How to Install Server 2008 R2 (RC)

What’s New in Server 2008 R2As I mentioned in my article about what’s new in Server 2008 R2, Server 2008 was first released in May 2008 and service pack 2 for the product was released in April of 2009.

Around the same time that service pack 2 was released, Server 2008 R2 (Release Candidate) was made available for download.

Last time I provided you with a brief introduction to R2 and some of the high level comparisons of both releases, system requirements and so forth. I also outlined a few high level, expected changes under Windows Server 2008 R2.

Today I will show you the steps for installing Server 2008 R2 from an ISO image on a Hyper V server.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] — The steps outlined in this walkthrough may differ slightly when installing to a physical system as opposed to a virtual installation but for the most part the steps are the same. In addition, since this is a Release Candidate and not the RTM bits, there’s always the rare possibility that something may change in the installation routine in the final version as well.

Also note that because Server 2008 R2 is in “Release Candidate” status the details of the steps of this walkthrough are more set than when the product was in beta.

Having said that, until the product is officially released to manufacturing (RTM), the information is subject to change.

Before you start your installation to your virtual environment, it’s a good idea to have your virtual drive all ready to go.

In the event that you haven’t done this already, the overview of the steps are:

1. Open Hyper-V Manager under Start → Administrative Tools → Hyper-V Manager

2. From the Action pane, click New, and then click Virtual Machine

3. From the New Virtual Machine Wizard, click Next

4. On the Specify Name and Location page, specify the name of your virtual machine and location of the virtual machine files

5. On the Memory page, denote the amount of memory that you want to allocate for the virtual machine to run the guest operating system

6. On the Networking page, select the network adapter configuration you want to use (to identify if you want to have a live network connection to the physical adapter or not)

7. On the Connect Virtual Hard Disk page, specify a name, location, and size to create a virtual hard disk so you can install an operating system on it

8. On the Installation Options page, choose the method you want to use to install the operating system:

  • Install an operating system from a boot CD/DVD-ROM. You can use either physical media or an image file (.iso file).
  • Install an operating system from a boot floppy disk (where applicable)
  • Install an operating system from a network-based installation server. To use this option, you must configure the virtual machine with a legacy network adapter connected to an external virtual network. The external virtual network must have access to the same network as the image server.

9. Click Finish

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – For this walkthrough I chose to select the networking option that allows us to connect to the physical network card so we could have network connectivity.

Additionally, at the Installation Options page, I choose the method to install from the ISO file directly.

At this point we are ready to go, so I’ve placed the DVD into the drive and set the running virtual machine to capture the drive so the virtual environment will engage from the ISO configuration.

Once the setup environment is engaged the first screen you will see is the familiar Install Windows screen where you can initially choose the language to install, the time and currency format, and the keyboard input method as shown below:

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Once you’ve made those choices you can click NEXT to continue.

The next screen will bring you to all of the available choices for installation (as provided in the ISO image that I am using). For our walkthrough I’ll choose the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise (Full Installation) option.

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The next screen that will appear is the ever familiar license terms page. You’ll need to select the “I accept the license terms” check box to continue.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – If you do not select the box and accept the terms, you cannot continue with the installation. This has pretty much been the standard forever with respect to Microsoft operating systems and I am sure many other software companies.

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Next is the “which type of installation do you want” page, where we will select CUSTOM as there is no existing operating system installed on our VHD drive to upgrade from.

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Once the installation routine continues to the next page you’ll arrive at the options of where you want to install Windows. In the image below you’ll see just one choice for us in the virtual environment (Disk 0); in other installation scenarios such as on a physical machine, you may be presented with other disk locations to choose from.

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Once you make that choice (and provided that no formatting is needed on that volume) the routine will begin the file copy and expansion of files on the selected volume.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – If the volume was not already formatted the routine would have performed that step prior to the file copy step for obvious reasons of needing a place to copy the files.

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The system will restart a number of times without user intervention needed throughout this part of the process as shown in the sequence of images below.

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The Wrap Up: Finishing Steps

As the system starts for the first time where it requires logon by an administrator you will see the following screen:

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In order to continue you will need to change the password before logging on for the first time. That’s actually a misleading screen of sorts as we’ve never set a password up to this point. What we are actually doing is setting the initial administrator password for account use.

Once that action is completed setup will continue.

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At this point we are presented with the Initial Configuration Tasks window:

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What you’ll notice at this point is that Windows has not been activated, the time zone is default selected to Pacific, and the computer name was generated at random and established. You may recall, we made no mention of these activities in the steps above as the installation routine from the ISO image did not prompt us for any of these options, including entering a product key.

Let’s close this window for now. Once we do that the Server Manager window is presented as shown below:

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It too shows that Windows has not been activated and that there are other options that can be configured for the system, such as Roles and other connection settings.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – Between my setup steps I chose to change the default name of the machine; on this screen you’ll see the Full Computer Name as SERVER2008R2 where on the prior screen it showed the randomly generated name.

Our final steps will be for activating Windows which will require a connection to the internet (for the easiest way to go about this) and the 25 digit key to enter in.

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We will go to Start → Computer → Properties as shown above to bring up the System information page below:

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At the bottom of the page we can see that there are just 3 days until automatic activation (which would fail at this point because the key has not been entered for this system). When you choose the Activate Window now option the Windows Activation screen appears as shown below:

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When you attempt to do this you are automatically presented with the page to enter in your key.

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You need to make sure the key you try to use is applicable to the product you installed or you will see an error message like this:

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[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – To generate that error for the purposes of demonstration, I entered the Standard Key which is different that the installed edition of the operating system which was the Enterprise edition.

Once you provide the correct key the Activating Windows routine will complete and you’ll be up and running.

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Congratulations! Your Windows Server 2008 R2 has been successfully installed and activated.


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