It feels good to be back again to continue our multi-part series on preparing for a SharePoint farm. So far, in Part 1 of the series we had discussions on key thoughts that can help our preparation, and in Part 2 we prepared our virtual environment by creating all of the server boxes with the specifications needed to get us started.

In this third part, we want to install Windows server and configure the server boxes with domain services that SharePoint will need to consume in order to render its own services.

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Previously in Part 2, we created a server DCEX-1 that is to be provisioned as domain controller and Exchange server. In the virtual machine console this is what it looks like:

The following details will be required later on in the configurations.

Server Name


IP Address

DNS Server

DCEX-1 Domain Controller + Exchange Server

SPS-SQLDB SharePoint Server + SQL Server

CLIENT1 Windows 8 Client

Let’s power on the VM using the Power On This Virtual Machine link provided on the console.

The installation begins with Windows loading the boot files from the ISO image. This boot operation is carried out on the memory of the system, not the hard disk, as it’s yet to be readable.

Windows loads the dialog box requiring you to select your Language to Install, Time and Currency Format, and Keyboard or Input Method.

Accept the default options of English, English United States, and US as values for the fields requested, as shown.

On the next screen you are requested to provide your Product Key. In this scenario we don’t have one but installation is possible since a key can be provided later. Uncheck the Automatically Activate Windows When Am Online option.

Click Next.

A dialog box will pop up asking if you really don’t want to input a product key. It asks the question weirdly though.

Click No, in order proceed with installing without a key.

In the next window, select Enterprise Server 2008 (Full Installation).

Check the box marked I Have Selected The Edition of Windows That I Purchased.

Click Next.

The license page loads, check the box I Accept The License Terms.

Click Next.

In the next dialog box asking which type of installation you want, there is only one option, Custom (Advanced). It is a hyperlinked option, so click it to select.

You are presented with your hard disks and their sizes. Select Disk 0 Unallocated Space and click Next.

Disk 0 is the first hard disk. Disk 1 is the second hard disk. Disk 2 is the third hard disk. Selecting “Disk 0” will make “Disk 0” our C:\ drive as planned in Part 2 of this series.

At this point sit back, relax, and watch the installation complete.

The system reboots.

The installation progresses. You are then required to provide new credentials for login purposes.

The default username is Administrator. Simply provide the password you want to use to login to this server. Afterwards, click the arrow button (à) in a circle to submit the newly provided credentials.

The server notifies you that your new password is accepted/changed.

Your desktop is now prepared, and the server logs you on to the desktop. Subsequently, the Initial Configuration Tasks window opens, with the system summary. Now that this server is up, the next set of tasks is to Set Time Zone, Configure Networking (assign an IP address), and Provide Computer Name and Domain.

Set Time Zone

Immediately following this, you need to select the appropriate time zone for your location.

To do this, click Set Time Zone. If you are in the US or Canada, accept the default. If you are in other time zones, change it as appropriate.

In my case, I selected West Central Africa. Click OK twice.

Configure Networking

Click Configure Networking.

In the Network Connections window, right-click Local Area Connection.

Click Properties.

In the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), then click Properties.

In the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties dialog box, click the radio button Use The Following IP Address. This opens up the grayed boxes of IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, and it also opens up Use The Following DNS Server Addresses.

For our domain, we are going to use a Class A range of IP addresses.

Type as IP Address.

Click inside the Subnet Mask field. It will be auto-populated with a mask.

Ignore the Default Gateway option.

In the DNS section type as Preferred DNS Server.

What does all this mean? It means this server will be identified on the network as, and it also means this server will consume itself as the DNS server, ahead of the DNS configuration to be done shortly.

Click OK.

Click Close.

Close the Network Connections window.

Provide Computer Name and Domain

You will notice that the Full Computer Name of this server is not yet DCEX-1. It is currently auto-named as WIN-36BBQQSS8Y1. This was done by the setup during installation. Let’s change this name to reflect what we want the server name to be called.

Click Provide Computer Name And Domain as shown above.

Click Change.

In the next dialog box, observe that the old name is displayed. Highlight it and type in DCEX-1.

Click OK.

A dialog box pops-up notifying you changes will apply after a restart.

Click OK. Then click Close.

Click Restart Now.


In the screenshot below, observe the following options at the bottom: Install Tools, Remind Me later, Never Remind Me.

Click Install Tools.

If you cannot see this option, then it is possible you may have closed it out earlier.

To launch VMware Tools installation another way, navigate to the VMware application menu bar, select the VM tab, then in the drop down that opens, select Install VMware Tools. My screenshot below shows “Reinstall VMware Tools” because I have already installed it.

The purpose of this tool is to make the graphic display, resize with keyboard and mouse activity as fluid as possible, and to manage file transfers between the host machine and the virtual machine.

After a successful reboot, logon to the server using the default Administrator account, and the Initial Configuration Task window opens up again as shown:

This time everything is good, with the exception that the Workgroup name is called WORKGROUP. This is supposed to be a domain name. At this point we are ready to make this server box a domain controller.

