Active Directory Services on Server Core installations

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Server CoreWindows Server 2012 is a major leap forward for Server Core installations of Windows Server. Not only are Full installations of Windows Server convertible back and forth to Server Core installations without reinstallation, a whole slew of new Server Roles have become available for installation on the mean, clean Server Core installations.

Active Directory Domain Services have been available since day 1 on Server Core installations, but what about the other four services? Can you install these on Server Core?

The table below shows the Active Directory services, available for installation on Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012:

Table with Active Directory Services and their abaility to run on Server Core installations


You can install the Active Directory Services on Server Core installations in four ways:

  1. From the command-line of the Server Core installation using:
    1. dism.exe, pkgmgr.exe or the Install-WindowsFeature / Add-WindowsFeature PowerShell Cmdlet on Windows Server 2012
    2. dism.exe or pkgmgr.exe or the Add-WindowsFeature PowerShell Cmdlet (after you’ve manually installed PowerShell and have imported the ServerManager PowerShell module) on Windows Server 2008 R2
    3. ocsetup.exe or pkgmgr.exe on Windows Server 2008
  2. From the command-line of the Server Core installation over a Remote Desktop Connection.
  3. From a remote command-line of a Full installation of Windows, a full installation of Windows Server or another Server Core installation of Windows Server through remote PowerShell or Windows Remote Management (winrs.exe).
  4. From Server Manager in Windows Server 2012, targeted at a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2012. This method does not work with Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Related blogposts

Installing Server Core Domain Controllers
How to install a Server Core R2 Domain Controller
The importance of Server Core
Server Core Roles and Features in 2008 R2
Some Server Core Domain Controllers heading for a dead end street
How to get going with PowerShell in Server Core R2

Further reading

How to configure Windows Server 2012 Server Core as Domain Controller
How to Configure a Server Core Domain Controller: Vanilla to First DC in a Forest
Windows Server 2008 – Server Core
Install an Additional Domain Controller on Server Core R2

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