Creative Commons

2008-03-25 15:15:01

Windows Server 2008 Install/First Impressions

So I downloaded the Windows Server 2008 CD from Microsoft (which I'm surprised they let people do). I installed it under VMWare on my Fedora 7 laptop and started testing it out.
For starters, the installer was pretty. It looks like more work went into Windows PE than into their real operating systems. This remark is based on Vista only, since I haven't yet gotten to Server 2008. But the installation went rather smoothly. I only allocated 256MB of RAM to the VM and Server 2008 complained. And by complained, I mean threw a tantrum like a 2 year old. It wouldn't go on. I needed 512MB of RAM or it was gonna sit there and cry all day.
So I changed my settings and continued the install. If you don't enter a product key you can choose the type of installation. Just like Vista, Server 2008 comes with every version on one DVD and, depending on what product key you enter, it chooses the correct version to install. Since I don't have a key, I can evaluate any version I want.
No one in their right mind needs to use Enterprise or Data Center edition; firstly because they are ridiculously expensive and secondly because they only offer advantages to super large companies who need 8 processors, 32GB of RAM, etc. Most normal people/companies only need Standard edition for everything they need to do. But your choices don't stop there.
New in this version is the choice to install the whole server OS or just the core. I assumed this was Microsoft's move to a more *nix-style OS, separating the GUI from the kernel. I was kind of wrong.
After it got installed, I was presented with a GUI. That blows that idea out of the water. But it wasn't a full GUI. Nope, all you got was a command prompt. Now, this is where I stop and think, "What were they thinking?" I am presented with a text-only interface inside of a GUI interface. Why couldn't they have just left out the GUI and given you a command prompt interface, similar to the old DOS days? That would have made much more sense. You'll see why soon.
First thing's first, I need to be able to Remote Desktop to this baby. In Server 2003, it was a checkbox. Now, it's a command line script that edits the same registry entry that the checkbox used to do. The script, is "SCregEdit.wsf." Here is the "manpage," which should be helpful...
C:\Windows\System32>cscript scregedit.wsf /? Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.7 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Automatic Updates - Manage Automatic Windows Updates These settings can be used to configure how Automatic Updates are applied to the Windows system. It includes the ability to disable automatic updates and to set the installation schedule. /AU [/v][value] /v View the current Automatic Update settings value value you want to set to. Options: 4 - Enable Automatic Updates 1 - Disable Automatic Updates Terminal Service - Allow Remote Administration Connections This allows administrators to connect remotely for administration purposes. /AR [/v][value] /v View the Remote Terminal Service Connection setting value (0 = enabled, 1 = disabled) Terminal Service - Allow connections from previous versions of Windows This setting configures CredSSP based user authentication for Terminal Service connections /CS [/v][value] /v View the Terminal Service CredSSP setting value (0 = allow previous versions, 1 = require CredSSP) IP Security (IPSEC) Monitor - allow remote management This setting configures the server to allow the IP Security (IPSEC) Monitor to be able to remotely manage IPSEC. /IM [/v][value] /v View the IPSEC Monitor setting value (0 = do not allow, 1 = allow remote management) DNS SRV priority - changes the priority for DNS SRV records This setting configures the priority for DNS SRV records and is only useful on Domain Controllers. For more information on this setting, search TechNet for LdapSrvPriority /DP [/v][value] /v View the DNS SRV priority setting value (value from 0 through 65535. The recommended value is 200.) DNS SRV weight - changes the weight for DNS SRV records This setting configures the weight for DNS SRV records and is only useful on Domain Controllers. For more information on this setting, search TechNet for LdapSrvWeight /DW [/v][value] /v View the DNS SRV weight setting value (value from 0 through 65535. The recommended value is 50.) Command Line Reference This setting displays a list of common tasks and how to perform them from the command line. /CLI
As you can see, this script gives you access to 6 registry settings: Automatic Updates, Remote Administration, Remote Administration CredSSP, IPSEC Monitor, DNS SRV Priority, and DNS SRV Weight. It also tells you that you can get a list of the most common Server 2008 tasks by giving it the /CLI argument. So, let's see what that gives us...
C:\Windows\System32>cscript scregedit.wsf /CLI Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.7 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. To activate: Cscript slmgr.vbs -ato To use KMS volume licensing for activation: Configure KMS volume licensing: cscript slmgr.vbs -ipk [volume license key] Activate KMS licensing cscript slmgr.vbs -ato Set KMS DNS SRV record cscript slmgr.vbs -skma [KMS FQDN] Determine the computer name, any of the following: Set c Ipconfig /all Systeminfo.exe or Hostname.exe Rename the Server Core computer: Domain joined: Netdom renamecomputer %computername% /NewName:new-name /UserD:domain-username /PasswordD:* Not domain joined: Netdom renamecomputer %computername% /NewName:new-name Changing workgroups: Wmic computersystem where name="%computername%" call joindomainorworkgroup name="[new workgroup name]" Install a role or optional feature: Start /w Ocsetup [packagename] Note: For Active Directory, run Dcpromo with an answer file. View role and optional feature package names and current installation state: oclist Start task manager hot-key: ctrl-shift-esc Logoff of a Terminal Services session: Logoff To set the pagefile size: Disable system pagefile management: wmic computersystem where name="%computername%" set AutomaticManagedPagefile=False Configure the pagefile: wmic pagefileset where name="C:\\pagefile.sys" set InitialSize=500,MaximumSize=1000 Configure the timezone, date, or time: control timedate.cpl Configure regional and language options: control intl.cpl Manually install a management tool or agent: Msiexec.exe /i [msipackage] List installed msi applications: Wmic product Uninstall msi applications: Wmic product get name /value Wmic product where name="[name]" call uninstall To list installed drivers: Sc query type= driver Install a driver that is not included: Copy the driver files to Server Core Pnputil -i -a [path]\[driver].inf Rename a Network Adapter: netsh interface set interface name="Local Area Connection" newname="PrivateNetwork" Disable a Network Adapter: netsh interface set interface name="Local Area Connection 2" admin=DISABLED Determine a file's version: wmic datafile where name="c:\\windows\\system32\\ntdll.dll" get version List of installed patches: wmic qfe list Install a patch: Wusa.exe [patchame].msu /quiet Configure a proxy: Netsh winhttp set proxy [proxy_name]:[port] Add, delete, query a Registry value: reg.exe add /? reg.exe delete /? reg.exe query /?
There ya go. From setting the hostname to joining a domain, accessing Control Panel applets to modifying the registry, it's all there. So as I was saying earlier, I think they could have gotten away without a GUI at all. This would have improved the stability, for many reasons, but the biggest being 3rd party GUI apps that can still be run from the console. But as for 1st party applications, most of them are command line based. It would have only taken a little more work to convert the rest of them from GUI to command line.
On the surface, this is a great step for Microsoft. I have not tested Server 2008 core for stability or performance yet, but it does look promising.


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