Installing SQL Server 2008R2 on a Windows 2008R2 Core Server


The purpose of this document is to help DBAs install SQL Server 2008 R2 in a Windows Core server.

With Windows Core you are getting a more secure operating system as it only installs the basics necessary for a Window Server to get started. You will have to add functions/roles/application(s) in order to setup your database environment. Because of this basic setup you do not get a GUI, “Start” button, Internet Explorer or even Windows Explorer. All you get is a command line window. See Image 1.

Image 1

So let’s start. First you need to install Windows Core. When you insert your DVD or run the ISO you execute the setup.exe program. When then menu window opens you are asked what edition of Windows you want to install. Here you select  ”Windows Core” and follow the prompts. This article will not go through the Windows Core installation as there other documents from Microsoft and this site on how to perform this setup. Here is the Microsoft link for the Windows Core installation:

Once you reboot and log in (by default the Administrator’s password is blank and you are asked to change it) you will see a command window like the image above.

Now what do you do? Well you can run commands like netsh, net, dir, etc. However there is an easier way to help configure your new server. You can execute an application called “sconfig” from the command line, This application comes with the installation of Windows Core. When executed a new window will open.  See Image 2.

Image 2

I have removed my information from the image as this is not important for this document. The first thing to do is to add your new server to the domain. WIth the "sconfig" tool executed you add your server to the domain by press number “1” and follow the prompts which guide you through the process. If you are not sure how this is done have your Network Administrator work along with you to complete this step.

Once you reboot your Windows Core server you can get back to this menu again by typing “sconfig”. **Make sure you log back into your server with an ID that has domain admin writes.

The next step is to go through the rest of the setting and adjust as needed.  You have two options here. You can use the build in tool called “sconfig” or a free tool called "Core Configurator".

If you feel more confortable with a GUI interface to setup these fucntions/features, use the "Core Configurator" tool which can be found on the “CodePlex” website here so just go to the site and download it. Once downloaded you need to copy the file(s) from your PC hard drive on your Windows Core server. This can be done by mapping to it. That is on your PC map a drive letter or you can use \\MYSERVERNAME\C$ where MYSERVERNAME is the name of your Windows CORE server.

Remotely connect to your Windows Core server and at the prompt change directory to this new folder (cd\yourfoldername) where you have copied the files to and execute the application by typing “Start_CoreConfig.wsf”. If you don’t see this file you may have to extract the .ZIP or .ISO file you downloaded. Once you execute you will see the following GUI application. See Image 3.

Image 3

With either tool you should configure the following:

  • Firewall settings
  • Allow Server Manager Remote Management
  • Enable powershell
  • Download and install updates.

Select each section and once again follow the prompts. Again if you need more help talk to your Network Administrator or view more documents at

Here you see a much nicer interface to use. To make changes, like the ones listed earlier in this article, you can just click on the “Control panel” button and select what options you want to configure. Read each section and follow the prompts.

The next step is to install the .NET 3.5 features as it is a requirement of SQL 2008R2 Server. To install .NET feature click on “Computer setting”  you will see the following. See Image 4.

Image 4

Finally click on “Add or Remove Roles”. There are many roles and features you can install but .NET is what you will need to get the SQL Server installation going. Scroll down the list until you see “NetFx3-ServerCore”, select it and click on apply. Once completed you will be ready to install SQL server.

Now you are ready to install SQL Server. Either copy the SQL Server installation files to a new folder on the C: drive of the Windows Core server or run it from you DVD drive. Make your way to the folder that contains the “setup.exe” an execute it. A familular GUI will appear and you perform your installation just was you would on any other server. This document will not be covering the SQL Server installation  If you have not performed a SQL Server install before, you can find many documents and help on this site and read the Microsoft document here:

After your SQL Server installation you can use the SQL Server Management Studios (SSMS), right? No, there is no GUI on the Windows Core server. So from your desktop you would use the SSMS tool to finish off your installation.

In your SSMS tool, add you new SQL server by using the “New Server Registration” and enter your server name and save the addition. You will not be able to connect at this point. You will need to right click on the new SQL server name and select ”SQL Server Configuration Manager”. See Image 5.

Image 5

Select the Client protocal you need and then start all your SQL Server service. Once all SQL related services are running you can now go back to SSMS and connect to your new SQL server installation and perform any other task you need.  

Hope this helps in your installation of SQL Server on to a Windows Core Server. If you need more information you can search the Microsoft web site.



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3.71 (7)