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Installing a Core Installation

A core installation is a minimal or stripped-down installation of Windows Server 2008 that can supply certain services and server roles to the client computers on your network. A core installation can provide services such as print services and file services. A server with a core installation can also function in roles such as a DHCP server and DNS server.

A server core installation should be made to a server that does not contain a previous network operating system (unless you plan on doing a dual-boot configuration). You will need at least 8GB of free space on a “free” volume to do the core installation.

As with the full or upgrade installation, insert the Windows Server 2008 installation DVD and then begin the installation from the Install Windows Wizard by clicking the Install Now button. You then need to enter your product key.

On the Select the Operating System You Want to Install page, select the Server Core option. Then click Next. You then need to accept the license terms and then continue the installation (such as selecting a clean installation and specifying where you want to install the operating system).

After the installation is complete, you need to log on to the server (after pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete). You need to configure a password for the Administrator account before you can log on for the first time. Set and confirm the password to log in. When you are logged on to a core installation server, the Windows GUI is absent. A core installation requires that you work at the command line (this is one of the reasons why the core installation has less overhead than a full installation). Figure 2.4 shows the core installation command window.

Figure 2.4. A core installation is managed from the command line.

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A complete reference for managing a core installation of Windows Server 2008 is beyond the scope of this book, but let’s look at some of the possibilities. Remember you are working at the command line, so you can use commands that you are probably familiar with, such as ipconfig and hostname.

Let’s say that you want to change the computer’s name and then add the computer to a domain. Follow these steps:

1. At the command line, type hostname. This provides the computer name that was assigned to the computer during the server installation.

2. Now that you know the current hostname, you can type netdom renamecomputer computer name /NewName:new name

where computer name is the current name (found in step 1) and new name is the name you want to use for the server.

3. After executing the command, you are asked to proceed (type y and press Enter as shown in Figure 2.5). You then need to reboot the computer. Use the command shutdown /r.

Figure 2.5. After changing the computer’s name, you need to restart the server.

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4. When the server reboots and you log on and return to the command prompt, type netdom join computer name /domain:domain name /userd:username /passwordd:password

where you provide the computer name, the domain name, and then a username and password with the administrative rights to add a computer to the domain.

Obviously, working from the command line is not as easy as working with the Windows GUI and the various server tools. However, a server core installation can enable you to repurpose hardware that you might have otherwise abandoned.

Did you Know?

You can activate the server from the command line; type slmgr.vbs –ato and press Enter. If the activation is successful over the Internet, you do not receive a message on the command line.

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