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Windows Server - General Information Common to Most Versions

Installation, Setup & Initial Configuration

Common Pre-Requisites

  • Drive Storage Space
    • Size for OS & Data - Dependent on type of OS installation: Core Minimal can install on as little as 10GB, but 12GB is the safest "minimal" drive size, or GUI(Graphical User Interface) Desktop Experience should have 20GB minimally.
    • Filesystem type - Normal default NTFS or other not so common types, such as exFAT for VERY LARGE file size storage & can be read and written to with newer versions of the Linux OS!
    • Partition Table type - Old school MBR(Master Boot Record) or GPT(GUID Partition Table) - Dependent on age of computer and hard drive(s) - Usually automatically setup during OS installation, but partition table and partitions can be manually setup using a bootable utility disk based on Linux(I use a Knoppix bootable disk or USB thumb drive, depending on the age of the computer and availability of bootable media drives).
    • Memory - 1GB minimal of RAM memory is best for initial installation, and can be lowered to as little as 512MB after installation of the OS. Of course, the more apps the server needs to run and serve, the more RAM memory will be required!
    • At least one network interface card(NIC), but 2 or more is best for many server functions. Plus, if you have network based storage such as NAS or a SAN, like I having both, a dedicated network card and network switch is best practice by far, and will result in HUGE performance gains when utilizing network based data storage!
    • The Operating System(OS) installation media, either as an ISO image file, or as a virtual hard disk image, if your are using a pre-built OS image in a virtual environment.

That's pretty much it, as there are of course extra options you can have and use, depending on your serer's purpose. For now, this will get you going.

Operating System Installation

Boot up the system with the installation media connected to the server machine, and boot into the BIOS and configure it to boot up on either the CD/DVD ROM or USB device, depending of course on the type of installation media you are using, and go through the prompts to install the OS. Here is a great web page with excellent step-by-step instructions and photos of the entire process, both for the CORE OS installation(No GUI/Desktop), or the "Desktop Experience":

Initial Windows Server Bootup & Setup

The first time your new server boots up, you will have to go through some initial steps to setup some basic stuff. Among them, you will want to set the local Administrator's password to something very complex, with a mix of upper & lower case letters, along with some special characters and numbers, but something you will NEVER forget if you are not using a password manager, which I STRONGLY recommend! I have used multiple clients based on the "Keepass" protocol, as there are many apps that use it for every OS and and phone!

As this is a "SERVER", it should have it's IP address(s) configured to use "static" IP addresses, meaning the same IP address every time the server is booted up! This will ensure the server is always available at the same IP address, which is critical for a "server"! To start up the Windows network card interface control window, type and run this command: control netconnections

A window will open up with network icons for each network interface card(NIC) connected to the server computer. Right-click on the first "Ethernet icon, then left normal click on "Properties" in the pop-up menu. Then, double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) to bring up the network configuration window. Click on the radio button "Use the following IP address:" to allow you to then type in the IP address, Subnet mask, and Default gateway. Type the appropriate IP addresses according to your local network configuration schema, and do the same for "Use the following DNS server:". Click "OK", and then click on "OK" again to save the new network configuration.

Post Installation

Setting up Server Roles

If this server is "NOT" going to be an Active Directory Domain Controller(AD DC), it most likely then should join an existing Windows Active Directory "Domain", which you will know as it's a basic knowledge requirement of creating a new Windows server. To join an existing Active Directory domain, and rename the server's hostname at the same time, using the "Computer System Properties tool", which can be quickly started by typing and running the command: sysdm.cpl and hitting ENTER. Click on the "Change" button to the right of "To rename this computer or change its domain or workgroup, click Change. Type the new Computer name, as preferred, and then select the radio button to the left of "Domain", to allow you to then type in the domain you want to join. In my case, I used one of my personal domains,

A reboot will be required, and at next bootup, you will be required to login as either the local administrator user, or an existing Active Directory domain user account, which you should already know. To login as the local Administrator, in the "User name" login field, type computers's hostname first, followed with a back-slash, and the name "Administrator", such as this:


In my case, to log into the VM(Virtual Machine) Windows Server I have running on my home network, I use this:


Type in the local administrator password you setup during initial installation of the Windows Server operating system, hit enter, and you should then be logged into the new server!

You can then proceed to install and configure the Windows Server "Roles" and "Features" your new server will be running/serving. Here's a great page from Microsoft on installing and uninstalling those Roles and Features your new server will be serving/hosting:

Server Licensing

Windows Server - Command-Line tool SLMGR.VBS - A Visual Basic tool used to manage Windows Server license from the command line.

ALL of these commands MUST be run as local "Administrator", as can be seen in the examples!

Basic usage from a command prompt is as follows:

C:\Users\Administrator>slmgr.vbs /dli

This causes a pop-up graphical window with current license information.

For more detailed information, change the commandline switch from /dli to /dlv, like this:

C:\Users\Administrator>slmgr.vbs /dlv

It will also create a pop-up graphical window with much more detailed information about the current license status, including the number of "REARM"s left, as Windows Server allows the evaluation license to be "ReArmed" 6 times, each time lasting 6 months, allowing for a maximum of 3 years of license "evaluation" usage!

Here's an example of the graphical pop-up window produced using the /dlv switch:

To "ReArm" an expired or soon to be expired Windows Server evaluation license, using this same tool, with the /rearm switch, as follows:

C:\Users\Administrator>slmgr.vbs /rearm

Here are MUCH MORE detailed information regarding the slmgr.vbs tools at Microsoft: