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Windows Server post-installation configuration

After you install Windows Server, you’re not ready yet to add software on it. Therefore, you have to go through Windows Server post-installation configuration tasks and ensure that the Windows Server is ready. The best way to go through the Windows Server post-installation tasks is with a checklist. In this article, we will show the quickest and safest Windows Server post-install configuration.

Windows Server post-installation checklist

The checklist contains the following tasks:

  • Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon
  • Turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
  • Set time zone
  • Change computer name
  • Check Windows Server network card
  • Configure static IP address
  • Turn on Remote Desktop
  • Configure Windows Firewall to allow pings
  • Update Windows Server
  • Join computer to the domain (if needed)
  • Activate Windows Server

Let’s go through the checklist items one by one in the steps below.

Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon

By default, the Server Manager automatically starts when you sign in to Windows Server. You don’t need that, and you can always start the Server Manager manually. So let’s turn that setting off.

Go to Manage > Server Manager Properties. Check the checkbox Do not start Server manager automatically at logon.

Windows Server post installation configuration do not start Server Manager automatically at logon

If you have a Domain Controller, create a Group Policy Object (GPO) and link it to the appropriate Organizational Unit (OU).

Turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration

Click in Server Manager on Local Server. Turn off IE Enhanced Security Configuration for administrators and users.

Windows Server post installation configuration turn off IE Enhanced Security Configuration

Set time zone

Adjust the Windows Server time zone. It’s possible that the time doesn’t show correctly after you set it. That’s because you don’t have an internet connection.

Windows Server post installation configuration set time zone on Windows Server

Change computer name

Change the computer name to a name that you can identify. In our example, the computer name is DC01-2019. It’s our first Windows Server 2019 Domain Controller. Reboot the Windows Server after applying.

Change computer name

Check Windows Server network card

It’s essential to have a network on the Windows Server. If you have Windows Server running in VMware ESXi and selected network adapter type VMXNET3, you have to install VMware tools.

Important: Always install VMware tools if you have a VM running on VMware ESXi.

Go through the VMware Tools setup. After the VMware Tools installation completes, reboot the Windows Server.

Windows Server post installation configuration install VMware Tools

Go to Programs and Features and verify that VMware Tools is successfully installed.

Verify VMware Tools installation

Configure static IP address

Open Command Prompt and run ipconfig/all or use Windows PowerShell and run the cmdlet Get-NetIPConfiguration.

Get-NetIPConfiguration cmdlet

Change the network adapter name to a name that you can identify. For example, we will configure it on the 192.x network, so we name it Network 192x.

Windows Server post installation configuration change network adapter name

Configure a static IP address for the Windows Server. Change the Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) properties to a static IP address and use a preferred DNS server. For example, Google Public DNS is 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

Windows Server post installation configuration configure static IP address

Turn on Remote Desktop

Enable Allow remote connections to this computer. It will let you remote access the Windows Server with a Remote Desktop Connection.

Windows Server post installation configuration allow remote connections to this computer

Configure Windows Firewall to allow pings

Ping requests are by default blocked in Windows Firewall. Most of the engineers disable Windows Firewall. This is not what we recommend. Leave the Windows Firewall enabled.

Search for Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security. From the left pane, select Inbound Rules and enable both the rules:

  • File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)
  • File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv6-In)
Windows Server post installation configuration configure Windows Firewall to allow pings

Update Windows Server

Go to Settings > Windows Update. Search and install Windows Updates. After a reboot, search again for Windows Updates.

Windows Server post installation configuration check for Windows Updates

Keep searching and installing Windows Updates till you see the message that You’re up to date.

Windows Update you're up to date

Join computer to domain (if needed)

Suppose this is a Windows Server that needs to be a member of a domain. Go to System Properties and type in the domain to be a member of. After that, enter the administrator credentials and reboot the Windows Server.

In our example, there is no domain, and we can’t make it a member. This server will be our Domain Controller.

Windows Server post installation configuration join computer to domain

Active Windows Server

Don’t forget to activate Windows Server. There are different ways to license Windows Server, and we will leave that up to you.

Conclusion

We showed how to go through the Windows Server post-installation configuration. As you can read, you have to configure a couple of settings after a Windows Server installation. Always use a checklist, so you don’t forget any of them.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Restart remote computer with PowerShell. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.

ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN

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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