How to Install Windows Server 2008 R2 Tutorial Series


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter

A thorough walkthrough of how to do a clean installation of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. In this walkthrough, we use Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition. This installation guide is part 1 of a larger feature currently in production, but will guide you completely through the initial installation of the Windows Server 2008 operating system. The secret is out. In this video, I show you how to properly install the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. No magic or genius here, just following instructions and understanding how basic network architecture and server roles work. This guide won't require a $10,000 USD server installation premium either! Here is the information you need to get started with Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition as a Global Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or (GPDC). A Primary Domain Controller can host client systems in the Active Directory environment, which allows for a centralized database of file sharing, account access, and more using powerful Microsoft server technology.

Hello, this is Mike from Windows 7 Forums. In this video, I am going to show you how to install Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition.

As you can see, we're at the boot menu now. We select our CD/DVD-ROM to boot from and Windows is loading files. We begin the installation process by waiting for Windows to start booting. At this time, again, we'll be installing Windows Server 2008 R2. I'll go through some basic steps with you and we'll accelerate the process for you so that it is easier for you to understand.

As you can see, the installer is now loading. We choose our language, our time, and our keyboard, and we click on next. We click on install now. If we have pre-existing data on our hard drive here, what we do want to do is remove that data. Here we choose what edition of server we have. We're choosing Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Full Installation, not the Server Core Installation. We hit next, and accept the license terms. We're not doing an upgrade.

We already have data on this drive. What we're going to do is clear it out. What we do is going to Drive Options and delete every single partition on the drive. Now we have a free drive with unallocated free, and click next.

In a normal environment, you would have 1 terrabyte free, and you certainly wouldn't have 100 gigabytes on a server install. It is possible, but you really wouldn't do it. And in this case, Windows is expanding files now, and we're going to accelerate the process quite a bit. This is a very clean install, and a very fast install. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for this to take place, and the expanding of the files takes the longest. So you will see the acceleration now, as we move on right here. We're accelerating now. Normally, it would take much longer to do this. We're accelerating the process using some video trickery here.

It will go through the Feature Installation, Update Installation, and Restarting. Now, we're coming back and completing the installation. We'll come back one more time while preparing the computer for first time use.

Well everyone, we are back, and we've entered our initial password to configure Windows 2008 Standard Edition R2. What we really want to do now is start setting up the server. This can be a complex task, and can take a quite long time. It involves a great deal of knowledge about networking, especially if you want to turn this into a domain controller: this is where you may have a video.

First of all, you want to set activation, but we will not because this is evaluation/educational purposes. Secondly, we set the time zone. We do see that we have a certain amount of freedom in what we want to do here, but what we want to do is set the time zone first. We'll change the time zone over to [our local time zone].

What we want to also do is configure networking, but before we even go there, we want to provide a computer name. If this is the only server that we have, we just want to change the name of the computer, instead of the random name that it is given. We change it over to SERVER. Obviously we have to immediately restart. What we want to immediately do is log back in, and here we are now. And now you see we have changed the computer name over to SERVER. What we want to do next, is configure networking.

We want to make sure that the server itself is using an IP address that does not change (static IP). Because, if we have DHCP, this will become a major problem. We already have some information, and eventually, we'll be able to set our DNS server to our server itself. If we're using this server for an office environment, and we're not hosting anything from it, we will usually have one network adapter. In other cases, we will have two. In this case we have one, and we're using this server in a strictly office environment with no outbound activity. We are not using this as a web server. So what we want to do is use the following IP address:

We'll set the subnet mask automatically.

We know that the default gateway in this instance is This will vary from router to router. We set the DNS servers, in this instance, to and These are universal DNS servers.

(Eventually these will change once the server is properly set up as the primary domain controller: PDC)

We confirm Internet access, and we have made this change now with a static IP address of

Now, update this server. Enable Windows Automatic Updating and Feedback. This is something that we may want to change later if we don't like it.

Downloading and installing updates, usually when we look at the settings, we see "Install Updates Automatically" (recommended) and "Install new updates every day 3 AM". "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" What we want to do, in this instance, is actually "Download updates, but let me choose when to install them". We do this, because we don't want the server restarting all the time. We also set "Recommended Updates" because we want those as well. And we want all users on the server to be able to install updates on the server. In this case, we only have one user at this time, which is the Administrator.

And we already 45 important updates available. Quite a few here, major. We want to install these as soon possible, before adding any roles, any features, configuring remote desktop, or even configuring the firewall. So what we want to do is go ahead and install those updates right now.

Now that we have successfully installed Windows Updates on the server, you may be wondering well what use is the server if there are no server roles installed or no advanced features here. We have installed all updates, and it is a necessity because in order for us to connect any client computers to this server, we need to add the domain controller server role to this server. This is something we will demonstrate in the server role configuration stage of this video. This will finally be one of the final aspects of this video, in order to show you how to properly host other computers on the server.

Once you join client computers onto the server, which would be Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows XP computers, you will actually be able to, not only share files between all of these computers, but also manage these computers through what is called Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy (GP and GPOs). That is by joining these computers to the domain controller.

In order to do that first, we have to create the domain controller. I will go through that process now, very quickly. Here we are again at our Initial Configuration Tasks menu. What we want to do is go to Add Roles. And to add roles, we simply click Add Roles. Here we get a warning:

  • The administrator account has to have a strong password.
  • Network settings, such as a static IP address, must be configured.
  • The latest security updates from Windows Update must be installed.
We've already met all of those requirements, so we hit next. Now we see a list of server roles that we can use on the server. We have:

  • Active Directory Certificate Services
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Federation Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services
  • Application Server
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • Fax Server
  • File Services
  • Hyper-V
  • Network Policy and Access Services
  • Print and Document Services (PDS)
  • Remote Desktop S ervices (RDS)
  • Web Server (IIS)
  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
One of the most interesting ones is WSUS, where you can actually distribute Windows Updates across an entire network, simply by downloading them using one server. But here, we're not concerned about that. What we want to do most of all: Active Directory Domain Services.

We can worry about things like DNS later.

Here, we see .NET Framework 3.5.1 is required to install ADS. So we'll add the required features by clicking "Add Required Features" next.

Here are some things to note: We may need at least 2 domain controllers for a domain, in the event of an outage. That is a suggestion from Microsoft, but not a requirement.

You will be prompted to install DNS to use Active Directory Domain Services.

After you install the domain server role, use the Active Directory Services Installation Wizard (dcpromo.exe) to make the server a fully functional domain controller. Installing the AD DS will also install the DFS Namespace, DFS Replication, and File Replication services which are required by Directory Service.

As you can see, .NET Framework is installing. And we have quite a few features to install, so we'll be right back when the next prompt appears.

Please see Part 2 (when available) for more information on Windows Server 2008 R2 configuration.

  • Setting up the Domain Controller
  • Configuring DNS
  • Joining Windows Clients to the Domain Controller
Thanks for watching!