Windows Server Longhorn: Server Core

Windows Server Longhorn: Server Core

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What is Server Core?

Server core is a minimal installation option for Windows Server "Longhorn" providing a minimal environment supporting specific server roles.  Server Core reduces servicing and management requirements while providing a minimum attack surface for supported roles.


Server Roles 

·         DHCP server

·         File Server

·         DNS server

·         Active Directory®


Optional Components 

·         BitLocker

·         BitLocker Remote Admin Tool

·         Client For NFS

·         DFS Server

·         DFS Replication

·         Failover Cluster

·         FRS

·         Media Server

·         MultipathIO

·         Removable Storage Management

·         Network Load Balancing

·         LPD Print Service

·         Server For NFS

·         Single Instance Storage

·         SNMP

·         Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications

·         Telnet Client

·         Windows Server Backup

·         WINS 

Installing Server Core 

Minimum Requirements:



Minimum CPU Speed

400 MHz for x86-based computers

733 MHz for x64-based computers

Minimum RAM

256 MB



This will likely be your first installation of Longhorn Server Core, but tuck this away for future reference:

-          Previous version of Windows Server cannot be upgraded to Server Core, 

-          Full installations of Longhorn cannot be converted to Server Core, 

-          Server Core cannot be upgraded to a full installation of Longhorn Server

-          Server Core will be upgradable to Server Core R2. 


1.       Now throw in the DVD, wait a few minutes and click Install now 

2.       Enter your product ID. (You do have a product ID, don’t you?)

3.       Choose the Server Core option. 

4.       Accept the license agreement.

5.       Choose Advanced 

6.       Select a disk to install to…

7.       Wait for the file copy to complete… 

Configuring Server Core 

8.       Logon with blank password. 

9.       Set local administrator password:

 net user administrator  new_password

- OR -

net user administrator  *

10.    Activate the server:

a.       Check license status: 

Cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -xpr


b.      Local activation:  

Cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato


c.       Remote activation: 

Cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs dc-contoso-01 contoso\administrator p@ssw0rd -ato


d.      Activate with user provided activation code: 

Cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -atp


e.      Help -? 


11.   Rename the machine:

 NETDOM RENAMECOMPUTER %computername% /NewName:DC-CONTOSO-01 /REboot


12.   Set IP Properties

a.       Get interfaces:

 Netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces


b.      Note IDX number for each network adapter to be modified. 

c.     Set Static IP, subnet mask and Default Gateway

 netsh interface ipv4 set address name=3 source=static address= mask= gateway=



Name is the number from step 2 above

Address is the static IP address you are setting

Mask is the subnet mask for the IP Address

DefaultGateway is the default gateway


d.      To change back to DHCP: 

netsh interface ipv4 set address name=3 source=dhcp


13.   Configuring DNS Settings:

a.       Set the DNS Server address.

netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name=3 address= index=1 

netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name=3 address= index=2



Index is the interface number.

Address is the IP address of your DNS server

Index is the ordinal for the DNS address you would like to change.


b.      Repeat for each DNS server you want to set, incrementing the index= number each time. 

c.       To delete a DNS address: 

Netsh int ipv4 delete dnsserver index=3 address=


  1. Setting the display resolution to something useful with Regedit:
    1. Open Regedit,
    2. Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video
      1. You'll have to go fishing to find the key for your video adapter
    3. Set DefaultSettings.Xresolution & DefaultSettings.Yresolution to something you monitor will support.


DefaultSettings.Xresolution = 1152

DefaultSettings.Yresolution = 768 

Managing Server Core

Server Core may be manage as follows:

·         Locally and remotely with Command Prompt.

·         Remotely with Terminal Server.

·         Remotely using Windows Remote Shell on Vista or "Longhorn"

·         Remotely via MMC snap-ins.


15.   Check event logs with wevtutil from Vista or Longhorn:

Wevtutil qe System /f:text /c:1 /rd:true

                        NOTE: Options and values are case-sensative


16.   Complete local configuration tasks with Scregedit.wsf (1217 lines of script!) 

a.       Enable Terminal Server Remote Admin Mode:

                            cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf /ar 0 

b.      Enable connection by down level TS clients:

          cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf/cs 0 

c.       Configure the pagefile.

d.      Enable automatic updates.

e.      Enable error reporting.


  1. Enable and use Windows Remote Shell (WinRS):

a.       Enable WinRS on Server Core 

WinRM quickconfig


b.      Connect with WinRS: 

winrs -r:dc-contoso-01 dir c:\windows

winrs -r:dc-contoso-01 wevtutil qe System /f:text /c:15 /rd:true

winrs -r:dc-contoso-01 wevtutil qe System /f:RenderedXml /e:SystemLog /c:15 /rd:true > event.xml


18.   Time and International settings:

a.       Setting Time: 

control timedate.cpl.


b.      International Settings: 

control intl.cpl


19.   Managing Server Core via MMC;

a.       If you don't know how to do this, you are in the wrong session.

 TIP: if not domain joined, establish a session first:


Net use * \\ServerName\c$ /u:UserName


Driver Management 

20.   Installing hardware with and without "in-box" drivers:

 If the driver is included in Longhorn Server Core:

a.       Add the hardware.  PNP will start and do the rest. 


a.       Copy the driver files to a temp folder on Server, 

b.      Execute the following command: 

Pnputil –i –a <path>\<driver>.inf


c.       Restart if needed.


