Getting started with Windows Server 2008 Core edition

Rick Vanover provides a quick rundown of the Windows Server 2008 Core edition's capabilities and limitations. He also describes which command-line tools you need to use for this edition.

The Windows Server 2008 Core edition comes with significant changes. Here is a quick rundown of the Core edition's capabilities and limitations.

The Windows Server 2008 Core edition can:

  • Run the file server role.
  • Run the Hyper-V virtualization server role.
  • Run the Directory Services role.
  • Run the DHCP server role.
  • Run the IIS Web server role.
  • Run the DNS server role.
  • Run Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services.
  • Run the print server role.

The Windows Server 2008 Core edition cannot:

  • Run a SQL Server.
  • Run an Exchange Server.
  • Run Internet Explorer.
  • Run Windows Explorer.
  • Run MMC snap-in consoles locally.

One of the first things you will want to do in the Core edition is disable the Windows firewall, which (from a default install) is set to block most remote traffic. Disabling the Windows firewall in the Windows Server 2008 Core edition requires the use of the netsh tool. To disable the firewall, run the following command:

netsh firewall set opmode disable
A successful iteration of this command will have netsh return a simple success message, as shown in Figure A. Figure A

Figure A

If you install a foreign browser, such as Opera, within the Core edition, you can browse the file system to download service packs and updates. This will give you a limited interface into the system. Further, most MMC snap-in consoles can run remotely from an authenticated system.

In order to use the Windows Server 2008 Core edition, you will need to use significantly more command-line tools for Windows. Tools such as netsh, net use, netdom, and dcpromo will become requirements to use the Core edition.

The Windows Server 2008 Core edition cannot run the PowerShell command line environment or any other tool that requires the .NET Framework or has an Internet Explorer version requirement. So, you are limited to the command line version of the Core edition.

The Windows Server 2008 Core edition's command line interface does not have as much functionality as PowerShell. Once you get a basic understanding and access to the Core edition environment, you will have a better feel for the scenarios where use is appropriate.

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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.


is it posible to use windows server 2008 als standalone server with ad?


It's very helpful to configure DHCP and DNS......

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

That's really weird to hear that the command line isn't robust in core? Perhaps it'll be fixed in a service pack update, LOL! Oh, Microsuck! Gosh darn ya! You such a tease when it comes to new products, ugh.


The thing about Server Core 2008 I still don't get is why they didn't include .NET abilities for IIS. It would be great to be able to set up a dedicated web server with a small footprint, only running IIS. But it is 2008; every MS based web app is going to be running in .NET. I had high hopes for Core 2008, but it seems somewhat worthless to me now, at least from a web server role. Am I going to set up a dedicated classic ASP/static HTML server??


Believe me, I am with you. And that means that we can't run PowerShell either on core. Personally, I am having trouble determining a good use for core.


Microsoft is currently working on bringing .net in line with server core and it should be available soon.