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Install and configure Window Server 2008 R2 Core

Posted On 2012-02-16 by dwirch
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Tags: Windows Commandline Tutorial Windows Server 2008 Windows
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When you are installing Windows Server 2008 (or R2), besides the licensed version options you have the option of install full or core. How many of you use core? Why would you use core? Server core is just that. Windows without the interface. All you get is a command window and a few applets. What is this madness, and why would you inflict this on yourself? Read on. The core mode of Windows Server 2008 (and R2) does not include the standard Explorer interface. All configuration and administration is done through a command prompt, or via remote management tools such as those for HyperV, DNS, ADUC, and other tools. There is more than one reason to run in core:

  1. Reduced Maintenance Core servers are generally uesd for a specific application or purpose. The only things that are installed are bits required to run that service.
  2. Reduced Attack Surface Fewer running apps = fewer points of entry.
  3. Lower Resource Utilization No overhead from extraneous or un-needed services or GUI interfaces

Now you might have tried installing core in the past, and been pretty much turned off by the lack of interface. Where is Explorer? Where is Control Panel? How the heck do I set an IP address or the computer name? Well, you're in luck. Configuring this mode isn't as hard as you might think. And I'm going to walk you through it, right now.

  1. On the "Install Windows" screen, select "Windows Server 2008 RS Standard (Server Core Installation)", and click Next.
  2. Place a check mark in the "I Accept the license terms" checkbox, and click Next.
  3. On the "Which type of installation do you want?" screen, click "Custom (advanced)".
  4. On the disk selection screen, select the target disk that Windows will be installed on, then click Next.
  5. Files will begin copying, and the computer may restart several times.
  6. After file copying is complete, you will prompted that the password must be set or changed. Click Ok.
  7. Set a strong password for the local administrator account.
  8. Click Ok on the password change confirmation screen. At this point, you'll be presented with a command prompt. This is the interface to Windows Server 2008 Core.
  9. Now, you'll have to rename the computer to the desired name. In order to do this, you must first determine the current name of the computer, as assigned by setup. To determine the current name, at the command prompt, type: Echo %computername% To change the name of the computer, type: NETDOM RenameComputer /NewName For example of the old name is "WIN-A234590D", and you want to call the server "MyServer55", the correct command would be:
    NETDOM RenameComputer WIN-A234590D /NewName MyServer55
  10. In the interest of future ease administration, it is convenient to rename the network interface from the default. To rename the interface, type the following: Netsh int set interface name = “Local Area Connection” newname = “LAN”
  11. In order to provide access for remote administration, there are three steps to perform:
    1. Disable the Windows Firewall: NETSH Firewall Set OpMode Disable
    2. Enable remote administration: NETSH Firewall Set Service RemoteAdmin Enable
    3. Setup the Windows registry for remote administration: Cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf /ar 0
  12. Now, we can set the IP address of the network interface:
    Netsh int ipv4 set address "LAN" static 192.168.1.200 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.1
    Netsh int ipv4 set dnsserver "LAN" static 192.168.1.2 primary
    Netsh int ipv4 set dnsserver "LAN" static 192.168.1.3 secondary
  13. If this server will be participating in a domain, you can now add the machine to the domain:
    netdom join /domain: /userd: /passwordd:*
    If you are participating in a workgroup rather than a domain, you may need to add the primary dns suffix for the machine, as well as any suffix search order domains, so the machine can find other servers that it may need to talks to. The following command (and resulting output) will set the DNS suffix by updating the NV Domain value, which is found in the
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters subkey (watch out for line wrap):
    reg add HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\services\tcpip\parameters /v "NV Domain" /d "mydomain.com" /f
    If you don't want to change the default DNS suffix, but instead modify only the DNS search list, you can change the SearchList value, which is found at the same registry-subkey location. The value can contain multiple entries separated by commas, such as dom1.com,dom2.com" First, let's view the current value using the following command (with the resulting output):
    reg query hklm\system\currentcontrolset\services\tcpip\parameters /v "SearchList" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\system\currentcontrolset\services\tcpip\parameters SearchList REG_SZ mydomain.com
    Next, use the following command (with the resulting output) to update the SearchList value:
    reg add hklm\system\currentcontrolset\services\tcpip\parameters /v "SearchList" /d "domain1.com,domain2.com,domain3.com" /f

    Your server is now built, and ready for roles! Click here to learn how.


About the Author

dwirch has posted a total of 179 articles.

You can find more information from dwirch by visiting http://www.derekwirch.com.


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