It seems as if Microsoft's new server OS will be named Windows Server 2008. Some reported that Microsoft used this name at the Winhec press site, but they removed it, already. However, on a French Technet page they are still using "Windows Server 2008". Update: They just removed it from both sites, but it is official now, anyway. This probably means that we won't see the final before 2008. Last week, I introduced Windows Server 2008 Server Core. Today, I will show you how to do some basic configuration. It will give you an idea how you can manage Server Core.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor in chief of 4sysops. He has more than 35 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

Server Core SetupInstallation of Server Core is easy. At the beginning of the setup process, you can choose if you want to install the standard server version or Server Core. This implies that it is impossible to transform a standard installation in Server Core and vice versa.

I found it interesting that the password for the Administrator account is empty after the setup. So, the first thing you should do is to set a password: Net user administrator *

Next, you can start a new console with start cmd /separate, just in case you accidentally close your console. You also can start a new console thru the task manager: Ctrl+Alt+Del.

The next thing you probably want to do is to configure your network interface: With netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces, you can list the network interfaces of your server. To add an IP address you enter: netsh interface ipv4 add address "Local Area Connection" IP-address subnet-mask gateway where "Local Area Connection" is the interface name. (Expressions in italic are variables you have to replace with your own settings.) To configure a DNS server type: netsh interface ipv4 set dnsserver "Local Area Connection" static DNS-IP

Working on the command line is more fun if you can copy and paste from online documentations like this one, for example. You have to enable RDP access to your test server, first. To allow Terminal Service access enter: cscript c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /AR 0. If you want to connect from a Windows version older than Vista you should use /CS instead of /AR.

In Beta 3 the Window firewall is enabled by default. To allow a RDP connection, you can just open the port 3389. However, for testing purposes I recommend disabling the firewall if your network is behind a firewall, anyway. Otherwise you will always wonder if the Windows firewall is not configured correctly whenever one of your tests fails. To disable the Windows Firewall enter: netsh firewall set opmode disable.

The setup process names your server automatically, but you might want to change this name: netdom renamecomputer old-computer-name /newname:new-computer-name /force /reboot:30 This command will also reboot your server. If you don't know the old computer name just enter set and check the corresponding environment variable.

Maybe it is now time to activate your installation. If you enter slmgr.vbs –ato, it will take some seconds until you get the message that your server has been activated (hopefully).

In my last post about Server Core, I mentioned already that you can use it only for certain roles. With the oclist command you get a list of these roles and with ocsetup you can add a certain role. For example, if you want to use Server Core as DHCP server you would enter ocsetup DHCPServerCore. To start the DHCP server enter net start "DHCP server" and to automatically start the DHCP service during the boot process you would enter sc config dhcpserver start= auto.

Then, you can configure the DHCP server remotely with the graphical user interface from the adminpak. It seems that some remote tools don't work properly, yet. I wasn't able to configure the Windows Firewall remotely this way.

If your Server Core system isn't a member server of a Windows domain, you should create a user account having the same name and password as the logon name on your desktop first: net user /add username password. This way, you'll be authenticated automatically whenever you use one of the remote tools. You could also add your test server to your Windows domain with the netdom command instead. I don't know if you want to do this with a beta version, though.

The only role you can't configure with ocsetup is the Active Directory role. To install Active Directory you have to use the dcpromo command as usual.

When you are done with your configurations you can use the logoff command to logout. Or maybe you're a typical Windows admin and think that all this command line typing will only cause finger arthritis in the long run. In this case you can enter shutdown /r to reboot and install the standard version of Windows Server 2008 with a graphical user interface. Of course, you could also give Server Core a second change, type shutdown /s to turn off your server and continue with the finger exercises tomorrow. 😉

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