Installation of Windows Server 2012
Installing Windows Server 2012 is not much different from its older version of Windows Server 2008 R2. If you need to download Windows Server 2012 media, you can obtain the install ISO from Microsoft for free. The Windows Server 2012 evaluation site is located here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/hh670538.aspx. The installation media starts a Windows PE or Pre-Install Environment, which has the new Server 2012 window dressing like the boot screen.
The setup program will start and basically it looks the same as Windows Server 2008 R2. A little feature that has always been in the product is the ability to hit Shift-F10 to obtain a command prompt. This will allow you some out of band management and allows you direct access to the existing hard drive and file system. In older versions of the client operating system (Windows XP) you could bring up solitaire while you installed.
The edition selection screen has some new options basically Windows Server 2012 Standard edition and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition. Both editions can be installed with full GUI or core install. However the only difference between Datacenter and Standard edition is licensing for VMs, there are no limits within the product.
After selecting the edition and type of install you have to answer the familiar EULA.
The next screen allows you to pick if it is an upgrade or new installation.
You can then pick the drive to install Windows Server 2012 to. You can also load drivers for RAID controllers not picked up in the Out Of Box driver set.
The installation screen is when the setup program partitions the drive. Then it copies the OS files to the drive. The copy process is similar to an ImageX process or DISM process. These OS files are being uncompressed from the install.wim file located in the sources folder.
Windows will reboot…
When Server 2012 boots up with the new files on the drive, it will perform hardware detection. It will also build its registry files and ready the operating system for use. The OOBE or Out Of Box Experience pass is being done and the Generalization pass is also being performed. Server 2012 will need to reboot once more, but the next time it boots up it will have all of the drivers it detected instantiated.
The first run will start and you will be prompted to put a complex password in. I use for demonstration purposes a password of “Password20!”, since it uses lower case, upper case, numbers and characters.
Server 2012 will build your profile from the default profile locally. We are then prompted with the default desktop, where we can press the good old CTRL-ALT-Delete keys to logon.
Once you logon to the desktop, Server Manager will start. The first task is to do the initial configuration of the server. These tasks include changing the server name, time zone and network properties.