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Install and Configure Windows Server 2012 Essentials

Published: July 9, 2012

Updated: June 18, 2013

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials

This document provides step-by-step instructions for installing and configuring Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Before you begin the installation, review and complete the tasks that are described in Before You Install Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

noteNote
Are you looking for information about installing Windows Server 2012? If so, go to Installing Windows Server 2012 in the Windows Server TechNet Library.

You install and configure Windows Server 2012 Essentials in two steps:

  1. Step 1: Install the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system   In this step, you install the operating system on your server.

  2. Step 2: Configure the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system   In this step, you complete the installation by providing information about your company, domain settings, and network administrator. This information is used to get the server ready for you to use.

Step 1: Install the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system
ImportantImportant
After the operating system is installed, do not customize your server until you finish Step 2: Configure the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system.

Estimated completion time: Approximately 30 minutes.

noteNote
The estimated completion times throughout this procedure are based on minimum hardware requirements.

To install the operating system
  1. Connect your computer to your network with a network cable.

    ImportantImportant
    Do not disconnect your computer from the network during installation. Doing so may cause the installation to fail.

  2. Turn on your computer, and then insert the Windows Server 2012 Essentials DVD into the DVD drive.

    If you are performing an unattended installation, connect the removable media (such as a floppy disk or a USB flash drive) that contains your answer files. Depending on the contents of your answer files, you may not see some or any of the following installation screens.

  3. Restart your computer. When the message Press any key to boot from CD or DVD appears, press any key.

    noteNote
    If your computer does not start from the DVD, ensure that the CD-ROM drive is listed first in the BIOS boot sequence. For more information about the BIOS boot sequence, see the documentation from the computer manufacturer.

  4. Select the Language that you want to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method, and then click Next.

  5. Click Install now.

  6. In Enter the product key, type the product key.

  7. Read the License terms. If you accept them, select the I accept the license terms check box, and then click Next.

    noteNote
    If you do not choose to accept the license terms, the installation does not continue.

  8. In Which type of installation do you want?, click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)

  9. In Where do you want to install Windows?, select the hard drive where you want to install the Windows operating system. Verify that all of your internal hard drives are available for installation.

    ImportantImportant
    Windows Server 2012 Essentials must be installed as C: volume, and the volume size must be at least 60 GB. It is recommended that you create two partitions on your operating system disk, and not use the C: (system partition) to store any business data.

    noteNote
    If a hard drive is not listed (for example, a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) hard disk), you must load the device drivers for that hard disk. Obtain the device driver from the manufacturer and save it to removable media (such as a floppy disk or a USB flash drive). Attach the removable media to your computer, and then click Load Driver.

    If you need to delete and/or create partitions, refer to the following steps:

    1. To delete a partition, select the partition, click Drive options (advanced), and then click Delete. After you delete the system partition, create a new partition by using the instructions in either step b or step c.

      noteNote
      After you click Drive options (advanced), that option will not appear again. In that case, skip the part of the step that refers to drive options.

    2. To create a partition from an unpartitioned space, click the hard disk that you want to partition, click Drive options (advanced), click New, and then in the Size text box, type the partition size you want to create. For example, if you use the recommended partition size of 120 gigabytes (GB), type 122880, and then click Apply. After the partition is created, click Next. The partition is formatted before the installation continues.

    3. To create a partition that uses all of the unpartitioned space, click the hard disk that you want to partition, click Drive options (advanced), click New, and then click Apply to accept the default partition size. After the partition is created, click Next. The partition is formatted before the installation continues.

      ImportantImportant
      You cannot move the operating system to a different partition after you finish this step.

During the installation, temporary files are copied to an installation folder on your computer, which takes about 30 minutes. After the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system is installed, your computer restarts. Now, you are ready to configure the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system.

Step 2: Configure the Windows Server 2012 Essentials operating system
ImportantImportant
If you are migrating from a previous version of Windows Small Business Server to Windows Server 2012 Essentials, you must follow a different process. For information about migration installations, see the following:

During this phase of the installation, you are prompted to answer a few questions about your organization. This information is used to configure the operating system.

