Windows Server Core is a trimmed down version of Windows which has no GUI support. Management of Server Core is accomplished either by command line local to the server, or via GUI utilities from a separate server running Windows GUI.
Install Windows Server Core
- 1 Install Windows Server Core
- 2 Configure Network Infrastructure
- 3 Join Server to the Domain
- 4 Enable Remote PowerShell
- 5 Test Remote Management
- 6 MMC Plug-in Consoles
- 7 Server Manager
- 8 Remote Desktop Connection
- 9 Remote PowerShell
Windows Server can be installed from a DVD, from a specially prepared USB, or from a Windows WDS PxE server. Refer to Creating a Windows 2016 Installer on a USB Drive for creating a USB Drive installer.
Run the following commands locally on each server, via a local console or connect to the console KVM via the IPMI iKVM facility.
When connecting to Server Core, you will simply see a command line window.
Log in and then run PowerShell by typing
PowerShell from the command prompt.
Configure Network Infrastructure
Configure enough network to provide network management access.
All of the network adapters can be configured now or later when there is more server management utilities configured and available.
Rename Management Adapter
Find the network adapter or adapters you will utilize to access the server and optionally rename this adapter to a name easier to identify. This will typically follow your IT naming standards.
Rename the Adapter:
Rename-NetAdapter –Name “Ethernet 3” –NewName “Management”
Display the Interfaces:
Get-NetIPAddress | ft InterfaceAlias,IPAddress,Type,InterfaceIndex
In the example above, we renamed the “Ethernet 3” adapter to “Management”, which is the network interface used to access and manage the server including joining to the domain and accessing the server via Server Manager and Management (MMC) consoles.
Remember the Interface Index for the Management adapter. In this example, the index is 2.
Configure IP Addresses
Set the IP Address of the Management adapter. Use the InterfaceIndex value from above.
New-NetIPAddress –InterfaceIndex 2 –IPAddress -22.214.171.124 –PrefixLength 16 –DefaultGateway -126.96.36.199
Set the DNS address for the network adapter.
Set-DNSClientServerAddress –InterfaceIndex 2 -ServerAddresses 188.8.131.52
ServerAddress is the DNS server address.
To provide multiple DNS servers, separate the addresses by commas.
Join Server to the Domain
Rename the Server
Run the PowerShell on the local server to rename the server.
Rename-Computer –NewName Node2
Join to the Domain
Using PowerShell on the local server, add it to the domain. In our example we are using the domain “NewCo” and it needs to be replace with your domain name.
Add-Computer -DomainName "NewCo"
The system will request a login, including the domain.
After the reboot, check the configuration.
SCONFIG command is convenient for this and several other functions.
From a DOS command prompt, run the command
In the example above, the system is now renamed and joined to the domain NewCo.
Enable Remote PowerShell
The following command allows remote PowerShell commands from your management servers to the Server Core servers.
Configure Firewall Rules
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Service Management"
The Remote Service Management firewall group opens a group of management services. These services can be enabled individually for finer security control. These services include:
|MMC Snap-in||Rule Group|
|Event Viewer||Remote Event Log Management|
|Services||Remote Service Management|
|Shared Folders||File and Printer Sharing|
|Task Scheduler||Remote Scheduled Tasks Management|
|Reliability and Performance||“Performance Logs and Alerts” and “File and Printer Sharing”|
|Disk Management||Remote Volume Management|
|Windows Firewall with Advanced Security||Windows Firewall Remote Management|
Run the following PowerShell commands on the Server Core system. These are required by some of the management services.
Set-Service -Name PlugPlay -StartupType Automatic Start-Service PlugPlay Set-Service -Name RemoteRegistry -StartupType Automatic Start-Service RemoteRegistry Set-Service -Name vds -StartupType Automatic Start-Service vds
Test Remote Management
Windows Core is managed by remote services such as MMC plug-ins such as Services, Advanced Firewall, Event Viewer and several others, and with Server Manager and PowerShell Remoting. These services have to be run on a server with a GUI, such as a Windows 10 desktop or another server or VM running Windows 2012r2 or Windows 2016.
MMC Plug-in Consoles
Log into a management server with a GUI.
Start an MMC blank console by typing
MMC into a PowerShell or DOS command shell.
Add the Computer Management plug-in:
File > Add/Remove Snap-in
Select Computer Management Snap-in and click ADD
Select Another Computer and add the computer name or IP address
You should have an MMC console with a group of Computer Management Snap-Ins.
The Firewall plug-in has to be added separately. Add this plug-in using the same procedure.
The Firewall GUI for the Server Core is now available.
The Server Core is now exposed to a broad set of MMC management utilities.
Server Manager provides a single pane of glass to manage servers and should be ready to use.
To test this, start Server Manager on your management server.
To connect to a Server Core server:
Select All Servers (right click) Add Servers
Then add the name of the new server and click “Find Now”.
Select the server in the window and click on the arrow button.
And the server is available to manage.
Right click on the server record and a list of management features are available.
Remote Desktop Connection
Remote Desktop can now be used to connect to the Server Core environment.
Connect to your new core server via Server Manager
Naturally this is still a command line interface.
PowerShell remote commands should also work.
Connect to PowerShell via Server Manager.
Or run commands remotely from your management server. PowerShell remote commands are done via various syntaxes.
The Server Core is now manageable and is ready to be configured for your infrastructure.