When you try to use Server Manager in Windows Server 2008 R2 to connect to another server, you get the following error message “Server Manager cannot connect to server. Click Retry to try to connect again.”
The reason why this happens is because WinRM is not set up to allow remote access to that server for management. You can check this by running the following Powershell command on the server that you can’t connect to remotely: “winrm quickconfig“
The solution is to enable psremoting by running the Powershell command “enable-psremoting -force“. Remember to launch Powershell by right-click it and select “Run as Administrator”.
Afer you’ve run the “enable-psremoting -force” command, run “winrm quickconfig” again and see how it how says “WinRM already is set up for remote management to this machine“.
Now you can connect to that server from another server’s Server Management MMC console:
NOTE: Microsoft’s Technet article here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd759202.aspx outlines other methods and ways of doing the same thing but I’ve found that by enabling psremoting, it will then gives you the ability to execute remote Powershell commands from another server on that server too. This is handy if you want to push out Powershell commands onto multiple machines (like in a Terminal Server/Remote Desktop farm environment).