Windows Server Installation and Startup

Windows Server is a variant of Windows created by Microsoft. Usually this version of Windows is reserved for companies and professionals alike due to business-class functionality and management software such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, IIS(Internet Information Services) web/FTP server and many more.

Why Windows Server

It is true that the majority of internet-based systems worldwide are running on a variant of Linux/Unix and that many companies would prefer running them for minimum overhead in performance and highly-customizable deployment options tailored to their needs. I will tell you this though that Windows Server can do the same and there are actually viable reasons to run a Windows Server:

Simplicity

Windows Server runs on a desktop environment exactly like standard Windows which allows for a user to deploy and manage numerous programs/services all straight from the GUI, saving time and frustration. On top of that, if you’re experienced with command line you can always install Windows Server without the desktop in a similar manner to Linux, but with just the command line box open and the ability to manage it from another Windows PC via GUI.

Compatibility

There are several unique programs that are only compatible with Windows and would be near impossible to find an alternative on another platform. Although Microsoft is making great strides bringing their software to Linux(see SQL Server).

Integration

Windows works best with Microsoft’s products. Many companies depend on software such as Exchange Server for running an email server or Sharepoint for office-based management, collaboration of documents, and storage.

Installation

In this guide, we are going to be installing the latest version of Windows Server 2019, click here to download the evaluation. You will need to select ISO as the evaluation file type, click continue and fill out your personal information before being able to download. We will also be using an USB flash drive and Rufus to create our bootable drive from the ISO.

Note: this version of Windows Server 2019 is an evaluation, which is valid for only 180 days. After that you will need to obtain a valid licensing key from an authorized Microsoft reseller.

Once you have finished downloading the ISO, proceed to opening Rufus. Insert the USB flash drive into your computer.

Click the select button and navigate to the folder where your ISO was placed and click OK. We will be using MBR for our partition scheme and BIOS (or UEFI-CSM) for Target system. You are free to put whatever name you like in Volume label. When you are ready click start and wait for completion.

Eject your USB flash drive and plug it into the computer that you’ll be installing Windows Server on. Make sure your BIOS is configured to boot the USB flash drive first. Refer to your motherboard/computer manual for more details.

Once you’ve reached Windows Setup, configure your installation language, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method as you see fit. Click Next.

You will now select an operating system to install, currently the ISO contains 2 versions of Windows Server 2019: Standard and Datacenter. Also they both come in 2 variants: Desktop Experience and the regular one. We will be going with Standard Evaluation (Desktop Experience), click on that and click Next.

Since this is a new storage drive, we will be going with the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option as we do not have an existing Windows installation on here. Even if you have Windows already installed I highly recommend you go with this option as this will allow us to reformat the hard drive and perform a clean installation which is better.

You will now select a drive to install Windows Server on. Before we do that, click on Format to reformat our hard drive. If your drive already has an existing partition and doesn’t display “Unallocated Space”, you will need click on Delete first before formatting the drive. Afterwards click New to create a primary partition for Windows Server and click OK. Click Next.

Windows Setup will now install Windows Server 2019. Depending on your CPU/RAM, and whether you are using a regular hard drive or SSD, this will take some time. Upon reboot, remove your USB flash drive and proceed to startup.

You are asked to make up a password(1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, a number) consisting of 8 characters for your Administrator account. Hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete to login and enter the password that you’ve just created.

Server Manager will launch automatically at the desktop, a message pops up asking you to try out Windows Admin Center, click on the checkbox and OK.

You have now successfully installed Windows Server 2019! For additional configuration, check out my article here.