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Windows Server Core Installation

Server Core Prerequisites

Before installing Server Core you will need the following:

  • The original Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2  installation media.
  • If you are using Windows Server 2008 you will need a  valid product key (installation can be completed on Windows Server 2008 R2 without a product key).
  • A machine for the  clean Server Core installation (note that there is currently no upgrade option for Server Core – only a new clean installation is available).
  • There is no way to upgrade from a . 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.

Note that the only option for installing Server Core is a new clean installation, it is not possible to upgrade from a  full installation of Windows Server 2008 to a Server Core installation nor is it possible  to upgrade from any previous version of Windows Server  to  Server Core.

Installation Method 1 – Manually Install Server Core.

Follow the below procedure to install  Server Core:

  1. Insert the  Windows Server 2008 installation media in the DVD drive.
  2. The auto-run dialog will appear, click Install Now.
  3. Follow the stepped instructions  to complete the Server Core Setup.
  4. When Setup has completed, hit   CTRL+ALT+DELETE, click Other User, then type Administrator with a blank password, and hit ENTER. You will then be prompted to create a password for the Administrator account, and the installation will then be complete.

In Windows Server 2008 R2the setup procedure no longer prompts you for a product key. You should enter a product key using slmgr.vbs prior to activating the installation.

Installation Method 2 - Use a Unattend File for Installing Server Core.

The manual install is a simple process, but using an unattend file for the Server Core installation allows you to do a lot  of the initial configuration tasks during the setup. An unattended Server Core installation has the following benefits:

  • No need to perform the initial configuration by subsequently using command-line tools.
  • The settings  to enable remote administration can be included in the unattend file in the unattend file.
  • Settings which cannot be easily changed such as the display resolution can be set.

Follow the below procedure to install  Server Core using an unattend file:

  1. Create an .xml file named Unattend.xml   using a simple text editor or Windows System Image Manager.
  2. Copy your Unattend.xml file to a local drive or a shared network drive.
  3. Boot the machine  to Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP.
  4. Insert the   disk with the Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008 or   2008 R2 into the drive. (just hit Cancel is the auto-run Setup window opens).
  5. In the command prompt, change to the drive containing the installation disk.
  6. Enter the below command at the  command prompt:
    setup /unattend:<path>\unattend.xml
    where path is the path to theUnattend.xml file.
  7. Allow the Setup process to complete.

Windows Server 2008 KB Articles            Windows Server 2003 KB Articles

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