The Core Edition of Windows Server 2008 reduces the overhead to run a service such as a file server, a domain controller, or the other supported roles for this installation type; however, many administrators are a little uncomfortable moving entirely to the command-line only Windows installation, which means relying on their scripting skills and remote administration.
A tool created by from a group within Microsoft called CoreConfigurator makes Windows Server Core administration easier. CoreConfigurator provides a simple, succinct interface to perform most administration functions that will be required on a Windows Server Core. CoreConfigurator is available as a free download.Figure A shows the main screen of CoreConfigurator. The example shows networking being configured with a simple interface that will likely delivery most of the required first configuration steps for a Windows Server Core. I see the most frequent configuration items as: setting the IP address, configuring the firewall, configuring the computer name, and joining a domain. Figure A
CoreConfigurator is great to get started, but it shouldn't replace your broader administration strategy; Group Policy should still be the central configuration repository for all system-related configuration items. CoreConfigurator can serve as an initial configuration tool or a break/fix type of configuration tool but not the ongoing administration interface for a Core installation of Windows Server.
If you have you used CoreConfigurator, what did you think of the tool? If you haven't used CoreConfigurator, does the tool make you more inclined to use Windows Server Core? Share your answers in the discussion.
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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.