Installing Active Directory on Server Core with an Answer File

Filed Under (Active Directory, Server Core, Windows Server 2008) by on 07-05-2008

Last week I spent some time at my former employer taking a Server 2008 upgrade course.  Shame on you if you haven”t checked them out for training because their Hard Hat courses are hands down the best out there.

I spent a lot of time in that course working with Server Core (which needs a dedicated home page on I”ve posted in the past about using CoreConfigurator to configure common options on Server Core.  In fact Active Directory can be installed with this tool too…however there are some companys that will not be able to use this tool for a number of reasons (although they really all should 🙂 ,,).

What I would like to help with today is providing a sample Answer file to use to install Active Directory on Server Core.  I”m posting this partially (like all my posts) for my own selfish reasons of being able to get to it at a later date. 

Active Directory still gets installed by using DCPromo on Server Core, however you will have to use the /unattend:<path> switch. In my case I copied the following sample answer file to the C:temp directory and then ran the following command to install Active Directory using an answer file – dcpromo /unattend:c:tempanswer.txt  Here is a look at the answer file (don”t worry I just made that password up for this demo).

This is the Replica Domain Controller Answer File:

As I”ve written this blog I noticed on Microsoft”s site that they have a KB that can be of further assistance with doing unattended installs or removals of Active Directory.  take a look at KB947034.

Below is the output from the DCPromo on Server Core.

C:Usersadministrator>dcpromo /unattend:c:tempanswer.txt
Checking if Active Directory Domain Services binaries are installed…
Active Directory Domain Services Setup

Validating environment and parameters…

A delegation for this DNS server cannot be created because the authoritative parent zone cannot be found or it does not run Windows DNS server. To enable reliable DNS name resolution from outside the domain AdminPrep.local, you should create a delegation to this DNS server manually in the parent zone.

The following actions will be performed:
Configure this server as an additional Active Directory domain controller for the domain AdminPrep.local.

Site: Default-First-Site-Name

Additional Options:
  Read-only domain controller: No
  Global catalog: Yes
  DNS Server: Yes

Update DNS Delegation: No

Source domain controller: any writable domain controller

Database folder: C:WindowsNTDS
Log file folder: C:WindowsNTDS
SYSVOL folder: C:WindowsSYSVOL

The DNS Server service will be installed on this computer.
The DNS Server service will be configured on this computer.
This computer will be configured to use this DNS server as its preferred DNS server.


Performing DNS installation…

Press CTRL-C to: Cancel

Waiting for DNS installation to finish
Waiting for DNS Server service to be recognized… 0

Waiting for DNS Server service to start… 0

Checking if Group Policy Management Console needs to be installed…

Changing domain membership of this computer…

Stopping service NETLOGON

Installing the Directory Service

Examining an existing forest…
Configuring the local computer to host Active Directory Domain Services
Creating the NTDS Settings object for this Active Directory Domain Controller on the remote AD DC DC01.AdminPrep.local…

Replicating the schema directory partition
Replicating CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: received 536 out of approximately 1558 objects
Replicating CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: received 1071 out of approximately 1558 objects
Replicated the schema container.
Replicating the configuration directory partition
Replicating CN=Configuration,DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: received 535 out of approximately 4114 objects

Replicating CN=Configuration,DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: received 1071 out of approximately 4114 objects
Replicating critical domain information…
Replicating data DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: Received 101 out of approximately 101 objects and 23 out of approximately 27 distinguished name (DN) values…

Replicating critical domain information…
Creating new domain users, groups, and computer objects

Setting the LSA policy information from policy DC01.AdminPrep.local

Configuring service IsmServ

Configuring service kdc

Configuring service NETLOGON

Setting the computer”s DNS computer name root to AdminPrep

Setting security on the domain controller and Directory Service files and registry keys

Securing S-1-5-32-551

Securing S-1-5-32-554
Securing S-1-5-9

Securing machinesoftwaremicrosoftwindows
Securing machinesystemcurrentcontrolsetcontrol

Securing c:windowssystem32logfiles
Securing SamSs
Securing dmserver
Securing Kerberos Policy

Replicating the domain directory partition…

Press CTRL-C to: Finish Replication Later

Replicating DC=ForestDnsZones,DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: received 18 out of approximately 18 objects
Replicating DC=DomainDnsZones,DC=AdminPrep,DC=local: received 42 out of approximately 42 objects
Configuring service NtFrs

The attempted domain controller operation has completed

Configuring the DNS Server service on this computer…

3 Responses to “Installing Active Directory on Server Core with an Answer File”

  1.   Server Active Directory Says:

    Thanks for giving me good information. I liked it very much. Through this i come to know about active directory how to install active directory for windows server core.

    Thanks & Regards


  2.   BrianM Says:

    Glad to have helped out.


  3.   brant_chen Says:

    Will you please check my answer file for me?
    Thank you.
    The thread address is:


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