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Install the Hyper-V Role on a Server Core Installation of Windows Server 2008

Updated: February 4, 2009

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Server Core installation option of the Windows Server 2008 operating system installs a minimal server installation of Windows Server 2008 to run supported server roles, including the Hyper-V role. You can use the Server Core installation option to help secure the server running Hyper-V and all the virtual machines running on it. The benefits of using the Server Core installation option include a reduced attack surface and reduced maintenance. For information about the minimum hardware requirements for a server running a Server Core installation, see Installing Windows Server 2008 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=123538).

When you select the Server Core installation option, Setup installs only the files that are required for the supported server roles. For example, the Explorer shell is not installed as part of a Server Core installation. After you have enabled the Hyper-V role, you can manage the Hyper-V role and virtual machines remotely using the Hyper-V management tools. The management tools are available for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). For more information, see article 950050 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=122188) and article 952627 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=123537) in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. For more information about configuring tools for the remote management of Hyper-V, see Install and Configure Hyper-V Tools for Remote Administration.

You can use unattended installation to configure a server running a Server Core installation and Hyper-V. For more information about unattended installation settings, see the Windows Automated Installation Kit (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=81030). You can find more information and a sample Unattend.xml file in the Server Core Installation Option of Windows Server 2008 Step-By-Step Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=100959). This guide is also available as a download (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=68556).

Once you install these server updates, you will not be able to remove them. There is no way to upgrade from a full installation of Windows Server 2008 or a previous version of Windows Server 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 should install a full installation of Windows Server 2008. For instructions about installing the Hyper-V role on a full installation of Windows Server 2008, see Install the Hyper-V Role on a Full Installation of Windows Server 2008.

If you close all local command prompts while installing the Hyper-V role, you will have no way to manage the Server Core installation. If this happens, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, click Start Task Manager, click File, click Run, and type cmd.exe. Alternatively, you can log off and log on again.

  1. You must perform a Server Core installation before you install the Hyper-V role. For instructions, see the Server Core Installation Option of Windows Server 2008 Step-By-Step Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=100959).

  2. After you have installed Windows Server 2008, you must apply the Hyper-V update packages for Windows Server 2008 (KB950050). For links and more information about installing the update for the release version of the Hyper-V technology for Windows Server 2008, see Installing Hyper-V. You should also apply any other required updates before you install the Hyper-V role.

    To view the list of software updates and check if any are missing, at the command prompt, type:

    wmic qfe list

    If you do not see “kbid=950050”, download the Hyper-V updates and then type the following command at a command prompt:

    wusa.exe Windows6.0-KB950050-x64.msu /quiet

    There are three update packages. After you install the updates, you must restart the server. The Update for Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition (KB 950050) and Language Pack for Hyper-V (KB951636) must be installed on the parent partition of the Server Core installation.

    The Update for Windows Server 2008 (KB952627) is for remote management of the Server Core installation if you are managing the server from a computer running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), and must be installed on the computer running Windows Vista SP1.

    Before you enable the Hyper-V role, ensure that you have enabled the required hardware-assisted virtualization and hardware-enforced Data Execution Prevention (DEP) BIOS settings. Checks for these settings are performed before you enable the Hyper-V role on a full installation, but not on a Server Core installation.

    After you make the BIOS configuration changes to enable the required hardware features, you may need to turn off the power to the computer and then turn it back on (restarting the computer may not apply the changes to the settings). If you enable the Hyper-V role without modifying the BIOS settings, the Windows hypervisor may not work as expected. If this happens, check the event log for details, modify the BIOS settings according to the server hardware manufacturer instructions, turn off and turn on the computer running a Server Core installation, and then install Hyper-V again.

    To check if your server hardware is compatible, see the Windows Server catalog (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=123535). Click the list of Certified Servers, and then click By additional qualifications – Hyper-V. For instructions about how to enable the BIOS settings, check with your hardware manufacturer.

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