CoreConfigurator makes Windows Server Core administration easier

Windows Server 2008 Core hasn't taken off as expected, and yet good admin tools are still being introduced for the edition. Learn about one such tool called CoreConfigurator.

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

Enabling remote desktop is a contentious issue because, in most situations, a remote command through PowerShell or the server administration snap-in can perform a majority of the necessary tasks. You can easily enable remote administration with CoreConfigurator (Figure B). Figure B

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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