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Using the Initial Configuration Tasks Window to Add a Server Role

Windows Server 2008 makes it very easy for you to configure a particular server for a role or roles. For example, on a small network, a domain controller could also function as a file server and a print server. The number of specialized servers that you have to deploy really depends on the size of your network (based on the number of users you must serve).

The Initial Configuration Tasks utility, which resides in its own window, provides you with the ability to quickly assign a particular role to your server. You will notice that as soon as you install Windows Server 2008 on your computer, the Initial Configuration Tasks window opens automatically when you reboot or start up the server.

Did you Know?

If you prefer, you can choose to not have the Initial Configuration Tasks window open when you boot the server. Click the Do Not Show This Window at Logon check box at the bottom left of the window. You can then do your server configuration using the Server Manager and its various snap-ins.

The Initial Configuration Tasks window (see Figure 4.1) also shows you the roles (and features) that have been configured on this server. This window also provides easy access to such as settings the time zone, the computer name and domain membership, automatic updates, and the Windows Firewall.

Figure 4.1. The Initial Configuration Tasks window makes it easy to configure your server for various roles.

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Server roles can be added to a server directly from the Initial Configuration Tasks window:

1. Click Add Roles in the Customize This Server pane of the Initial Configuration Tasks window (in the bottom third of the window). The Add Roles Wizard opens. To bypass the initial wizard screen, click Next.

Did you Know?

If you don’t want the first, informational screen of the Add Roles Wizard to appear when you use the wizard in the future, click the Skip This Page by Default check box on the first wizard screen.

2. The next screen provides a list of server roles provided by Windows Server 2008 (see Figure 4.2). Any role that has already been assigned to the server is so noted by a check mark in its check box (the role is also “grayed out” and cannot be selected). To add a particular server role, such as File Services (to create a file server) or Web Server, click the appropriate server role in the list provided by the wizard and then click Next.

Figure 4.2. Select the server role that you want to add to the server.

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3. The next screen provides an overview of the role that you have chosen (for example, File Services help and information are provided on the screen if you have selected to install File Services). In some cases, an Add Features dialog box opens. It requires you to add features to your Windows server configuration so that the server can function in the role that you initially chose. For example, when installing the IIS web server, you are required to also install the Windows Process Activation Service (see Figure 4.3). Click Add Required Features. You are then taken to the overview screen for your chosen role; click Next to continue.

Figure 4.3. Some roles require that features to be added to your server’s configuration.

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4. Most roles require that you select the services that will be provided by that role and so the next wizard screen requires that you select the role services to be installed for your new server role (see Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.4. Select the role services for the role you are installing.

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5. After selecting the services (using the provided check boxes), click Next. The next screen provides a confirmation list related to the role and associated services that you are about to install.

6. Click Install.

The role and associated services are then installed. In addition, the Windows Firewall is configured to allow network access for the new service, if necessary. When the installation is complete, the wizard provides a list of the role and role services that were installed. Click Finish to close the wizard window. After you have installed a particular role, you will find that it is listed in the Initial Configuration Tasks window.

Managing Server Roles with the Server Manager

When you want to go beyond the installation of roles and services and actually manage these additions to your server’s configuration, you need to use the Windows Server 2008 Server Manager. It is a new addition to Windows Server 2008 and provides access to many of the snap-ins and tools that you had to load into the Microsoft Management Console in previous versions of Windows Server.

When you close the Initial Configuration Tasks window, the Server Manager opens automatically. You can also start the Server Manager from the Start menu: Click Start, point at Administrative Tools, and then select Server Manager.

Did you Know?

You can also quickly open the Server Manager by clicking the Server Manager icon on the Quick Launch toolbar.

The Server Manager window provides an overview of server settings (such as name and workgroup or domain affiliation), security information, and the installed roles and features. This summary window also provides quick access to system properties, the Windows Firewall, and resources and support.

Figure 4.5. The Server Manager provides access to server information.

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To view the installed server roles in the Server Manager window, click the Roles node in the node pane (the left pane of the window) of the Server Manager. A summary of installed roles and the status of those roles appears in the Server Manager Detail pane (the right side of the window) as shown in Figure 4.6.

Figure 4.6. Installed roles and the services related to that role are clearly visible in the Server Manager.

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To view the details related to a particular role, click that role in the detail pane. You can also select roles and services from the node tree in the node pane (expand any of the role nodes to view the associated snap-ins for that role).

Did you Know?

You will find that the Server Manager not only provides the status of a current role or service but also enables you to quickly view events that have occurred related to that role (such as warnings or informational events).

Server roles can be added to a server directly from the Server Manager. An Add Roles icon is available in the Roles pane and can be used to start the Add Roles Wizard. Services and tools related to a particular role can also be quickly added to your server configuration from the Server Manager window. We look at a number of server roles and services throughout this book and typically install these roles via Server Manager.

By the Way

If you have mapped out your network infrastructure carefully and determined the roles and services that will be provided by each server on the network, you can add roles to servers quickly by using the Initial Configuration Tasks window immediately upon booting up the system for the first time. Use the Server Manager to manage and maintain roles.

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