Windows Server 2012 – Installing Active Directory Domain Services

server 2012 logo

Today I set about installing Windows Server 2012 in a virtual test environment. Further down the road I plan to look at publishing remote applications, but for now let’s begin with installing Active Directory.

This is a basic outline of the post-installation steps that I will follow:

  • Change the machine name
  • Set a static IP address
  • Install Windows Updates
  • Install Active Directory Domain Services
  • Promote server to Domain Controller

1. Change the machine name

From the desktop press Ctrl + X and then click System on the pop-up menu. Under Computer name, domain and workgroup settings click Change Settings.


In the System Properties window click the Change button and then change the Computer name. Click OK to exit.

2. Set a Static IP Address

From the Start Screen click Control Panel and then click Network and Sharing Center and then click the link for your Ethernet connection.


In the Ethernet Status window click the Properties button. Scroll down and select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and then click the Properties button.

Set your static IP address, Subnet mask, Default gateway and Preferred DNS server.


My settings are provided just so that you have a screenshot. I am using a NAT network provided by VMware Player.


3. Check for Windows Updates

From the Start Screen click Control Panel and then click Windows Update. If necessary turn updates on and then Check for updates and install them.

4. Installing Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS)

From the Server Manager Dashboard click Add roles and features.

Install ADDS 01

Review the Before you begin screen for any actions that are required prior to installing roles, role services or features, and then click Next.

Install ADDS 02

Select Role-based or feature-based installation and then click Next.

Install ADDS 03

Select your server from the server pool and then click Next.

Install ADDS 04

Select Active Directory Domain Services from the list.

Install ADDS 05

Review the role services and features to be installed and click the Add Features button.

Install ADDS 06

You will be returned to the Server Roles page of the Add Roles and Features Wizard, click Next to proceed.

On the Features page of the Wizard the Group Policy Management feature is automatically selected, click Next.

Install ADDS 07

Review the AD DS page and then click Next. If you do not have a DNS server on your network you will be prompted to install DNS later.

Install ADDS 08

The Confirmation page gives the option to Export configuration settings and to Restart the destination server automatically if required. Configure as required and then click Install.

Install ADDS 09

The previously selected roles and features will now be installed. Click Close to exit the wizard.

Install ADDS 10

5. Promote Windows Server 2012 to a Domain Controller

An Alert notification will appear on the Server Manager Dashboard prompting you to Promote this server to a domain controller.

Install ADDS 11

Review the domain deployment options. I will Add a new forest called Pricklytech.local. Click Next.

Install ADDS 12

Select the Forest functional level (FFL) and the Domain functional level (DFL) from the two drop-down menus – they should be set to the highest level that your environment supports (to enable as many AD features as possible). The FFL, for example, can be set to Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2012.

Next specify domain controller capabilities. I have Domain Name System (DNS) server selected as I do not yet have a DNS server in this particular test environment. You will also notice that Global Catalog is checked and greyed out – because this is the first domain controller in a new forest.

Type and confirm the Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) password. DSRM is  a safe mode boot option that is used to repair / recover Active Directory.

Click Next.

Install ADDS 13

Review the DNS delegation alert. In my environment no action is required – so after closing the alert I clicked Next.

Install ADDS 14

The NetBIOS domain name is supplied – click Next.

Install ADDS 15

The default paths for the AD DS database, log files, and SYSVOL are displayed. Click Next.

Install ADDS 16

Review your selections. You can export a Powershell script to automate additional installations by clicking the View script button. Click Next.

Install ADDS 17

Install ADDS 18

A prerequisite check is run. If All prerequisite checks passed successfully click Install to continue.

Install ADDS 19

Once the server is successfully promoted it was automatically rebooted.

Install ADDS 20


2 thoughts on “Windows Server 2012 – Installing Active Directory Domain Services

  1. Thank you, Michael, just what I needed. The one snag that I had was I was promoting a hosted server, I briefly forgot that I needed to type newdomainname\username in my RDP login window. I do wish your screen caps were a little larger, they’re a bit hard to read.

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