ImportantImportant
Before beginning this step, ensure that the local network adapter is connected to a router or a switch that is turned on and functioning properly.

Estimated completion time: Approximately 30 minutes

To configure the operating system
  1. On the Verify the date and time settings page, click Change system date and time settings to select the date, time, and time zone settings for your server. When you are finished, click Next.

    ImportantImportant
    If you are installing Windows Server 2012 Essentials on a virtual machine, make sure that you choose the same time zone settings that are being used by the host operating system. If the time zone settings differ, the server installation might not succeed.

  2. On the Choose server installation mode page, do one of the following:

    1. Choose Clean install to set up a full new installation of the Windows Server 2012 Essentials server software.

    2. Choose Server migration to install Windows Server 2012 Essentials and join this server to an existing Windows domain.

  3. On the Personalize your server page, enter the name of your organization, an internal domain name, and the server name.

    ImportantImportant
    The server name must be a unique name on your network. You cannot change the server name or the internal domain name after you finish this step.

  4. Click Next.

  5. On the Provide your administrator account information page, type the information for a new administrator account.

    CautionCaution
    Do not name the network administrator account “Administrator” or “Network Administrator.” These account names are reserved for use by the system.

  6. On the Provide your standard user account information page, type the information for a new standard user account, and then click Next.

  7. On the Keep your server up-to-date automatically page, select how you want to receive Windows Updates for your server, and then click Next.

  8. The Updating and preparing your server page displays the progress of the final installation process. This takes time to complete, and your computer will restart a couple of times.

  9. After the last server restart, the Your server is ready to be used page appears. Click Close.

  10. Click the Dashboard tile on the Start screen, and then on the Dashboard, complete the Set Up My Server tasks on the Home page. You should complete these tasks immediately after your Windows Server 2012 Essentials installation finishes.

noteNote
After the installation finishes, you are automatically logged on to the server with the new administrator account that you added during installation. The built-in Administrator account password is set to the same password as the new administrator account, and then the built-in Administrator account is disabled.

You can use your newly installed server for a limited amount of time (known as the “evaluation period”) without entering a product key. After the evaluation period, you must enter a product key to activate the server or extend the evaluation period. You can extend the evaluation period a maximum of two times. When you reach the maximum number of days allowed for the evaluation period, you must activate your server with a product key.

Customize Windows Server 2012 Essentials

The Home page of the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard links to SETUP tasks that you should complete immediately after you install your server. By performing these tasks, you can help protect information that is stored on the server and enable the features that are available in Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

If you choose not to perform the tasks, users might not have access to some network features. To return to these tasks later, return to the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard Home page.

The following table defines items that can appear in the list of setup tasks.

 

Task Description

Get updates for other Microsoft products

Click this task to access a link that runs a tool that allows you to specify if you want to use Microsoft Update to automatically obtain updates for Windows Server 2012 Essentials and other Microsoft products such as Office.

Add user accounts

Click this task to view brief information about adding user accounts. A link to run the Add a User Account Wizard is provided. For more information, see Add a user account.

Add server folders

Click this task to view brief information about adding server folders. A link to run the Add a Folder Wizard is provided. Also provided is a link to an online help topic about using Server Folders. For more information, see Add or move a server folder.

Set up Server Backup

Click this task to view brief information about using Server Backup to protect your data. A link to run the Set Up Server Backup Wizard is provided. For more information, see Set up or customize server backup.

Set up Anywhere Access

Click this task to view brief information about the Anywhere Access feature in Windows Server 2012 Essentials. A link to the Anywhere Access Settings page is provided. For more information, see Manage Anywhere Access in Windows Server Essentials.

Set up email alert notification

Click this task to view brief information about email alert notification. A link to run the Set up email notification for alerts tool is provided. For more information, see Set up email notifications for alerts.

Set up Media Server

Click this task to view brief information about using Media Server to share music, video, and image files. A link to the Media Settings page is provided. Also provided is a link to an online help topic to learn more about Media Server. For more information, see Manage Digital Media in Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

Connect computers

Click this task to view brief information about how to connect a network computer to the server. For more information, see Connect computers to the server.