Basic Server Core Installation for Windows Server 2012 R2


Server Core is a minimal server installation option for Windows Server that provides a low-maintenance server environment with limited functionality. Starting with Windows Server 2012, it is possible to transition between Full Server and Server Core without reinstalling the operating system

The server installations with core user interface do not differ much from installations with GUI, only for hardware profile it was needed to select “Server 2012 Standard Core” and for installation it was needed to select “Windows Server 2012 Standard Evaluation (Server Core Installation) x64 7/26/2012” installation option.

Customization for Core:

In the core user interface all customizing settings have been made to finalize a basic server installation. Almost all customization changes can be made with “sconfig” application. Sconfig provides the options to change the most popular settings. First one is to change the server name, time zone and network settings.

Reboot can be done with command.Restart-Computer

Removing the installation media and changing an optical drive to physical K(Not Specific): drive to hardware profile in the host computer are the next tasks. After that it is necessary to remove a floppy device from VM hardware profile and the “autoinst.flp” file from virtual machine’s personal folder. Starting up the virtual machine and installing complete VMware Tools installation, are the next tasks. After the restart it is time to configure the Windows Update, installing updates automatically and included with recommended updates were good settings for the test environment, the easiest way to achieve this was with the Sconfig application. Searching, downloading and installing the latest updates, restarting the computer if needed.




Above is the basic core server console but we can change it to Power Shell shell with below command.

Set-ItemProperty -Path ‘HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon’ -name Shell -Value ‘PowerShell.exe -noExit’

It contains different settings with core interface by default than with GUI. It is also necessary to change the colors and other settings after restart when PowerShell is the shell .The necessary changes were activate QuickEdit Mode, change font to Lucida Console with size 12. The layout is changed to 1024×768 resolution; Screen Buffer Size with width 141 and height 3000. Windows Size with width 141 and height 60 and Window Position from left 0 and from top 0 without let system position window. The colors are changed; Screen Text (238,237,240), Screen Background (1, 36, 86), Popup Text (0,128,128) and Popup Background (255,255,255), color options are (red, green, blue). The options, Font and Colors are now set the same with PowerShell in the GUI, as shown in below figure:



Above figure shows there is no longer small Command Prompt shell with visible unused black background. The shell is now PowerShell shell with optimized size for display resolution.

The next task is to change time and currency formats right with command.

Control intl.cpl

Other task is to disable the hibernation feature and it is done with command.

Powercfg –h off

The hibernation feature is not needed for virtualized installations. Now the server with core user interface is ready for management computer and roles and features. We can do many changes with powercfg command as per environment requirements.

Other settings/installations can also be done with command line/scripts according to you customer requirement.




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