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Install Windows Server on Virtual Machine

Microsoft Windows Server is a popular operating system that you see running in almost every company. What if you want to install Windows Server in your home lab or an organization? Most of the time, you have a template that you can spin up within a couple of minutes. But sometimes, you need to install a new Windows Server manually. Let’s look at how to install Windows Server 2019 on a Virtual Machine that’s running on VMware ESXi. The same steps will work if you want to install a different Windows Server version on a bare metal server.

Download Windows Server ISO file

Do you already have Windows Server on a USB stick or ISO file? You can skip this step.

Go to Microsoft Evaluation Center. Find the Windows Server version that you want to download on the page. Check the checkbox ISO and click on Continue.

In this example, it’s Windows Server 2019.

Windows Server 2019 ISO

Fill in the form and click Continue.

Complete form to download Windows Server

Select the Windows Server language and click Download.

Select Windows Server language

After the Windows Server ISO download is finished, we can go to the next step.

Mount Windows Server ISO

Go to the VM settings and mount the Windows Server ISO. After that, boot the VM to start the Windows Server installation setup.

Install Windows Server mount ISO

In the next step, we will install Windows Server on the Virtual Machine.

Install Windows Server

When the VM is powered on, pay close attention, and press any key to boot from CD or DVD.

Press any key to boot from CD or DVD

Windows is loading the installation setup.

Windows loading

Select the preferences and click Next.

Windows Server installation setup enter language

Select Windows Server 2019 Standard Evaluation (Desktop Experience). Click Next.

Windows Server installation select operating system

Accept the license terms and click Next.

Install Windows Server accept license terms

Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).

Click on the drive with Unallocated Space. Click Next.

Install Windows Server select disk

Windows Server installation will go through the steps:

  • Copying Windows files
  • Getting files ready for installation
  • Installing features
  • Installing updates
  • Finishing up
Installing Windows Server status

Windows needs to restart to continue with the setup.

Windows need to restart to continue installation

The Windows Server installation restarts a couple of times and gets everything ready.

Install Windows Server getting ready

Fill in a password for the built-in administrator account. Click Finish.

Install Windows Server type password

Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to unlock.

Install Windows Server press Ctrl+Alt-Delete to unlock

Fill in the administrator password, which you did enter in the previous step.

Install Windows Server administrator sign in

Server Manager starts automatically after signing in.

Server Manager

Windows Server is installed successfully on the Virtual Machine.

After installing Windows Server, there are a couple of configurations to go through. In the following article, we will look at the Windows Server post-installation configuration.


You learned how to install Windows Server on a Virtual Machine. The same steps will work on physical servers. Microsoft made the Windows Server setup easy with two phases, which are collecting information and installing Windows.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Convert thick provisioned disk to thin on VMware ESXi. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.



ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

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