step by step Windows Server 2019 File Server clustering With powershell or GUI #Cluster #HA #Azure #WindowsAdminCenter #WindowsServer2019

Installing the Cluster is easy now days. But just this I post a little blog on how to do this, In my blog stats it shows that the 2012 post is still very active , so time for an update to Windows Server 2019. in the creation there isn’t much changed, it gets only easier. but If you still not in PowerShell you got more clicks to do an less Coffee. And Windows Admin Center is also a great addition to manage a cluster. This blog post is also usable in Azure Only you need to add Storagespacesdirect and a CSV file share. 

Just install a bare metal (VM) windows Server 2019 and do a domain join and the fun can start.

Installing the Cluster Feature in powershell

Install-WindowsFeature –Name Failover-Clustering –IncludeManagementTools

#Create cluster validation report
Test-Cluster -Node MVP19-01,MVP19-02

#Create new Cluster
New-Cluster -Name MVP1911-27 -Node MVP19-01,MVP19-02 -NoStorage -StaticAddress ""

#place witness file on USB device from my router

Set-ClusterQuorum -FileShareWitness \\SERVER\SHARE -Credential $(Get-Credential)

Now that the basic cluster is ready we start with the HA share


File share witness enhancements We enabled the use of a file share witness in the following scenarios:

  • Absent or extremely poor Internet access because of a remote location, preventing the use of a cloud witness.
  • Lack of shared drives for a disk witness. This could be a Storage Spaces Direct hyperconverged configuration, a SQL Server Always On Availability Groups (AG), or an * Exchange Database Availability Group (DAG), none of which use shared disks.
  • Lack of a domain controller connection due to the cluster being behind a DMZ.
  • A workgroup or cross-domain cluster for which there is no Active Directory cluster name object (CNO). Find out more about these enhancements in the following post in Server & Management Blogs: Failover Cluster File Share Witness and DFS.

    We now also explicitly block the use of a DFS Namespaces share as a location. Adding a file share witness to a DFS share can cause stability issues for your cluster, and this configuration has never been supported. We added logic to detect if a share uses DFS Namespaces, and if DFS Namespaces is detected, Failover Cluster Manager blocks creation of the witness and displays an error message about not being supported.

that’s it the cluster is created, we can start with the File server

Next is installation of the file server role


A restart is needed! After the restart we can build the cluster with the HA file share

$servers = ("MVP19-01", "MVP19-02") 
foreach ($server in $servers) {Install-WindowsFeature -Name file-services -ComputerName $server}

Now that the File Server Role is added we can add the Disk. Or use a disk that you already added before.

First we need to add a disk this can be done in the Failover Cluster manager or with PowerShell

image image

Get-ClusterAvailableDisk | Add-ClusterDisk


The Roles are there and the Disk is added


Next step is adding the File server Role to the Cluster and add the HA File Share.

In this case I have a fail over disk and I use the File Server for general use.


image image

So when adding the Disk it is not showing the disk. This is The disk is added to the cluster but the disk isn’t formatted!


Keep in mind that formating the cluster disk while it is online is not possible. You need to set the disk in maintenance mode else the format will fail.

image image

So after the disk format we will see the Disk appear and can be added to the File server



After this the File server is up and running. As you can see the setup is screen intense, building this with PowerShell is a lot faster.


add-ClusterFileServerRole -Storage "Cluster Disk 1" -Name MyFiles

New-SmbShare -Name "Data" -Path "J:\Data" -EncryptData $True

Quick steps with powershell and even the share is created and encrypted


Next step is adding the file share.


go for the Quick setup


Pick the disk and select the folder with the data on the disk, if there is no data then create a folder that will hold the data later.


as you can see the UNC path from the File Server.

image image

As you can see the settings can be adjusted for you needs and also set the right access, and keep in mind this needs to be don on the Cluster Level!


All Done


So creating a File Server and 2 file shares is Click intensive if you don’t use PowerShell.

