Configuring Windows Server 2012 Core: SConfig

With the release of Windows 2008, Microsoft introduced the Core installation. This is a stripped down version of the Windows Operating System, without any GUI (less space, smaller attack surface). Microsoft continues this option with Server 2012 and recommends to install the core version. When you install Windows Server 2012, the core installation is even selected by default. Configuring Windows Server 2012 Core is a bit harder without the GUI, so I’m writing two articles about configuring Windows Server 2012 Core.

For the configuration, you have two options: using SConfig or using PowerShell. Microsoft is pushing the use of PowerShell harder and harder, so PowerShell would be the preferred way to configure Windows Server 2012. I will get to PowerShell in the next article, in this article I will focus on using SConfig.


The installation of Windows Server 2012 is pretty straight-forward, so I will not cover the installation in this article. So once you installed Windows Server 2012 in core mode, log in with your Administrator account. Once logged in, a command prompt will appear, so let’s start configuring this machine.

First thing to do is start Server Configuration, this is done by entering the command “sconfig”. You will notice the screen changing to blue and displaying a text-based menu.

001-StartSConfigThe first thing I always do, is change the computer name of my server. To do this, enter 2 and hit enter. It will now ask for the new computer name, enter your computer name and hit enter.A popup will appear asking you if you want to reboot, click No, since we also want to change the IP configuration now.

002-RenameComputerYou will go back to the main menu automatically. No to change the IP address of this server, use option 8 and hit enter. A list of available adapters will be displayed (in my case, I only have one virtual NIC in my machine).

003-IPConfigEnter the number which is in front of the adapter you want to change and hit enter. The menu will display a sub-menu with the current configuration and options to change your adapter settings.

004-IPAdapterSelectedNow to change the IP address, enter option 1 and hit enter. SConfig will ask you if you want to configure this adapter to use DHCP or a static IP. In this example, I’m using a static IP, so enter s and hit enter. Next, sconfig will ask you for the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway. Just enter the information.

005-SetIPNext is to configure the DNS server. Select option 2 and enter the IP of your DNS server. A popup will appear telling you that the DNS server has been set.

006-DNSSetSconfig will ask you for a secondary DNS server. In this example, I’m just using one DNS server, so just hit enter to leave it empty. After this, you will return in the network adapter configuration again.

006-DNSSetDoneTo return to the main menu, enter option 4 and hit enter. Now we want to reboot this server. This would be option number 13. Sconfig will ask you if you are sure, press Yes.

007-RebootAfter the server has been rebooted, log in using your Administrator credentials again and start sconfig. Now to join the domain, enter option 1. Sconfig will ask you if you want to join a domain or a workgroup, enter option D and hit enter. Enter the name of your domain and hit enter. Next, sconfig will ask for an account which is authorized to join this machine to the domain. Enter an account with correct permissions and hit enter. Now sconfig will ask for the password for that account, enter it and hit enter. The next question is if we want to change the computer name before you join this machine to the domain. Since we already changed the computer name at the beginning, click No.

008-JoinDomainNow the machine is joined to the domain, reboot the machine and you’re done!

Hope this post was useful for you. Next part will be about configuring a Windows Server 2012 machine using PowerShell.


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