Server 2012 – What’s new and basic installation and setup.

Getting started
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First off, we need the Server 2012 installation media. We can get that from Technet as a trial version:

Download Windows Server 2012:

You willl need a Microsoft account, which is free, to download the media.

Installing Server 2012
Boot up and make any changes you might wish to the installation. Hit Next and Install now.

Core or GUI install.
As a new thing to Server 2012, Core version is chosen as default. Core version Means that the graphical interface is not installed as default, and some Roles and Features are not available.

We are going with the Stanard version with GUI, so pick that and hit Next, Accept EULA and hit Next.

Upgrade og Custom install.
You might find some situation where an upgrade is prefereble, but in generel I like to make fresh installs of servers. Choose Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).
Choose the partition you wish to insall Server 2012 on and press Next.
Wait for the installation to finish. Notice how much faster it is than previous versions of Server editions.

Set an Administrator password
Soon you will be greeted with a Settings screen, which prompts you for administrator Passoword. Enter a Strong password twice and press Finish. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to sign in. Enter your password and press Enter, or click on the arrow.
Note that this is the Local Administrator account you just created.

Server Manager
Here is the most obvious new thing in Server 2012. Upon first login we are met with the new Server Manager which starts showing the Dashboard. You will also notice the missing “Start Menu”

In the left section of the Server Manager, you can choose between the :

  • Dashboard, which helps you through initial setup and shows a status overview.
  • Local Server, where you can setup various computer specific settings like Computername, specify an IP, choose wheter Remote management is on or off, setup Windows updates and so on. A list of Events, Services, Best Practice Analyser (BPA) and Performance counters and a list of installed Role and Features.
  • All Servers can show you other Servers and their status. You can use this Pane to performa management tasks on local and remote servers. When selecting a server, you can see that servers’ list of Events, Services, Best Practice Analyser (BPA) and Performance counters and a list of installed Role and Features on that particular server.
  • File and Storage Services. Again, we can choose any server we like, giving us a centralized point of management. When choosing a server,  you can see (again) that servers’ list of Events, Services, Best Practice Analyser (BPA) and Performance counters and a list of installed Role and Features. Under Volumes you can see the local volumes, physical disks and available Storage Pools.

Server-Manager Server-Manager-local server-manager-all-serversServer-Manager-file-storage

Server 2012 Basic Setup – Name
As a new thing to Server 2012 a random name is chosen during install, making the installation process much faster. We are now going to change that name to something meaningfull.

Navigate back to the “Local Server” in the Server Manager.

Click the Computer name, press change and enter  the new Computer name. Be sure to choose a name which makes sense:
Example: if you are making a Domain Controller, you can name it DC01 and the next Domain Controller can then be named DC02. For mail servers, it could be MX01, MX02 and so on.
If you Work on multiple locations, it’s usefull to append location name:
Example: I’m going to make the first Domain Controller in my Denmark location: DEN-DC01
Server-Manager-local computer-name

Server 2012 Basic Setup – IP
At default, Server 2012 receives an IP from a DHCP server. We need to change this to a static IP in order to ensure, that the IP doesn’t change at a later point.

  • Navigate back to the “Local Server” in the Server Manager.
  • Click the “IPv4 address assigned by DHCP, IPv6 enabled” next to “Ethernet”.
  • Right-click on your Ethernet adapter and choose “Properties”.
  • Doublic-click “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
  • Enter a static IP address. Make sure it is available on your Network.
  • During my LAB, this server will be set at IP with the default subnet mask of and Default Gateway
    Note: I’ve specified the Preferred DNS server address as the local IP of this machine, and specified the Alternate DNS server address as the local Loopback address of this machine.
    This method is best practice.
  • I’ve done this, as I plan to make this machine DEN-DC01 as my first Domain Controller with included DNS server.
  • Notice: It Means that this Server will not be able to go online untill I’ve actually set up the DNS role on this server. It can be a good idea to spcify Google DNS or similar as the Alternate DNS untill you have everything working.

Server 2012 Basic Setup – Remote management.
Remote management is enabled as default. It Means you can control this server using WMI and Powershell remotely. Untill this works, however, you have to setup firewall rules or setup settings using Domain Group Policies.

Server 2012 Basic Setup – Remote Desktop.
Remote Desktop is disabled as default. In this LAB, we are going to enable it as we would like to be able to connect to our server using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).

  • Click the “Disabled” next to “Remote Desktop”.
  • Click in the “Allow remote connections to this computer” and click OK to the Warning that you enabled it for all Network connections. You can and should limit this using firewall rules.
  • Notice the “Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (recommended)”.
    In short this means the user is authenticated before reaching the login screen, which makes it more secure.
    You can read more about Network Level Authentication here:


Server 2012 Basic Setup – Using Internet Explorer.

  • First of all, you wont find any Interet Explorer icon in easy reach.
  • To find it you can either move the curser to the lower left corner and wait for the Tiles menu to open or simply hit your Windows Key (unless you are in some form of windowed mode).
  • Now that you’ve found it and click it, you first have to choose wheter to use recommended settings or not. Just choose the “Use recommended settings.
    Notice: if you right-click the “Internet Explorer” icon you can choose “Pin to taskbar”. This will put the IE shortcut icon on your taskbar, making it easier to find from this point.
  • You will be met with a an Enhanced Security Configuration warning window.
  • In order to be able to use Internet Explorer go back to “Server Manager – Local Server” and click “on” next to “IE Enhanced Security Configuration.
  • Choose “off” next to “Administrators” and click OK. Note: Be sure to put this back to “On” when your done.

IE-pin IE10-first-runIE10-first-run02IE-enhanced-security-conf


Server 2012 Basic Setup – Setting up Update

  • Go to “Server Manager – Local Server”. Click “Not Configured” next to “Windows Update”, in the right hand side.
  • Click “Let me choose my settings”, and from the drop-Down menu, select “Check for updates but let me choose wheter to download and install them”. Put a mark in “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates”. Click OK. The Server will now start looking for updates.
    Note: This way you will be notified about new updates, but will be able to choose which ones you actually want to install.
  • When it’s done checking for updates, click the “Find out more”, next to “Get updates for other Microsoft prodcuts”.
    Notice: if you get a security warning, go up and follow the section “Server 2012 Basic Setup – Using Internet Explorer.”
    Agree to the terms and click Next.
  • Mark “Use current settins” (We already chose: notice but don’t install automatically), and click “Install”. You will get a Success message. Close this and now press click “install updates”.
  • Restart to finish installing updates, when it asks you to.
  • Repeat checking for, installing and restarting untill no new updates show up.




  • We have now installed and made basic setup of what is going to be our first Domain Controller.
  • Along the way the new Server 2012 Dashboard was explained, along with some good naming conventions and best practice IP configuration.
  • Some basic remote management and security were mentioned along with setting up Windows Update.
  • Finding Internet Explorer in the new Tiles menu and pinning it to taskbar were accomplished.

What’s next?

  • We are going to configure our server as root Domain Controller in our new domain, along with setting up DNS and explain what’s what.
  • Read on in my post: Server 2012 – Creating a domain.


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