Server Core

Installation Notes

If you’re deploying Windows servers, Server Core is best practice1. Install from USB and it will offer that as a choice - it’s fairly painless. But these instances are designed to be remote-managed so you’ll need to perform a few post-install tasks to help with that.

Server Post-Installation Tasks

Set a Manual IP Address

The IP is DHCP by default and that’s fine if you create a reservation at the DHCP server or just use DNS. If you require a manual address, however:

# Access the PowerShell interface (you can use the server console if desired)

# Identify the desired interface's index number. You'll see multiple per adapter for IP4 and 6 but the interface index will repeat.
Get-NetIPInterface

# Set a manual address, netmask and gateway using that index (12 in this example)
New-NetIPaddress -InterfaceIndex 12 -IPAddress 192.168.0.2 -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway 192.168.0.1

# Set DNS
Set-DNSClientServerAddress –InterfaceIndex 12 -ServerAddresses 192.168.0.1

Allow Pings

This is normally a useful feature, though it depends on your security needs.

Set-NetFirewallRule -Name FPS-ICMP4-ERQ-In -Enabled True

Allow Computer Management

Server core allows ‘Remote Management’ by default2. That is specifically the Server Manager application that ships with Windows Server versions and is included with the Remote Server Admin Tools on Windows 10 professional3 or better. For more detailed work you’ll need to use the Computer Management feature as well. If you’re all part of AD, this is reported to Just Work(TM). If not, you’ll need to allow several ports for SMB and RPC.

# Port 445
Set-NetFirewallRule -Name FPS-SMB-In-TCP -Enabled True

# Port 135
Set-NetFirewallRule -Name WMI-RPCSS-In-TCP -Enabled True


maybe 
FPS-NB_Name-In-UDP
NETDIS-LLMNR-In-UDP

Configuration

Remote Management Client

If you’re using windows 10/11, install it on a workstation by going to System -> Optional features -> View features and enter Server Manager in the search box to select and install.

With AD

When you’re all in the same Domain then everything just works (TM). Or so I’ve read.

Without AD

If you’re not using Active Directory, you’ll have to do a few extra steps before using the app.

Trust The Server

Tell your workstation you trust the remote server you are about to manage4 (yes, seems backwards). Use either the hostname or IP address depending on how your planning to connect - i.e. if you didn’t set up DNS use IPs. Start an admin powershell and enter:

Set-Item wsman:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts 192.168.5.1 -Concatenate -Force
Add The Server

Start up Server Manager and select Manage -> Add Servers -> DNS and search for the IP or DNS name. Pay attention the server’s name that it detects. If DNS happens to reslove the IP address you put in, as server-1.local for example, you’ll need to repeat the above TrustedHosts command with that specific name.

Manage As…

You may notice that after adding the server, the app tries to connect and fails. You’ll need to right-click it and select Manage As… and enter credentials in the form of server-1\Administrator and select Remember me to have this persist. Here you’ll need to use the actual server name and not the IP. If unsure, you can get this on the server with the hostname command.

Starting Performance Counters

The server you added should now say that it’s performance counters are not started. Right-click to and you can select to start them. The server should now show up as Online and you can perform some basic tasks.

server-1.local\Administrator

Server Manager is the default management tool and newer servers allow remote management by default. The client needs a few things, however.

  • Set DNS so you can resolve by names
  • Configure Trusted Hosts

On the system where you start the the Server Manager app - usually where you are sitting - ensure you can resolve the remote host via DNS. You may want to edit your hosts file if not.

notepad c:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

You can now add the remote server.

Manage -> Add Servers -> DNS -> Search Box (enter the other servers hostname) -> Magnifying Glass -> Select the server -> Right Arrow Icon -> OK

(You man need to select Manage As on it)

Allow Computer Management

You can right-click on a remote server and select Computer Management after doing this

MISC

Set-NetFirewallProfile -Profile Domain, Public, Private -Enabled False


Last modified April 3, 2024: Adding windows server core notes (06caa3c)