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July 2, 2007 / Steve Rosa

Windows Server 2008 Core – Installation and Initial Configuration

In this post, I will focus on the Core version of Windows Server 2008.

More particularly, we will see:

  • the installation of the OS
  • the activation of the OS
  • the renaming of the server
  • how to set a password on the local Administrator account
  • how to join the server to a domain

I recommend you reading the Server Core Installation Option of Windows Server “Longhorn” Step-By-Step Guide for detailed information on how to setup/configure Windows Server Core. You can find the document here.

OK, so now let’s start. First of all the installation. As usual, the process is quite straightforward. Boot from the DVD, select the keyboard type

server-core.png

Click Install now:

server-core_1.png

Select the Server Core edition of Windows Server 2008:

server-core_2.png 

Accept the license agreement:

server-core_3.png

As we are doing a fresh install, let’s go for the custom type:

server-core_4.png

Then we select the partition on which we want to install Server Core:

server-core_5.png

The installation is ongoing:

server-core_6.png

When the installation is over, we are welcomed by the usual screen:

server-core_7.png

Important to know: the local administrator account has no password set after the Server Core installation.

So for the first logon, we just need to specify the Administrator account without password:

server-core_8.png

After the logon, we are greeted by the command prompt:

server-core_9.png

Now that the OS is installed, we need to activate the license. To do so, first make sure that the server is connected to Internet, as the activation process requires connectivity to Microsoft Activation servers.

Then, we can invoke the slmgr.vbs script (more info here):

server-core_10.png

We even receive a confirmation pop-up:

server-core_11.png

During the installation of Server Core, the setup assigns some random computer name to the server. In my case, the name of the server was LH-BE9610E35DZJ, not really funny ;). So I decided to change this to something more inline with my naming convention.

I used the command netdom renamecomputer in order to rename my server to SRO-LH-02 (SRO-LH-01 being my DC, DNS and DHCP server).

server-core_12.png

Now, let’s (try to) secure our server a bit by setting a password on the local administrator account. To do this, we can use the command net user administrator *:

server-core_13.png

The following step is to configure the network settings. When installed, Server Core is configured to use DHCP. The current DHCP-assigned IP address of the server is 192.168.200.102 (the DHCP server leases address from 192.168.200.100 to 200).

Let’s change this so that we have:

  • static IP address: 192.168.200.2
  • subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
  • default gateway: none
  • DNS server: 102.168.200.1 (we aboslutely need the DNS resolution as we will later on join the server to our domain)

First, we need to determine the index of the network card. To do this, we use the command netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces. In our example, we can see that the Local Area Connection is on Index 2.

Then we use the appropriate netsh command to set the static IP address, subnet mask and default gateway:

server-core_15.png

A little check with ipconfig:

server-core_16.png

Setting the DNS server on the interface requires the use of another netsh command:

server-core_17.png

Finally, let us join the server to our SRO-LH.local Active Directory. The command netdom join allows us to do so:

server-core_18.png

After the reboot, we are finished so far.

Steve

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