Jorge's Quest For Knowledge!

All You Need To Know About Identity And Security On-Premises And In The Cloud. It's Just Like An Addiction, The More You Have, The More You Want To Have!

(2010-07-29) Windows Server Core Configurator

Posted by Jorge on 2010-07-29


With Windows Server 2008, Microsoft introduced Server Core into the Windows Server operating system, which is a new installation option. Summarized: Windows Server WITH a GUI is Full Server and Windows Server WITHOUT a GUI is Server Core. You could also call it "Windows without Windows" or "Windows Command Prompt".

Server Core has limited support for GUIs. Because of that a lot of the stuff locally must be done through Command Line Tools already in the operating system or third-party (free) tools. A non-exhaustive list of command line tools in Server Core can be found here.

Server Core is the perfect Windows Server option with the lowest attack surface you can imagine. Lots of the baggage that Full Server has is not available. If it is not available there’s not much left to attack.

Although perfect in terms of security, admins may not feel that well because they do not always know all the required command line utilities with their options to do something on the server.

A while ago, the Server Core Configurator was born which allowed an admin to use a GUI to do stuff locally on Server Core. The story about that tool can be found here. Unfortunately that tool is not available anymore to download. So, what are the options now?

On codeplex you will find two versions of Windows Server Core Configurator. Version 1.1 can be used on Windows Server 2008 Server Core (x86 and x64) and on Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core (x64 only) because it is based upon VB Script. Version 2.0 can only be used on Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core (x64 only) because it leverages PowerShell. The required features are "NetFx-ServerCore Feature" and "PowerShell" and both are only available on the Server Core version of Windows Server 2008 R2. As soon as you start version 2.0 it checks for the required features. If those are not installed, then those will be installed. If you are using Server Core on Windows Server 2008 R2, I really suggest you use version 2.0 of the Windows Server Core Configurator. The GUI is amazing!

Have a look at some screenshots for both versions.

"Windows Server Core Configurator Version 1.1"

image

"Windows Server Core Configurator Version 2.0"

image

Isn’t this just COOL?!

Cheers,
Jorge
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* Always evaluate/test yourself before using/implementing this!
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