Monday, June 17, 2013

Setup Windows Server 2012 Core Computer for Domain

You have provisioned a new Windows Server 2012 server core machine and you want to connect it to the domain.  Before you do this there are 5 steps you generally want to perform:
  • Rename the computer
  • Change the IP to static
  • Join it to the domain
  • Enter Product Key and Activate (not required if KMS is in use)
  • Install Windows Updates
This article provides the commands and steps required to join a new Server 2012 server to the domain from command line so that it can be managed remotely using the Server 2012 GUI tools.

Rename Windows Server 2012 using NETDOM

Execute the following command to rename the server using the NetDom utility.

netdom renamecomputer Server2012 /NewName FileServer

Server2012 is the current name of the server, FileServer is the new name.  After the rename is complete you will need to restart with the following command:

shutdown -r -f -t 0

Upon reboot type "hostname" to identify the computer was renamed.

Configure the Network Interface

Next your going to most likely want to configure a static IP unless your intending to use DHCP to provide network configuration to your Windows Server 2012 computer.

The first step is to identify the name of the interface by executing the following netsh command.

netsh interface ip show config

Next you can set the IP address, Subnet Mask and Gateway with the following command:

netsh interface ip set address name="Ethernet" static 1

To configure a primary DNS server and secondary DNS server for your "Ethernet" network interface use the following commands:

netsh interface ip set dns name="Local Area Connection" static
netsh interface ip add dns name="Local Area Connection" index=2

Validate the configuration with IPCONFIG /ALL

Join the Computer to the Domain

To join the Server 2012 computer to the domain execute the following command.

netdom join FileServer /domain:corporatedomain.local /userd:domain/username /passwordd:password

After the computer is joined execute the following command to reboot the server.

shutdown -r -f -t 0

For security purposes I blurred out my domain name, username and password.

Now your ready to go, your new Server 2012 system is on the domain.  As an optional task you can add domain groups to the local admins group on the system using the following command.

net localgroup administrators /add DomainName\UserName

Enter Product Key and Activate

Enter the product key and activate Windows provided you do not have a Key Management Server (KMS) on your network.  To enter the product key use the following command:

start /w slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX

To Activate Windows use the following command.

start /w slmgr.vbs -ato

Install Windows Updates

To install the Windows Updates on server core we need to use a tool called sconfig.exe.  Launch sconfig.exe from command line.

Select option 6 to download and install updates.
Next select A to install All Updates.


Lastly select A to install all updates or alternatively select single updates to install from the list.



  1. Thanks for this guide' I will use this guide to setup windows server on my own. Looking forward for your next post.


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