via a webpage.

Domain Name

For the purpose of this how to, I will create a new domain name.

Since I don’t want to pay for a name, I’ll get a personalized domain name from Microsoft.

MS Name

Enter your credentials or create a new Microsoft account.

In my case I have already registered a name, but I want to create a new domain name for this post.


Enter in the domain name you wish and then check availability. Luckily, sharonbennett@remotewebaccess.com is available (what are the oods?). Then click setup. Your domain name is now setup on your server. Please note, it could take a few minutes before you can access Anywhere Access.


We can now choose how we want our users to connect. We can enable VPN or Remote Web Access. We are going to select Remote Web Access. The next option allows us to turn on Anywhere Access for our current users and any newly created users.

Access Type

The program will then setup the users, configure the firewall and any other settings that are required for Remote Web Access.

The next screen will come up green if Anywhere Access is able to connect to the Internet. In our case it cannot, since we chose to setup the router manually. I’ll skip the listed issues and configure my router manually, then test again.


To verify Anywhere Access has been configured, I view a user account and verify the account has Anywhere Access enabled.

User Access

You will also notice that I can uncheck the options I do not want the user to have access to.

And there you have it. In my experience, the biggest hiccup is setting up the router. Remember, your router is your first line of defence against intruders and it’s important that it is setup correctly. Please consult with your local IT pro if you are having any issues. Anywhere Access The Jammies Part 2 (Anywhere Access – The Jammie Part) outlines how to connect from outside the office.

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  2. Robert Long
    05/26/2014 at 6:17 pm

    The wizard pretty much takes care of everything described here, but as you said, its the router setup which is the toughest part. The wizard is telling me that my Router doesn’t have UPnP enabled, but it does. So I forwarded the port manually, Still no joy, I even set DMZ for the IP of the Server. Still not working. The wizard suggests that my ISP may be blocking ports but I’m able to setup a SlingBox which allows me to watch my own TV remotely over the internet.

    My ISP is Bell Fibe Canada. Anywhere you can point me to an article that can help?

    • 05/26/2014 at 10:26 pm


      Ports 80 and 443 are open, correct? Any other devices on the network controlling traffic? I had an issue with a second router that I “discovered” later.

      • Rusty
        06/07/2014 at 5:06 pm

        What did you do about the second router? I am guessing you turned off DHCP on it. My user has a separate wireless “device” AP or Router somewhere also. But I did not get a warning message about a 2nd router like you did.

      • 06/30/2014 at 5:01 pm

        Hi Rusty,

        I don’t recall if I replied to you are not. Yes, I would have turned off DHCP on the second device.


    • 05/26/2014 at 10:28 pm

      I have also had cases where I wasn’t able to access it internally, but externally it was fine. Drove me nuts…I didn’t think it was working but it was. Can you access it externally?

  3. Robert Long
    05/28/2014 at 8:07 am

    Oh wow. Yes it’s working externally!
    Thanks a lot.

    It’s still telling me that there are issues with my Anywhere Access on my server:
    “Issues detected. Click Repair to attempt resolving the issues.” – big red X
    clicking “repair” just starts the wizard again and ends up with:
    “The Set up Anywhere Access wizard completed with errors”
    and a red X beside “UPnP is not enabled on the router” (it’s wrong about that)

    And it doesn’t work on my internal network.

    But I turned off WiFi on my Windows phone so it was using my Rogers data network and I was able to connect.

    Did you ever figure out how to get it to work internally?

    • 05/28/2014 at 8:20 am


      No, I never did…and it only happened at 2 sites. Different versions of Essentials, different router hardware, different ISPs….it was one those things I filed into…”it works, leave it” folder. Then I left my business and was not able to go back to solve it.

  4. Robert Long
    05/28/2014 at 10:24 am

    Maybe it was all working all along after all. For the local network, instead of using mydomain.remotewebaccess.com, I simply used the NetBIOS name of my server and it brought up the remotewebaccess login screen. I logged in with no problems.

    Maybe that’s the documented way of doing it locally, I’m bad at not reading all the documentation.

    Anyway, everything’s working now and thanks for your help.

    (I’m going to chalk this one up to the old saying: “I’m almost perfect. I only made one mistake in my life and that was when I thought I’d made a mistake but I really hadn’t”)

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