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Enable DNS server role on Windows Server 2008 core

Windows Server 2008 (WS2K8) offers the core installation type for new installs. The core installation will allow administrators to run a limited selection of roles compared to the full installation counterparts within the same editions.

Windows Server 2008 (WS2K8) offers the core installation type for new installs. The core installation will allow administrators to run a limited selection of roles compared to the full installation counterparts within the same editions. One of the roles that is permitted on core edition is the DNS server. The core installation option may start to appeal to network administrators using Windows to perform certain roles - such as DNS and DHCP. The core installations are absent Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and most other components. Where core edition can help in the DNS server space is to have a remote site have a local DNS server for a zone owned locally, and to cache queries out from other DNS servers. For remote sites, core edition is being marketed as a a solution to increase security. To enable the DNS server role, enter the following command within core:

start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role

This will install the role onto the core installation with no progress or success indication. The command will, however, tell you if you have entered the parameters incorrectly or you have specified a bogus role. By comparison, the full installations of WS2K8 offer the ability to add a role from the command line, but in that case the role name is DNS-Server-Full-Role if used in this fashion. Once you have executed this command, the Windows DNS Server service (C:\Windows\system32\dns.exe) is present on the file system and ready to be interacted with. Before the role is added, the server system should have a static IP address, a DNS suffix, and if you plan to have it function in an Active Directory-Integrated DNS environment, go ahead and join to the domain before adding the role.

The DNS server in the core installation option has no direct console. You can interact with the dnscmd and netsh commands, but for zone configuration, you will likely find the normal dnsmgmt.msc snap-in the best way to configure the DNS server for small configurations by connecting to the core server from a full installation system. However, if you foresee many like-configured DNS servers, scripting the build and configuration out will make rapid deployment seamless.

About Rick Vanover

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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