You might have heard that Windows 2008 Server Core has to be configured on the command prompt because it has no graphical user interface. Guy Teverovsky, the author of CoreConfigurator, proved this is to be a myth. This simple tool demonstrates perfectly that it is possible to manage Server Core with a GUI. Okay, this tool is rather simple, but it allows you to configure all essential settings of a freshly installed Server Core system. Note that CoreConfigurator is not a tool for remotely managing Server Core like RSAT. Teverovsky’s tool runs natively on Server Core.
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These are the settings supported by CoreConfigurator:
- Product Activation
- Configuration of display resolution
- Clock and time zone configuration
- Remote Desktop configuration
- Management of local user accounts (creation, deletion, group membership, passwords)
- Firewall configuration
- WinRM configuration
- IP configuration
- Computer name and domain/workgroup membership
- Installation of Server Core features/roles
The first problem you face when you want to use CoreConfigurator is that you have to copy the setup file to Server Core. How can you do that if you didn’t configure the network settings first on the command prompt before? If you have a DHCP server in your network, this is not really a problem, though. Server Core is pre-configured to use DHCP. So you can just copy the CoreConfigurator setup on a network share of another server and access it from there. You could also copy it to a CDROM.
To install the tool you have to launch the command prompt and type:
msiexec /i coreconfigurator.msi
Then you have to navigate to the program folder where you installed the tool and launch it with
Now, you can finally leave the CLI and configure Server Core as if it had a modern user interface. (Please, forgive me for my sideswipes against the command prompt. I just can’t help myself.)
Update: Since so many asked me where one can download CoreConfigurator now, I uploaded it temporarily here. I can't make any guarantees for the tool.