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A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

This is a do-it-your-self guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials on a new server. I assume that you have some experience installing a new operating system on a computer. It may even be a new installation of Windows on your home computer or laptop because the basics of installing Windows on a server is not much different. You need to understand the basic concepts of networking. If you have bought a new server from Dell or HP and you need to create a new array I suggest you read the manuals from those manufacturers.

In this article, we discuss how to install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials on a brand new server. This is a basic installation, we do not virtualize the server, we will do that in another article. In our setup, we have used the DVD that was shipped with our brand new HP server but the server does not have a DVD drive so the first step was to create a bootable USB drive. I always use a tool called Rufus because it offers the most flexibility. You can download that from here. Once that is done we are ready to go!

Once you created your own USB stick with installation media on it we can continue.

  1. Plug in the USB pen drive in your new server and boot the server. If you are located outside of the English speaking part of the world and you install the English version but you need to type stuff like umlauts in German you will want to set ‘Keyboard or input method’ to “United States – International”.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  2. On the next screen, click Install Now
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  3. Enter your product key and click Next
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  4. Accept the license terms and click Next
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  5. Choose Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  6. Setup asks us what we want to do with the 500 GB drive array I have in my server. If you read this “System Requirements for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials” you will that Microsoft advice you to create a system disk that is minimal 60 GB but I always make it bigger, something like 100 GB. If you need change things after you have installed the server it is more work then making a wise decision now! Click on New.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  7. We all know that 1 GB = 1024 MB and because I want to have precisely 400 GB left for my data I put in the size box 102400 MB for my system drive. Click apply.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  8. Setup warns us that it will create more partitions so that windows works correctly. What setup does automatically can also be done manually and if you want to know more about those partitions and what they are made for read “Configure UEFI or GPT-Based Hard Drive Partitions by Using Windows PE and DiskPart”. Click OK to continue.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  9. In this example, you see only 2 partitions and that is because the screenshots are made on a VMWare Workstation that is the host for my Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials installation. In real life there are more partitions made and it depends on the type of hardware you have. You see we have 400 GB left for our data partition.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  10. Click on that partition and choose ‘New’.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  11. Accept the default value and click Apply. You may wonder why we create the data partition now and not when setup has finished installing everything. The reason is simple. During the setup process Windows looks for bigger partitions beside the system partition and if it finds one it will move automatically all ‘user’ data and such to that partition. We will see that later when we are done but this is a good example of making choices can make life a little easier.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  12. Make sure you choose the 99,7 GB partition for your system drive and choose Next.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  13. If you have a quick machine this will take just a minute or 5… or longer.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  14. Enter a strong password and click Finish.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  15. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to sign in.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  16. We have now reached the point that the Essentials part is going to be installed. Click Next
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  17. Check the date and time and correct it if needed. Click Next
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  18. Fill in your company name. The installer will use that for your internal domain name and the server name. You can change that if you wish. Click Next
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  19. Choose a name for your administrator account and a password. Click Next.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  20. Choose ‘Use recommended settings’ and click Configure.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  21. Setup has started with the final installation of your server. This will take a while and the server will be restarted several times.
     A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  22. I choose to register the server later with Microsoft online services. Click Close
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

You may notice that the screen is now a bit wider than the good old 1024 x 768. With Windows 2012 Server and the new Server Manager the best resolution is something like 1366 x 768, that is a widescreen definition and especially for tools like Active Directory Administrative Center you really want the extra space! Now that the first part has been installed it is time to update the server. I always do that immediately after the initial installation has been completed.

  1. From your desktop start the Dashboard.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  2. Choose “Get updates for other Microsoft products”.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  3. Choose ‘Click to activate Windows Update
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  4. Choose ‘Use Microsoft Update’ and click OK
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  5. In the top menu of the ‘Windows Server Essentials Dashboard’ choose Settings
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  6. Click Change/Install updates…
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  7. Click Check for updates
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  8. Windows Update is running…
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  9. In my case there 67 updates available. Choose to click the updates.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  10. I choose the default and let Windows Updates decided what I should install. I might be necessary in some cases to check updates that aren't checked by default but that is outside of the scope of this article. Click Install
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  11. Depending on the bandwidth you have available this may take awhile.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  12. Eventually, Windows Update will start installing the updates.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  13. When everything is installed, click
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  14. We are done and back. Choose Ctrl-Alt-Delete to login.
    A do-it-yourself guide for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

You may want to run Windows Update several times to see if there are more updates to install. Sometimes that is needed to get the server up-to-date with the latest updates.

About www.server-essentials.com 

www.server-essentials.com is founded by Mariette Knap, a Dutch Microsoft MVP. www.server-essentials.com is a community for IT Consultants and Business Owners who, themselves, take care of the IT infrastructure and Employees who do that little extra in the company to keep things running. Our forum is for discussing all things ‘IT’ and more.  Our documentation is top notch and written by and for the community.

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