Windows Server 2008

Installing Active Directory Domain Services Server Core

Today I am going to show you how to install a Active Directory Server Core. Server Core is a really cool technology built into Windows Server 2008. It is basically the absolute minimum that is required to add an operating system. This provides multiple benefits with the main 2 being a greatly decreased attack surface and also performance benefits. For example, when i set up my Server Core DC I assigned it 512MB of RAM. It was using just over half that once it was built! Impressive eh!! Anyway, lets begin the installation. I have a base install of a Server Core 2008 Domain Controller to begin with.


First task is to rename the server to whatever name you are going to be using. You have to use the netdom command line to do this. I issued the command:

netdom renamecomputer localhost /Newname:2008DC1


This command renamed the server to 2008DC1.

Before we add the server to the domain we need to set a DNS Server so it is able to contact the domain. To do this you issue the command:

netsh interface ip set dns “Local Area Connection” static


This sets the DNS server to an IP of 

Once the server has been renamed and the DNS server set, it then can be added to the domain. To do this issued the command:

netdom ADD2008DC1 /Domain:test.local /UserD:administrator /PasswordD:**********


OK so now we have a 2008 Server Core which has the correct name and has been added to the domain. Next you need to log in as an Domain Administrator and we’ll install Directory Services. To do this we will use a sysprep file to supply the settings. I created a blank one in notepad and the contents were:


Once we have this we can run:

DCPromo /answer:c:\unattend.txt

This will an additional domain controller into the TEST.LOCAL domain and put the database, log  files into C:\NTDS and the sysvol into C:\SYSVOL. It will also install DNS on the server and make it a Global Catalog Server


Once that runs the server will reboot and that’s it!

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