Windows Server Core 2008 R2

Microsoft Windows Server Core 2008 R2 is a “cut down” version of Server 2008 R2 – it was first introduced in Windows Server 2008. Unlike the full version, Server Core ONLY supports the following Roles / Services:

  • Active Directory Domain Service
  • Active Directory Certificate Service
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Server (installed by default)
  • Hyper-V Server
  • Print Services
  • Streaming Media Server
  • Web Server (IIS)

Implementation Scenarios
If you wish to implement an additional DHCP Server on the Network (or an additional Domain Controller), “Server Core” may be worth considering – as it would not be necessary to deploy the full blown version of Windows Server (although the licensing requirements remain the same). Server Core has such a small resource footprint, it is ideally suited to running as a Virtual Server within Hyper-V.

Benefits of Server Core
Since no unnecessary services are installed, the benefits are: Simpler Management; Reduced Attack Surface; Reduced System Requirements.

Select “Server Core” from any Windows Server 2008 R2 installation disk. It is not possible to “upgrade” from other Versions \ Editions of Windows Server (with the exception of an earlier version of Server Core itself).

There is no GUI, so everything must be managed from the Command Line; RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools); Windows Power Shell or Windows Server Manager. In addition, there are some inbuilt utilities to help with Server Configuration:

  • SCONFIG (new in R2)
  • DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management)

Server Configuration (SCONFIG)
Type “sconfig” from the command prompt to load the Server Configuration Utility.

  • Change Domain / Workgroup
  • Change Computer Name
  • Add a Local Administrator
  • Configure Remote Management: Enable MMC Remote Management Firewall Exception; Enable Windows PowerShell; Allow Server Manager Remote Management (Requires PowerShell); View Firewall Settings
  • Configure Windows Update (Manual or Automatic)
  • Download and Install Updates
  • Enable / Disable Remote Desktop (Disabled by Default)
  • Configure Network Settings (Static or DHCP)
  • Configure Date and Time
  • Log Off
  • Restart / Shutdown Server

Listing Server Roles (OCLIST)
To generate a list of available services, type: oclist.

Installing Server Roles (OCSETUP)
Use “ocsetup” to add / remove server roles. When doing so, it is often useful to open up an additional command prompt window (type “start” at the command prompt). The basic syntax is “ocsetup <role-name>”, where “role name” is one of the following:

  • DNS-Server-Core-Role (DNS Server Role)
  • DHCPServerCore (DHCP Server Role)
  • FRS-Infrastructure (File Replication Service)
  • DFSN-Server (Distributed File System Replication)
  • DFSR-Infrastructure-ServerEdition (DFS Replication)
  • ServerForNFS-Base (Network File System Server Service)
  • ClientForNFS-Base (Network File System Client Service)
  • Microsoft-Hyper-V (Hyper –V)
  • Printing-ServerCore-Role (Print Server)
  • Printing-LPDPrintService (Line Printer Daemon)
  • DirectoryServices-ADAM-ServerCore (Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services)
  • MediaServer (Streaming Media Services)
  • IIS-WebServerRole (IIS Web Server)

Installing Active Directory (DCPROMO) 
To install Active Directory, run “dcpromo /unattend:<unattendfile>”. Note: an “unattend” file must be used, it is not possible to run “dcpromo” interactively on Server Core.

Uninstalling Server Roles (OCSETUP) 
To uninstall a server role, the basic syntax is “ocsetup <role-name> /uninstall”.

Additional Server Features (OCSETUP)
Server Core permits certain Server “features” to be installed. Use “ocsetup” to add / remove “features”. When doing so, it is often useful to open up an additional command prompt window (type “start” at the command prompt). The basic syntax is “ocsetup <feature name>”, where “feature name” is one of the following:

  • FailoverCluster-Core (Failover Clustering)
  • NetworkLoadBalancingHeadlessServer (Network Load Balancing)
  • MultipathIo (Multipath IO)
  • Microsoft-Windows-RemovableStorageManagementCore (Removable Storage)
  • BitLocker (BitLocker Drive Encryption)
  • SUACore (Subsystem for UNIX-based applications)
  • WindowsServerBackup (Windows Server Backup)
  • SNMP-SC (Simple Network Management Protocol)
  • WINS-SC (Windows Internet Name Service)
  • TelnetClient (Telnet client)
  • (NetFx3-ServerCore) .NET FRamework

Uninstalling Server Features (OCSETUP)
To uninstall a server role, the basic syntax is “ocsetup <feature name> /uninstall”.

DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management)
DISM offers an alternative method for installing / uninstalling Roles and Features. The general syntax is: dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:<Name of Feature>


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