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Configuring Active Directory (AD DS) in Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 introduces a plethora of new features with a key emphasis on Cloud integration being the buzz word in the industry over the last 24 months.  Windows continues to grow and mature as an operating system with the latest iteration being more secure, reliable and robust and more importantly making it easily inter-operable with other systems.

This post will focus on promoting windows 2012 as the first domain controller in a new Forest.  Even though the logical steps haven’t really changed dramatically since the introduction of Windows 2008, the interface has! especially with the new metro look.  So let’s begin our journey with Windows Server 2012 as this will be the first of many articles on configuring different components that Windows Server 2012 has to offer.

Adding the Active Directory Domain Services Role

From the Dashboard click on “Add roles and features”.  You will be presented with the “Before you begin screen.  Click Next.  In the “Installation Type” screen click on “Role-base or feature-based installation”.
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You will be presented with the following screen asking you to select a destination server.  This is a new feature of Windows 2012 where you have the ability to deploy roles and features to remote servers and even offline virtual hard disks.

In our case, we are selecting the current server from the server pool.
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Click Next

We are now back in familiar territory (if you have worked with Windows 2008 Server) and we will select the “Active Directory Domain Services” and DNS Server if it hasn’t already been provisioned.
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Click on Add Features

Click Next

If you want to add additional features, you can do so from the next screen, otherwise click Next
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You will now be presented with the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) screen outlining some information about AD DS and its requirements.  You will notice that DNS is a MUST and has always been the case.

Click next

You now provided with a summary of installation selections

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Upon completion you will be presented with an installation succeeded message.
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Click Close.

Back in Server Manager, you will notice that AD DS has been added to the left navigation tree.  Click on it and then click on More on the right navigation pane where it states that Configuration is required for Active Directory Domain Services.

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You will now be presented with the All Servers Task Details, in which you will click on Promote this server to a domain controller under Action.

The Deployment Configuration screen appears and we will select “Add a new forest” as this is the first domain controller.

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Enter your Root domain name and then click Next.

The following screen will then appear in which you will enter and select your Domain Controller Options.

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You will then get the below warning in which you can ignore for now.

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Click Next

The NetBIOS domain name will then be inputted automatically.

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Click Next

Confirm or change the locations of your database folder, log folder and SYSVOL folder.

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Click Next

Review your selections and then Click Next.

If all of the prerequisites checks have passed successfully, you will be able to click on Install to proceed.

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Click Install

The installation will now proceed and you will see the progress being displayed.

The computer will most likely restart on its own to complete the installation so don’t be alarmed if it does.  You will receive a brief warning advising so.

Upon restart, you should be able to login using your domain credentials for the user administrator.

So let’s add our first user!  We can do so via the new Active Directory Administrative Center or via the well known Active Directory Users and Computers.  For something different, lets try the former.

Once Server Manager has launched, click on Tools > Active Directory Administrative Center

You will be greeted with the below Welcome screen.

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Click on your domain on the left navigation pane, in my instance it is Exch2013 (local).

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Select New User.  The below screen appears in which you will fill in the necessary details.

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Click on OK

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As you can see it is relatively straight forward configuring your first domain controller in a new forest using Windows Server 2012, in particular if you have had experience with Windows Server 2008


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