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How To Install Windows Server Step By Step Guide

Windows Server Editions

Windows Server 2012 is available in different editions to support various requirements and workload needs. Each edition of Windows Server has different functionality and feature sets. Each edition also has different hardware capabilities.

Before watching the video take a moment to download and review the Windows Server 2012 R2 Products and Editions Comparison Chart. Pay particular attention to number of users, maximum number of sockets, maximum RAM, and the overlap of roles and features.

Install Fresh or Upgrade

When installing Windows Server you are given two choices: Upgrade: Install Windows and keep files, settings, and applications or Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).

To learn more mouse over each type of installation.


Upgrade or Migrate

Migration lets you to move the configuration of an existing server to a new server computer. Migrations are often selected over upgrades because the process is less destructive and more recoverable. Depending on the services and functionality that you need to migrate to a new server instance, there will be different requirements and actions you need to take. Fundamentally though, migration can be broken down into three phases.

Upgrade or Migrate


  • Installing, running migration tools and identifying any prerequisites. For example, drivers and ports.
  • Preparing source server. For example, backing up your data.
  • Preparing destination server. For example, ensuring drivers and ports are available.


  • Exporting or migrating data from source server.
  • Importing or migrating data to destination server.


  • Verify destination server is running successfully.
  • Decommission source server.

When you install Windows Server 2012 you are presented with two installation options: Server Core and Server with a GUI.

Server Core or Server with a GUI

Server Core is the default option. Server Core installs fewer components and administrative management tools than the Server with GUI option.

Advantages of Server Core

  • There are fewer features so fewer software updates are required. This means less downtime, less administrative overhead, and reduced restart requirements.
  • By removing files that are not needed disk space and memory requirements are reduced. This means when virtualized you can deploy more servers on the same host.
  • Since fewer files are installed there is less opportunity for security threats. Also, without a GUI, it limits a local user’s ability to interact with it.

Installing Windows Server

The Windows Server 2012 installation process minimizes the number of questions that you need to answer during the installation. The only typed information that you provide during the installation process is thepassword for the default local Administrator account.
How To Install Windows Server Step By Step GuideVisit the TechNet Evaluation Center to download an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012.

Try It

In this Try It you will install Windows Server 2012 R2.

Note: The next Try It (Post-Installation Configuration) continues from the installation, so do not close your lab session.

    1. In the lab environment switch to the LON-SVR3.
    2. In the command window it will show Press any key to boot from CD or DVD.
    3. Click in the command window and click any key to proceed.
    4. In the Windows Setup Wizard verify the following settings, and then click Next
      • Language to install: English (United States)
      • Time and currency format: English (United States)
      • Keyboard or input method: US
    5. On the next page, notice the Repair your computer option.
    6. Click Install now.
    7. On the Select the operating system you want to install page, select Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Evaluation (Server with a GUI), and then click Next. Notice the other choices for Standard edition and for Server Core.
    8. On the License terms page, review the operating system license terms, select the I accept the license terms check box, and then click Next.
    9. On the Which type of installation do you want? page, click on Help me decide to read more about theoptions. Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).
    10. On the Where do you want to install Windows? page, select Drive 0 Unallocated Space and then clickNext.
    11. Note: Depending on the speed of the equipment, the installation takes approximately 5 minutes. Thevirtual machine will restart several times during this process.
    12. On the Settings page, in both the Password and Reenter password boxes, enter the passwordPa$$w0rd, and then click Finish.
    13. Login to the machine and notice Server Manager is automatically started.
    14. Switch to Windows Explorer and notice the DVD drive contains the Windows installation files. The server booted to this drive to start the installation.

Post Installation Configuration

The post-installation process involves configuring all of the other settings that the server requires before it can be deployed to a production environment.

      1. Configure the IP address
      2. Set the computer name
      3.  Join the domain
      4. Configure the time zone
      5. Enable automatic updates
      6. Add roles and features
      7. Enable remote desktop
      8. Configure Windows Firewall settings

Can you think of anything else your organization needs to do?

Try It

In this Try It you will use Server Manager and sconfig.cmd to configure a server.

Note: This Try It continues from the previous installation.

      1. Login to LON-SVR3 as Adatum/Administrator with the password Pa$$w0rd.
      2. This computer has Server with GUI configuration.
      3. In Server Manager click Local Server.
      4. Take a moment to review the different computer settings that can be configured from this page.
      5. Click IPv4 address assigned by DHCP, IPv6 enabled.
      6. Right-click Ethernet, select Properties, and edit the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) properties.
        • Static IP Address:
        • Subnet Mask:
        • Default gateway:
        • Preferred DNS server:
        • Alternate DNS Server: None
      7. Click Workgroup and Change:
        • Computer name: LON-SVR3
        • Domain: Adatum.com
        • User name: administrator
        • Password: Pa$$w0rd.
      8. Click OK to restart the computer.
      9. Login to LON-CORE as Administrator with password Pa$$w0rd.
      10. This computer has a Server Core installation.
      11. At the command prompt, run sconfig.cmd.
      12. Take a moment to look through the various settings that can be configured. These are same settings you just used in Server Manager.
      13. Switch to 8) Network Settings. Use the same settings as before with a static address of
      14. Switch to 1) Domain/Workgroup. Join the server to the domain, you can use the same credentials you used to login when prompted.
      15. When prompted change the Computer Name to LON-CORE.
      16. In the Restart dialog box, click Yes.
      17. Verify connectivity from both LON-SVR3 and LON-CORE to LON-DC1

Note: If you are having problems getting connected, you can verify your connectivity as follows:

From the command prompt use: ping LON-DC1


From a Windows PowerShell prompt use: Test-NetConnection -ComputerName LON-DC1.

This will verify connectivity to the domain controller. If the command is not successful double check your network settings.