This is not your fathers Windows Server: Setting up Server Core with PowerShell

This guide describes the basic configuration of Windows Server Core running Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016.

The following configuration steps will work not only on Server Core, but also on a Windows Server with graphical interface. If you want to keep it simple, you can use sconfig to configure your Server Core: Windows Server 2016: sconfig. In this article we will configure Core with PowerShell.

Remember the advantages of a server running without a gui:


First, install Server Core and login with administrative privileges. Now we move on with the very first basic settings.

Configuring Network Settings

The entire configuration is performed in PowerShell, so PowerShell must be started after login. (Core ist started with cmd by default)


Afterwards, we have to find out the ID of the network adapter.


Now the IPv4 address and the default gateway can be configured with New-NetIPAddress.

New-NetIPAddress -IPAdress -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway -InterfaceIndex 12 -AddressFamily IPv4


Check the settings with Get-NetIPConfiguration.



Next configure the DNS-Server with Set-DnsClientServerAddress.

Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 12 -ServerAddresses,


To check the settings run

Get-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 12


Finally, test the IP Configuration with Test-Connection.



Use Rename-Computer to change the computername.

Rename-Computer server02

Next restart the computer by using Restart-Computer.


After restarting, start PowerShell again and quickly check the hostname with



Windows Server Activation

Run slmgr to activate your Windows Server. If you are using the Evaluation Version of Windows there is no need for activating.

slmgr -ato


Windows Updates

Automatic updates can be configured with cscript. Navigate to windows\system32 and run cscript to configure the automatic download and installation of Windows Updates.


cscript scregedit.wsf /AU 4


cscript scregedit.wsf /AU /v



To install printers, the role Print-Services must be installed.

Install-WindowsFeature Print-Services

Then run printui.exe / il and select the printer.

printui.exe /il


Now just open Notepad, create a new file and try to print.

Get-Content C:\test.txt | Out-Printer


For installing drivers use pnputil.

Some examples:


What’s next?

Server Core supports the promotion to a Domain Controller as described in my article: PowerShell: How to install a Domain Controller with Server Core

For configuring Roaming Profiles with PowerShell go for my article Active Directory: Configuring Roaming Profiles using GUI or PowerShell.

Hope you like it!

7 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.