Manage and Configuring Server Core in Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server Core is an installation option introduce with Windows Server 2008. It provides the minimal environment for running specific server roles. I ll mentioned the roles that support in late in this post. In Server Core installation it not include any graphical interface  such as desktop shell, GUI,Windows Explore,IE and MMC (Microsoft Management Control)


Lets jump in to how we configure Windows Server Core 2012 R2

How we launch command prompt in Server Core 

In the boot after you log  in to server it automatically prompt the Powershell command prompt if you accidentally close the prompt you will get excited how i can get it back because there no start button or GUI don’t get panic  🙂  follow following steps,

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete (If you’re using Hyper-V VM Ctrl+Alt+End)
  • Select Task Manager
  • In Task Manager  select File,New Task(Run)
  • In New Task dialog box,type powershell.exe and click OK.

Change the Server Core Administrator Password

After you initial password has set following are the command to change the administrator password

Net user administrator *

After enter the command it prompt for the password to enter,enter the password and press enter the it prompt for retype for confirmation process. It’s best practice to use a strong password using A-Z,0-9,Special Characters.

Net user administrator *
Net user administrator *


Changing the Server Core Machine Name 

After installing of server core one of the step we had to follow is change the machine name. As a default it assign a name which start with WIIN-xxxxxx and same numbers and characters,remembering this hug name is hard,so it’s a good practice to change it, we can change it by using following command.

netdom renamecomputer <ComputerName> /newname: <NewComputerName>

Replace the <CurrentComputerName> argument with the existing host name (you can find the host name by the command hostname ) and <NewComputerName> argument with new host name we can show it as following

netdom renamecomputer %computername% /newname:Server2012
netdom renamecomputer %computername% /newname:Server2012


In above command i replace <CurrentComputerName> argument with %computername% in this it act as a placeholder and take the current computer name and replace it there.You must restart the computer to affect this change we can verify it by the command hostname.

Change computer name Conferme

The same function we can accomplish by using PowerShell

Rename-Computer -Name Server2012 -Restart 

Change computer name powershell

NOTE-Here i use a parameter called -WhatIf What it exactly do is it gives what will happen if this command executed 

Assigning a Static IPv4 IP Address and DNS Settings 

Another important configuration you have to do is assign IP Address and DNS settings,before we do that we have to know what are the network interfaces are used so to do that we can follow following command

netsh interface ipv4 show interface 


netsh interface ipv4 show interface
netsh interface ipv4 show interface


The next step is to take a note of network interface name and unique ID that you must change the settings. ID is located at left column and it referred as Idx .

We can use the following command to change the IP Address of the destination interface

netsh interface ipv4 set address name =”<ID/Name>” source=static address=<IPAddress> mask=<SubnetMask> gateway=<DefaultGateway>



netsh interface ipv4 set address name ="" source=static address= mask= gateway
netsh interface ipv4 set address name =”” source=static address= mask= gateway

The final step is to configure the primary & secondary DNS entry to the interface we can do this by the following  command

netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name=<ID/Name> address=<IPAddress> index=1

netsh interfaceipv4 add dnsserver name= address= index=1
netsh interfaceipv4 add dnsserver name= address= index=1

There is another way to do this by using PowerShell lets look how it can be done


New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceIndex 12 -AddressFamily ipv4  -IPAddress    -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway -Verbose 

IPv4 Settings powershell 2
New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceIndex 12 -AddressFamily ipv4 -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway -Verbose

Set DNS Sever Using PowerShell

Set-DNSCliendServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 12 -ServerAddress,

We can verify it by using following cmdlet

Get-DNSCliendServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 12

SetDNS Powershell
Set-DNSCliendServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 12 -ServerAddress, Get-DNSCliendServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 12


Get-NetInterface output details of all the inputs attached to the server

In New-NetIPAddress cmdlet -PrefixLength means the Subnet Mask  of the network i shown it as slash notation -Verbose means it gives an output of details what happens

NOTE – i assumed this is a fresh installation and there are no any ip settings done if you have previous configurations and you want to change it you can use Set-NetIPAddress cmdlet


 Adding the Server Core System to Domain

we can use the following command for the illustration

netdom join <ComputerName>  /domain:<domain>  /OU:<OUPath>  /userd:<domain>  <username>  /passwordD:*

We can use PowerShell to do the same configuration

Add-Computer -domainName -OUPath “OU=OU,Domain=,DC=com”


Activating Server Core System

You can activate server core by using two simple steps lets look how we can do it

slmgr.vbs -ipk<ProductKey>

After entering the correct key we can use the following command to activate it

slmgr.vbs -ato


Using SCONFIG to Configure a Server Core Installation

Windows Server 2012 includes a utility to make the inertial configuration or core installation easier.The SCONFIG utility,which has been available since Windows Server 2018 R2 is very easy to use and preferred way to use.

We can execute this by running sconfig.exe in command prompt and we get a prompt as follows


That’s all for today lets see you in future post 

Bye for now 




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  • Gayan K (ගයියා)

    Good!!! will read this again after the exam, didn’t understand some parts..

  • Thanks any question tweet me or drop a message 🙂

  • Geenath

    good work bro 😀