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How To Install Windows Server Core 2008

What is Server Core? Server Core is a minimal environment to run specific server roles, which reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those roles.

The following roles are supported on Server Core.

  • AD Domain Services
  • AD Lightweight Directory Services
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Server
  • Print Server
  • Streaming Media Services

Since Server Core is a special installation of Windows Server 2008, please pay attention to the following details:

  • There is no way to upgrade from a previous version of the Windows Server operating system to a Server Core installation. Only a clean installation is supported.
  • There is no way to upgrade from a full installation of Windows Server 2008 to a Server Core installation. Only a clean installation is supported.
  • There is no way to upgrade from a Server Core installation to a full installation of Windows Server 2008. If you need the Windows user interface or a server role that is not supported in a Server Core installation, you will need to install a full installation of Windows Server 2008.

For this exercise I installed Server Core in a virtual machine using VMWare. If you would like to do the same read how to create a virtual machine with VMWare Server, and then come back to this article.

Once you have gathered everything you need follow the instructions below to install Windows Server Core.

  • Boot your computer with your Windows Server 2008 R2 installation media.
  • Choose a custom install when asked and then select your flavor of Server Core as illustrated in the diagram below:

server core preference

  • Next, accept the license terms agreement and then click Next
  • Partition your hard drive accordingly, format the drive and then click Next
  • You should now see the installation in progress window as illustrated in the diagram below.

server core installation

  • Once the installation has finished you will be asked to change the users password before continuing. Go ahead and enter a password and then click the arrow and then click OK
  • Your installation is now complete, you should see a window as illustrated in the diagram below.

server core finished install