So, you’ve installed a new server with Server 2008 R2 Core – what next? Logging on, you’re presented with a shiny command prompt, you can run notepad or regedit…but aside from that, where do you go from there? In the next few series of posts I’ll hopefully point out the basics, and some not so basics!
I’m going to look at some management tasks – the bread and butter of being a Windows admin.
Activating Server 2008 Core is done via a pre-packaged script called slmgr.vbs - “Windows Software Licensing Management Tool”
Firstly, you have to install a Product Key (unless it was done during your install)
cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk <Product Key>
After that, it’s just a case of automatic activation, assuming you have internet access
cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato
If you’ve not got internet access for the server you can use the /dti option to get the Activation ID, call the Microsoft Licensing and Activation line and tap it in. Then use the /atp option to enter the response and activate.
If you read the last post in this series, Configuring Server 2008 R2 Core Series: Network Settings, you may have seen the option in sconfig.cmd to set Windows Update settings. That’s the first, interactive, way to configure Windows Updates. It’s worth noting that the easiest way to do this is via your Group Policies, if you’re on a domain.
=============================================================================== Server Configuration ===============================================================================
Domain/Workgroup: Domain: MCGEOWN.LOCAL
Computer Name: ServerCore2008
Add Local Administrator
Configure Remote Management
Windows Update Settings: Manual
Download and Install Updates
Remote Desktop: Disabled
Date and Time
Log Off User
Shut Down Server
Exit to Command Line
Enter number to select an option: 5
Windows Update currently set to: Manual Select (A)utomatic or (M)anual updates: A
Enabling Automatic updates…
The second method is the more command-line, scripting method. This sets it to download automatically and install at 3am every day (“/au 1” disables, “/au /v” shows current value):
Cscript c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /au 4
Similarly to Windows Updates, remote management can be configured via sconfig.cmd or command line. Here’s how:
Enter number to select an option: 4 -------------------------------- Configure Remote Management --------------------------------
Allow MMC Remote Management
Enable Windows PowerShell
Allow Server Manager Remote Management
Show Windows Firewall settings
Return to main menu
Enter selection: 1
Enabling MMC firewall exceptions and Virtual Disk Service…
Enter selection: 2
Enabling Windows PowerShell… Setting Windows PowerShell execution policy to remotesigned…
[Server requests a reboot here - you can’t enable Server Manager until it’s done]
Enter selection: 3
Setting Windows PowerShell execution policy to remotesigned… Enabling Server Manager cmdlets…
Configuring Remote Server Manager settings…
If you need to do this via the command line, it happens like this…
C:\Users\Administrator> winrm quickconfig WinRM is not set up to allow remote access to this machine for management. The following changes must be made: Create a WinRM listener on HTTP://* to accept WS-Man requests to any IP on this machine. Make these changes [y/n]? y WinRM has been updated for remote management. Created a WinRM listener on HTTP://* to accept WS-Man requests to any IP on this machine.
Fire up PowerShell (powershell.exe) and set the execution policy to RemoteSigned
Then enable the Remote Administration rules on the firewall:
netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Remote Administration" new enable=yes
To configure management by Remote Desktop, you can run the now-familiar sconfig.cmd and select option 7, or you can issue the following commands:
cscript c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /ar 0
netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=“Remote Desktop” new enable=yes
Bear in mind that your RDP session will need TLS authentication and will not give you a desktop or GUI, just the command line interface. If you need to disable TLS for older clients (e.g. XP) you have to disable it with the following command:
cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf /cs 0
With all those steps completed, you should be able to connect to your server with Remote Server Administration Tools on any Server 2008 or Windows 7 computer.
This is my Windows 7 PC connected via “Server Manager”
To connect via WinRS (Windows Remote Shell) and execute remote commands, use:
winrs -r:<server name> <command>
winrs –r:<Server Name> cmd
Allows me access to the command shell on that server.
Finally, this is what RDP to the same server looks like:
Hopefully that gives you a few options for managing your Windows Server 2008 Core machine!