21.   List and delete installed drivers:

a.       List installed drivers:

sc query type= driver


NOTE:  The space after "type=" is a quirk of many tools you'll be using.


b.      Delete specified driver: 

sc delete service_name


22.   Service Propeties

a.       Change service parmeters:

Sc config /? 

Sc config "RemoteRegistry" start= auto


NOTE: space after "=" sign.


Managing Applications 

23.   Installing, Viewing and Removing Applicaitons

a.       Install: 

Msiexec /I c:\install\NTBackupRestore.msi /qb 

b.      List applications by name: 

Wmic product get name /value


c.       Removing Applications 

Wmic product where name="NTBackupRestore" call uninstall


d.      Listing hotfixes 

wmic qfe list


e.      Installing Hotfixes 

Wusa.exe <patchname>.msu /quiet 



NOTE: Ocsetup is case sensitive!!!


This will fail: 

Start /w Ocsetup WindowsServerbackup


This will succeed: 

Start /w Ocsetup WindowsServerBackup


 Uninstall WindowsServerBackup

Start /w Ocsetup WindowsServerBackup /uninstall


Installing and Configuring Server Roles


 Install and Configure DNS

25.   Installing DNS Server Role - ALREADY INSTALLED!

a.       Run the following: 

Start /w Ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role 


26.   Configure DNS - Step By Step: 

a.       Allow auto-creation of reverse lookup zones. 

dnscmd /config /disableautoreversezones 0


b.      Create a secondary zone: 

dnscmd /zoneadd /Secondary


c.       Create a Primary zone: 

dnscmd /zoneadd /Primary


d.      Create a new A record: 

dnscmd /RecordAdd dc-contoso-01 A


e.      Add CNAME: 

dnscmd /RecordAdd www CNAME


f.        Delete a zone: 

dnscmd /zonedelete


27.   To automate DNS configuration, put all the commands in a batch file and run:

 Start /w c:\unattend\dns\dnsunattend.cmd


Install and Configure DHCP 

28.   Install DHCP Server Role using OCSETUP - Already Installed!!!

a.       At the command prompt, type:  

start /w ocsetup DHCPServerCore 


29.   Authorize/Deauthorize DHCP server in Active Directory:

a.       Authorize: 

Netsh dhcp add server


b.      De-authorize:

Netsh dhcp delete server


30.   Configure a DHCP scope:

a.       Add a scope with specified IP network, subnet mask and comment: 

netsh dhcp server add scope LonghornScope "Longhorn Engineering"


b.      Add IP address range with ClientType set to DHCP: 

netsh dhcp server scope add iprange


c.       Add IP exclusion range: 

netsh dhcp server scope add excluderange


d.      Set router option value 003: 

netsh dhcp server scope set optionvalue 003 IPADDRESS


e.      Set DNS Server option value 006: 

netsh dhcp server scope set optionvalue 006 IPADDRESS


f.        Activate the new scope: 

netsh dhcp server scope set state 1 


31.   Viewing DHCP Configuration:

Netsh dhcp server show scope


32.   Removing DHCP Configurations:

a.       Delete a scope:

Netsh dhcp server delete scope DHCPFULLFORCE


  1. DHCP configuration automation is possible much the same way as DNS.  Put all the command in a batch file and run: 



Installing Active Directory Domain Services

  1. Use DCPROMO /unattend:<filename> to install AD DS.  DON’T USE OCSETUP! 

a.       New forest: 





DNSOnNetwork=yes|no (Yes mean use existing DNS, NO means install DNS)









SafeModeAdminPassword=<admin defined offline admin account password>




b.      Add new DC to existing forest/domain: 




DNSOnNetwork=yes|no (Yes mean use existing DNS, NO means install DNS)









SafeModeAdminPassword=<admin defined offline admin account password>




c.       Add new RODC to existing forest/domain:

NOTE: Read-Only DC requires Windows Server 2003 Forest Functional Level or greater.













SafeModeAdminPassword=<admin defined offline admin account password>




d.      Demote a domain controller: 


AdministratorPassword="<password>" - Password is removed after use.





Install and Configure File Server Roles

The file server role is installed by default to provide administrative share support for management tools. To install additional file server features use the following procedure.


  1. To install file server role features
    1. For File Replication service, type:

       start /w ocsetup FRS-Infrastructure

    1. For Distributed File System service, type:

       start /w ocsetup DFSN-Server

c.       For Distributed File System Replication, type:

start /w ocsetup DFSR-Infrastructure-ServerEdition

d.      For Network File System, type:

start /w ocsetup ServerForNFS-Base

Then type:

start /w ocsetup ClientForNFS-Base

e.      For Single Instance Store, type:

start /w ocsetup SIS


Optional Features 

  1. To install an optional feature
    1. At the command prompt, type: 

start /w ocsetup featurename


Where featurename is the name of a feature from the following list:

·  Failover Cluster: FailoverCluster-Core

·  Network Load Balancing: NetworkLoadBalancingHeadlessServer

·  Subsystem for UNIX-bases applications: SUA

·  Multipath IO: Microsoft-Windows-MultipathIO

·  Removable Storage Management: Microsoft-Windows-RemovableStorageManagementCore

·  Bitlocker Drive Encryption: BitLocker

·  Backup: WindowsServerBackup

·  Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP): SNMP-SC


Additional Resources

Server Core Blog 


Longhorn Server Product Site 


Command Line Reference A-Z:



Configuring DHCP with NetSH




Manage Resource Records (Console & DNSCMD)


 Resource Record Types


Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC)


 AD DS Unattended Promotion


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