But What about Windows Admin Center ? yes that would be an option also except here you can’t create a cluster role.

cluster management in Windows Admin Center


You can create a new role but no file server /share etc.

But when the share is created and running like now you can use Windows Admin Center for migration the data to the file share.


But more and more options are coming in Windows Admin Center below are some links that you can use to add your request to the UserVoice

More Coming

Failover cluster management in Windows Admin Center is actively under development and new features will be added in the near future. You can view the status and vote for features in UserVoice:

Feature Request

Show more clustered disk info

Support additional cluster actions

Support converged clusters running Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Server on different clusters

View CSV block cache

See all or propose new feature



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Author: Robert Smit [MVP]

Robert Smit is Senior Technical Evangelist and is a current Microsoft MVP in Clustering as of 2009. Robert has over 20 years experience in IT with experience in the educational, health-care and finance industries. Robert’s past IT experience in the trenches of IT gives him the knowledge and insight that allows him to communicate effectively with IT professionals who are trying to address real concerns around business continuity, disaster recovery and regulatory compliance issues. Robert holds the following certifications: MCT - Microsoft Certified Trainer, MCTS - Windows Server Virtualization, MCSE, MCSA and MCPS. He is an active participant in the Microsoft newsgroup community and is currently focused on Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, SQL Server, Azure and all things related to Cloud Computing and Infrastructure Optimalization. Follow Robert on Twitter @ClusterMVP Or follow his blog Linkedin Profile Http:// Robert is also capable of transferring his knowledge to others which is a rare feature in the field of IT. He makes a point of not only solving issues but also of giving on the job training of his colleagues. A customer says " Robert has been a big influence on our technical staff and I have to come to know him as a brilliant specialist concerning Microsoft Products. He was Capable with his in-depth knowledge of Microsoft products to troubleshoot problems and develop our infrastructure to a higher level. I would certainly hire him again in the future. " Details of the Recommendation: "I have been coordinating with Robert implementing a very complex system. Although he was primarily a Microsoft infrastructure specialist; he was able to understand and debug .Net based complext Windows applications and websites. His input to improve performance of applications proved very helpful for the success of our project

16 thoughts on “step by step Windows Server 2019 File Server clustering With powershell or GUI #Cluster #HA #Azure #WindowsAdminCenter #WindowsServer2019”

  1. Excellent as Always Robert. Looking forward to seeing you at the Summit so you can show me all the latest tricks. Tell me, have you posted about how to build a cluster in Azure on 2019 and do client redirection without the ILB? I’m starting to see some interest in that and looking for documentation.

  2. Great post, enjoyed reading and looking forward to put it into practice. Question on the availability of some of those features for non-domain joined hosts:
    1. Is it possible to do live migration on WORKGROUP (non domain joined) hosts with Windows Server 2019?
    2. Can I create failover clusters with WORKGROUP (non domain joined) hosts and can I use that feature for a workaround to Live Migration if 1. above doesn’t work?

  3. Hi,

    Good question yes you can do a VM migration hyper-v replica between 2 workgroup servers can be done. just setup hyper-v replica with a certificate for security reasons.
    But in any case it is not a “live” migration the machine can’t transfer the CPU and memory status. so the machine needs to start on the other location.

  4. Hi I have built a PC with Windows server 2019. I have installed and configured dns and file server roles on same machine. I can access my shared folder on android via SMB at home. I wish to setup access to the share on any device from external wifi. I am new to networking so I am unsure of the terminology so I can’t find a straight forward guide as I don’t know what I am looking for. Can you help me with this please? Thanks.

  5. hello thank you for the good document, I don’t see any network IP requirement in your document for windows file server clustering, can you please provide us this part as well.

  6. The IP plan is just as a normal machine it needs a IP and you will need a cluster IP, there is no difficulty here. the Extra cluster Components needs a IP. based on the same range as your cluster nodes.

  7. Hi, the config is based on hyper-v and shared vhd disks so a basic setup no complex items. it can also be build on vmware and if needed you can also build this in Azure.

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