How to Install Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 is all the buzz lately …

We’ve already told you how to score your free copy of Server 2008 that Microsoft is giving away at their launch events.

So today I’ll show you all the steps to installing Windows Server 2008. We’ll briefly go over the different editions and hardware requirements and then get right into the installation.

But before we get started, I do want to mention that we will be releasing comprehensive training covering Server 2008 that Ben “Coach” Culbertson is working on, so keep an eye out for it if you’re interested in learning more.

Windows Server 2008 Editions

Server 2008 comes in eight different flavors, the editions include:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition (x86 and x86-64)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition (x86 and x86-64)
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition (x86 and x86-64)
  • Windows Web Server 2008 (x 86 and x86-64)
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 (x86 and x86-64)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 (Codenamed Cougar) (x86-64)
  • Windows Server Codenamed “Centro” (for mid-markets)(x86-64)
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (IA-64)

The first three editions — Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter — should be quite familiar to all of you who have used Windows Server 2000 or 2003 in the past. And most of you will probably be using one of these three editions.

Next we have Windows Web Server, main purpose of which is to handle IIS 7.0. There’s also the Windows Storage Server which is primarily for Storage Area Networks (SAN).

The next two are for small to medium-size businesses and they are the SBS 2008 and Server “Centro”. These two haven’t been released just yet, but they are currently in beta mode.

The last version on the list is for Itanium based systems that use the 64-bit Itanium processor. Now let’s move on to requirements.

Windows Server 2008 Hardware Requirements

When it comes to the minimum requirements for your server, you will need at least 10GB of Hard Disk Space, but you really want to get as much as possible to optimize your server performance.

1GHz 32-bit processor is required, but again this is just the bare minimum. I would recommend getting at least 2GHz.

As far as RAM is concerned, you must have 512MB but again, you should get at least 2GB. Now here is something quite interesting, the MS Server 2008 Standard Edition has a maximum limit of 4GB of RAM, so even if you install more RAM you will only be using 4GB with the Standard Edition.

You’ll also need a DVD drive to run the install, and lastly what Coach Culbertson calls “the blinding flash of the obvious” — your Network Card needs to be installed.

Windows Server 2008 Installation

To start the installation go ahead and boot up the server and insert your Installation DVD/CD.

1. When the Install Windows box comes up go ahead and make the language, time and keyboard selections. When ready, click on the Next button:

Server 2008 Installation 1

2. In the next window, go ahead and click on the Install Now button in the middle of the screen … duh, I know …

Server 2008 Installation 2

3. Locate the product key on your CD case and enter it into the Product key field. When finished, click Next:

Server 2008 Installation 3

4. Select the Windows version that you want to install, but make sure you select the one that you actually purchased, as the pricing for different editions is quite different.

In our example we are going to select the Enterprise edition. We are also going to check the box next to “I have selected the edition of Windows that I purchased”. When ready, go ahead and click Next:

Server 2008 Installation 4

5. Check the box for accepting the license terms and click Next:

Server 2008 Installation 5

6. If this is an upgrade from windows server 2003 you will need to select the Upgrade option all the way on top.

In this example however, we are going to use the Custom option, and we’ll install a clean copy of Windows. So go ahead and make your selection by clicking on the appropriate option:

Server 2008 Installation 6

7. Now you can select which hard disk you want to install the Windows on. In this example we only have one disk listed so we will select it and then click Next:

Server 2008 Installation 7

8. Once the disk is selected, stand back and relax. Windows are installing …

Server 2008 Installation 8

9. Once the first part of the installation is completed, your server will restart and you will get a prompt to change your password. So click the OK button and change your password:

Server 2008 Installation 9

Server 2008 Installation 10

10. Once you change your new password you will see the Initial Configuration Tasks window.

Let’s start with changing the time zone. Click on the Set time zone link at the top:

Server 2008 Installation 11

11. Now this part is easy. In the Date and Time window, click on the change time zone button and select your time zone. Once finished, click OK to get out of the window:

Server 2008 Installation 12

12. Our next step is to configure networking:

Server 2008 Installation 13

Double click on the Local Area Connection and then click on the Properties button:

Server 2008 Installation 14

13. By default IPv6 is enabled, but if you are not going to use it, un-check it — in our example we are going to do exactly that. We’ll un-check IPv6 and then double-click on the IPv4 to open the properties box:

Server 2008 Installation 15

14. Select the use the following IP address radio button and enter your static IP address, subnet mask, default gateway as well as your preferred DNS server. When finished, click the OK button twice and then close:

Server 2008 Installation 16

15. Our next step is to provide the computer name and domain. So let’s go ahead and select that link:

Server 2008 Installation 17

16. To rename the computer, click on the change button:

Server 2008 Installation 18

Type in the new computer name then select the Domain radio button and enter the domain name.

In our example we are only going to change the computer name and leave the setting on Workgroup:

Server 2008 Installation 19

17. Now you need to restart your computer so click OK and wait for the server to boot up:

Server 2008 Installation 20

18. At this point we have completed the first set of tasks — specifying computer information.

We are going to move along and continue with updating your Windows server task list, so let’s click on the Enable automatic updating and feedback link.

Server 2008 Installation 21

19. You will have two choices here: You can enable the automatic updating or you can manually configure the settings. We are going to enable it as it is recommended:

Server 2008 Installation 22

20. We are going to skip the next task, which involves downloading and installing updates, since we have the most recent version of Windows.

If you are not sure if your version is the latest available, go ahead click on the link and install the updates:

Now you are ready to proceed with the next set of tasks — Customizing Your Server. When you customize your server, you will be able to add roles, features, enable remote desktop as well as configure windows firewall. But we’ll leave this for my next article.


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