However, before we proceed to do this, we need to tie up other loose ends. Remember that we are supposed to install DCEX-1 as a server (DCEX-1 means Domain Controller + Exchange Server), which we have just concluded. We are also supposed to install SPS-SQLDB (SPS-SQLDB means SharePoint Server + SQL Database) as a server as well.

At this point, you need to install SPS-SQLDB using the procedure above before we proceed. Complete all the steps using the above example of DCEX-1.

Doing this you will reach such milestones as:

  1. Skipping the product key page
  2. Selecting your version of Windows Server
  3. Selecting which hard disk to install Windows Server
  4. Changing first time logon credential
  5. Performing initial configuration tasks
  6. Rebooting

If these have been completed, it means you have two server boxes ready right now. You have done an excellent job. We can now move forward to repeating this for the CLIENT1 workstation that will run Windows 8. So, I will just hang around with a cup of cold tea and ice cubes dancing ballet in the cup, while you run along to install Windows 8.

…Are you back? If you are, then congratulations, another excellent job. Let us proceed to our first server box, DCEX-1 and promote it to a domain controller that member server SPS-SQLDB and workstation CLIENT1 can join as domain members.


In the Initial Configuration Tasks window there is a section called Customize This Server.

Click the Add Roles link.

This will bring up the Add Roles Wizard. Click Next.

Select Active Directory Domain Services from the list. Click Next.

An overview is presented. Click Next.

You are asked to confirm the installation, so click Next to confirm.

The installation is successful. The next thing to do is to open the RUN dialog box and type DCPROMO. Or using the link provided in the dialog box of the Installation Results, click Close This Wizard And Launch The Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard (dcpromo.exe).

The Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard dialog box opens as shown below. The installation options present an option called Use Advanced Mode Installation.

Accept the defaults on this page and click Next.

A message appears giving you a compatibility overview with older versions of Windows and non-Microsoft SMB clients. Do not worry about this message and just click Next.

At this point we are about to specify a domain name for our domain controller. As this server is the first domain controller in this domain, it will therefore also host the forest.

A forest is similar to physical forests. It houses and accommodates all kinds of creatures. In the forest, there are areas that only tigers live, regions that only a particular kind of creatures such as Meer cats live, and areas that only crocodiles live. Each of these areas are domains for these creatures, but they all belong to the same wild wide forest.

In the same way, a forest here will accommodate our first domain known as Subsequently, we can add other domains (sub-domains, child domains, etc.) on other member servers that want to host them. This is the meaning of forest.

So therefore, is our forest root domain, and others such as labs for our locations in North America (, and South America ( can be created; even for Africa ( Each of these locations (North America, South America, Africa) are child domains of the parent domain testlab. These child domains would have their own domain controllers (RODC – Read Only Domain Controller) which would be pulling their domain records from the parent domain also known as the GC (Global Catalogue). This first domain controller that hosts the forest equally accommodates what we also call Infrastructure Master, and Domain Master.

So, in all, this is a very critical and powerful server. Everything depends on it.

Provide the domain name as, as shown below, and click Next.

The installation begins.

Ensure that you chose Windows Server 2008 as the Forest Functional Level.

Other options include Windows Server 2000, and Windows Server 2003.

By choosing Windows Server 2008, we indicate that this forest will not have any server running any version of Windows Server less than 2008. Click Next.

Accept the default on this page and click Next.

This dialog box is more of a warning that we need to make an adjustment to our network adapter which is set to obtain IP addresses dynamically, instead of static. Do not select anything yet.

Navigate to the Network Connections window, and uncheck Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6). By default this is set to receive IP addresses automatically from the DHCP server. As we do not have any plan to run DHCPv6 services nor assign any static IPv6 addresses, we should disable it. Click Close after unchecking the box.

Now return to this dialog box, and click No, I will Assign Static IP Addresses To All Physical Network Adapters.

Then click Next.

What the dialog box below means is that DNS has found that this server has been assigned to use the IP address as DNS server, and it cannot find that server, or its service. This is so because at this stage the DNS service is yet to be installed, and it can therefore not yet announce itself to itself as the authoritative parent zone. Click Yes to continue.

Click Next to accept the defaults.

Click Next to accept these values.

The password required here is for scenarios where the domain is compromised, and restoration is required. The password should be different from that used by the domain administrator. However, for our testing purpose, kindly use the same password, lest you forget what you used. As a SharePoint consultant, you will never have to bother about this password except when you are also a Domain Administrator. For our test however, use the same password, and click Next.

On the summary page, click Next to start the installation.

The installation completes successfully. Click Finish.

You are prompted for a server restart. Click Restart.

When the server comes up, check the Initial Configuration Task window, and you will see that DCEX-1 is a member of the domain, with a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) of as shown below:

We can also see that the server is now a domain controller, and runs the services shown below:

Other ways to know a server is running the domain controller service is through the Server Manager console shown below:

Finally you can see that the server is also a domain member by simply looking at the logon screen which now shows the domain\username, as shown below:

And this is where we wrap it up for the 3rd part of this series. I hope it has been worthwhile.

In the next part, we will commence the installation of an Exchange Server on the domain controller, and then install all the prerequisites for a SharePoint Server. After that, we will install the SQL database server on the SPS-SQLDB box. Till then, cheeeriooo!!