Coresight Squared - Server Core Installation and Preparation

Blog Post created by lmlcoch on Aug 1, 2016

Coresight Squared


This series consists of three parts:
1. Server Core Installation and Configuration << you're here!
2. PI Coresight Installation

3. Extras: Kerberos and more




Server Core - Install and Configure


Server Core is the default option when installing Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016:




Log in to your Server Core machine for the first time - only the Command Prompt shows up for the welcome party!



Use the Server Configuration tool (sconfig) to rename the machine, configure DNS settings, join a Windows Domain, enable Windows Updates, enable Remote Management and more.

To access the tool, execute sconfig in the Command Prompt. Using sconfig is straightforward, but I recommend proceeding in the following way:


1. Configure DNS Settings

Select Option 8 > select index of the Ethernet card > select Option 2 (Set DNS Servers) > set preferred (and alternate) DNS server(s)




2. Join the computer to a Windows Domain

Select Option 1 > select D for Domain > enter Domain Name > confirm and finish



3. Rename the computer - this option automatically pops up when joining the computer to a Windows Domain.


4. Reboot - Use Option 13 in sconfig.



5. Enable Windows Update

Select Option 5 > Select A for Automatic



6. Configure inbound Firewall rules

Using Powershell, enable File and Printer Sharing inbound rule in order to copy PI Coresight installation kit to the machine. This rule can be disabled after PI Coresight installation.


Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File And Printer Sharing"


For proper Remote management, enable additional Firewall rules:

Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Event Log Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Service Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Volume Management"



7. Activate all Roles and Features required by PI Coresight


a) If Windows Server 2016 Core is used, the location of microsoft-windows-netfx3-ondemand-package.cab file needs to be specified in order to install features related to .NET Framework 3.5. Mount the Windows Server 2016 installation .ISO file, go to sources folder, and copy sxs folder (this is where microsoft-windows-netfx3-ondemand-package.cab resides) to C: drive on the Server Core machine. Then use CSRolesFeatures2016.ps1 (attached to this post and available at pastebin) PowerShell script in the next step - it uses the C:\sxs folder as source for feature activation. For Windows Server 2008 or 2012 Core, use the original CSRolesFeatures.ps1 (attached to this post and available at pastebin).


b) In any case, copy the appropriate script to the Server Core machine using robocopy (available from the Command Prompt) or copy&paste feature in Windows Explorer.


For example, to copy CSRolesFeatures.ps1 from local D:\Downloads folder to C:\Temp on CORESQUARED using robocopy:

robocopy "D:\Downloads" "\\CORESQUARED\C$\Temp" CSRolesFeatures.ps1



c) Open PowerShell console on the Server Core machine (execute powershell command in the Command Prompt) allow execution of the script for the current session, and run the script:

Set-Executionpolicy RemoteSigned -Scope Process
.\CSRolesFeatures.ps1 -Mode Install -IsCore $true



d) Once the script does its magic, reboot the machine by running shutdown /r /t 0 in the Command Prompt.




Server Core – Enable Remote Administration


Use sconfig > select Option 4 > select option 1 to enable Remote Management.


Use Remote Management to add/remove Windows features, maintain Local Users and Groups, inspect Event Logs and more.



Web Server Management Service is required for remote IIS Management. Use PowerShell to install the service and set the related registry setting:

Install-WindowsFeature Web-Mgmt-Service
Set-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WebManagement\Server -Name EnableRemoteManagement -Value 1


Finally, start the Web Management service by running net start WMSVC in the Command Prompt. Optionally, configure the service to start automatically: sc config wmsvc start=auto.




Server Core can now be fully managed from a remote workstation (Server Manager for general server management, IIS Manager for IIS management)!


To connect to the Server Core IIS remotely, open up IIS Manager on any Server with GUI, right click on Start Page and select the Connect to a Server... option:


Server Core is ready for PI Coresight. Let's install it!





Update 22-Aug-2016: Added a couple of small notes regarding installing .NET Framework-related features on Windows Server 2016 Core.