Windows 2008 FAQ

Windows 2008 Server Core

1. How do I install Server Core?

You get the option between Full Installation or Server Core during the initial stages
of installation. There are three versions for Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter.

* Standard. No free guest licenses (need to pay for VMs) and limited roles/features
* Enterprise. Comes with 4 licenses for guest virtual machines.
* Datacenter. Licenced for unlimited guest virtual machines.

More info on Licensing from Microsoft and MSDN Blogs.


2. What roles can I run on my Server Core server?

Active Directory Domain Services
Active Directory Lightweight Domain Services
DHCP Server
DNS Server
File Services
Print Services
Streaming Media Services
Web Server (IIS)

To install a role or feature, using the DSIM command or powershell.

3. What commands can I run from the command prompt?

Here are some useful commands to get you sorted:

a) Netdom - Change computer name, add/remove it from a domain.
b) Net Start|Stop - List, start or stop services (see Msinfo32 for service list)
c) IPConfig - View IP configuration
d) Shutdown - Shutdown, restart (/r) or logout (/l) from computer in n time seconds (/t n)
e) Netsh - Change network settings
f) Net Time - Change time settings, set sntp server
g) Net User - Add, remove or change local user accounts
h) Dcpromo /unattend:file - Promote server using answer file
i) Start /w ocsetup <role> - Install a server role
j) dsadd, dsrm, dsmod - Add, delete or modify domain objects.
k) Taskmgr.exe - Task Manager
l) Notepad - Text Editor
m) Start Cmd - Open a new command window
n) Wmic qfe list - List installed windows updates
o) Wusa <update file name> /quiet - Install a windows update
p) Net LocalGroup Administrators <dom>/<user> - Add a user to local admin group.
q) SCONFIG- Server configuration. Set computer name, local adminstrator, update settings ,remote access,network settings
date and time, log off, restart, shutdown or exit to cmd line. A third party tool called Core Configurator is available.


r) Hostname - Show computer or host name.
s) iscsicpl.exe - iSCSI Initiator tool for connecting to iSCSI disks.
t) hpteam.cpl - HP Network Teaming utility (see HP Support)
u) msinfo32 - Microsoft system information tool
v) netsh adv firewall set profiles state off - Disable the firewall
w) control intl.cpl - Change regional, and keyboard settings.
x) Wmic pagefileset - Configure pagefile using wmic.

4. Powershell commands:

The power shell is not installed by default. So, the commands to install it are:

Start /w OCSetup.exe NetFx2-ServerCore
Start /w OCSetup.exe MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell

or enable it via SConfig and select option 4) Configure Remote Management and enable the Powershell.

Some useful commands:

a) Get-Service, Stop-Service, Start-Service, Restart-Service - List, stop and start a service. Use '*' to list all services.
b) Set-Date - Change system time
c) Stop-Computer - Shuts down the computer.
d) Add-Computer - Add the computer to a workgroup or domain

5. Remote Administration

To effectively manage server core, you can use the following methods:

a) Use the traditional Remote Desktop Connection.
b) Powershell 2 and Remote Windows administration sessions.
New-PSSession - Authenticate a new session with the remote server.
Invoke-Command - Run a command to a remote server
c) Install Server Manager on your PC and remote connect to server to manage server (see Remote Administration in SConfig to allow access)

6. Web Access with Server Core

It is possible to access the web using server core using third party tools. If you have a proxy server, you will need to
set http_proxy environment variable first:

a) wget - Web Get tool, useful for downloads via the web.
b) Lynx - Lynx is a text based Web browser. Requires Python and NTLMaps for Proxy servers.
c) Firefox - Firefox works with Server core.
d) Opera - Opera 9 web server.

7. ZIP Tools for Server Core

In the full version of Windows 2008 R2 you have the Zip Folders feature provided by the zipfldr.dll library. There are thousands of tools out
there to provide Zip and Unzip functionality.

a) 7-Zip. Includes the 7z.exe for command line access.

More information on setting up Server 2008 can be found at