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Deploying a Server Core installation: Overview

Deploying a Server Core installation: Overview

In this scenario, you will create a server running a Server Core installation. There are no special settings or differences between installing Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 as a Server Core installation.

Prerequisites for deploying a Server Core installation

To complete this task, you will need the following:

  • The Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 installation media.

  • For Windows Server 2008, a valid product key. For Windows Server 2008 R2, you can complete Setup without having the product key.

  • A computer on which you can perform a clean Server Core installation.

Known issues for deploying a Server Core installation

  • 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.

Steps for manually installing a Server Core installation

Follow this procedure to install a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008.

To install a Server Core installation

  1. Insert the appropriate Windows Server 2008 installation media into your DVD drive.

  2. When the auto-run dialog box appears, click Install Now.

  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

  4. After Setup completes, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, click Other User, type Administrator with a blank password, and then press ENTER. You will be prompted to set a password for the Administrator account.

noteNota
As in Windows 7 and full installations of Windows Server 2008 R2, Setup no longer prompts you to enter a product key. You should enter the product key using slmgr.vbs before activating the installation.

Using an unattend file to install a Server Core installation

Using an unattend file for a Server Core installation enables you to perform most of the initial configuration tasks during Setup. Performing an unattended Server Core installation provides the following benefits:

  • There is no need to perform the initial configuration by using command-line tools.

  • You can include the settings in the unattend file to enable remote administration (when Setup is complete).

  • You can configure settings that cannot be easily modified at a command prompt, such as display resolution.

To install a Server Core installation by using an unattend file

  1. Create a .xml file titled Unattend.xml by using a text editor or Windows System Image Manager.

  2. Copy the Unattend.xml file to a local drive or shared network resource.

  3. Boot your computer to Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP.

  4. Insert the media disk with the Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 into your disk drive. If the auto-run Setup window appears, click Cancel.

  5. At a command prompt, change to the drive that contains the installation media.

  6. Type the following at a command prompt:

    setup /unattend: <path>\unattend.xml

    where path is the path to your Unattend.xml file.

  7. Allow Setup to complete.

    noteNota
    Appendix A of this document contains a sample unattend file with comments that explain the settings in the sample configuration. This sample can be modified for use in your environment.

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