Sunday, October 2, 2011

Installing Windows Server 2008

Installing Windows Server 2008 is different from previous installs of Windows Server platforms. There is no text-based phase. The installation is now done in a GUI and the install process is very similar to Windows Vista.

Windows Server 2008 Editions
Server Core
Windows Server 2008 Standard (small offices or workgroups)
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (greater scalability, failover clustering, AD Fed Services) 
Windows Server 2008 DataCenter (larger orgs and server consolidation projects, greater memory and processing power, unlimited virtual image use rights)
Windows Web Server 2008 (standalone server for IIS)
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (highest level of performance and scalabiity, leading rival platform for Risc-based UNIX servers, requires Intel Itanium CPU) 

64-bit processing in Windows Server 2008 is more advanced and doubles the size of the processing data unit and maintains compatibility with the 32-bit architecture.

Windows Server 2008 Installation Requirements
1 GHz Minimum
2 Ghz Recommended
3 Ghz or more Optimal
512 MB RAM Minimum
1 GB RAM Recommended
2 GB RAM or 1 GB or more Server Core Optimal
32-bit 4 GB Standard or 64 GB Enterprise and Datacenter Maximum
64-bit 32 GB Standard or 2 TB Enterprise, Datacenter, Itanium-based systems Maximum
Available Disk Space
8 GB Minimum
40 GB or 10 GB Server Core Recommended
80 GB or 40 GB Server Core Optimal
Optical Drive
Display and Peripherals
Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-res monitor
Microsoft mouse or compatible

The installation will fail on a 64-bit install, if you use unsigned kernel mode device drivers. If a driver is unsigned, then it requires a software publishing certificate. The drivers must be fully tested. Doing this will help to avoid installing malware.

Some network services are supported only by the 64-bit version, such as Exchange Server 2007.

Common install methods:
  • Clean Install
  • Upgrades – Backup servers first with all data and configuration info needed for functionality. Include the boot and system partitions, and system state data in the backup. Creating a backup for an Automated System Recovery is one method to achieve this.
  • Unattended Installs by using answer files, Windows SIM, and Windows AIK
What is Windows System Image Manager? Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) creates and manages unattended Windows Setup answer files in a graphical user interface (GUI).

Answer files are XML-based files that are used during Windows Setup to configure and to customize the default Windows installation.

Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) The Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) is designed to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), system builders, and corporate IT professionals deploy Windows onto new hardware. 
    Microsoft Best Practices for Preparing for any Install:
    • Check for application compatibility
    • Disconnect UPS devices
    • Backup servers
    • Disable antivirus software
    • Run Windows Memory Diagnostic tool
    • Provide mass storage drivers (such as Raid devices)
    • Be aware that Windows Firewall in on by default
    • Prepare Active Directory with Windows Server 2008 updates
    Installing Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Server Core Install):
    In this scenario, I will explain the basic manual Server Core Install. There are no differences between the Windows Server 2008 or the Windows Server 2008 R2 install.
    • Insert Windows Server 2008 installation media 
    • Provide language and preferences
    • Setup.exe copies and installs Windows
    • Administrator configures the server using the Initial Configuration Tasks page at first logon
    Note: When you get to the screen Where do you want to install Windows?, you have an option Format, Extend, or Load Driver.  Load Driver is where you load the driver if you are installing a mass storage controller such as a Raid device, for example, or a non-standard disk controller.

    Select New to create a new partition for the OS. For example, enter 8000 for 8 GB OS. Click Next and the install will begin:

    Note: Only a clean install is supported on a Server Core installation. There is no way to upgrade from a previous version of Windows.
    • Copying files
    • Expanding files
    • Installing features
    • Installing updates
    • Completing installation
    Windows needs to Restart to continue. If you have an LCD screen, the screen will resize itself while rebooting.

    After rebooting, you are presented with the signon screen where you will be required to change the password the first time.

    Since this is a Server Core, you are presented with a command prompt.

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