Windows Server 2008: Pre-installation steps

The fundamental steps that should be taken to install Windows Server 2008 on an enterprise class server. With the release of Windows Server 2008, it is a good idea now to start to practice and learn how to install 2008, implement needed functionality (such as roles and other features) and analyze the new installation options […]

The fundamental steps that should be taken to install Windows Server 2008 on an enterprise class server. With the release of Windows Server 2008, it is a good idea now to start to practice and learn how to install 2008, implement needed functionality (such as roles and other features) and analyze the new installation options that are now available with 2008 such as Core Server installation, using Windows Deployment Services (WDS) as well as unattended installations, upgrades and/or dual boot scenarios. This article will cover the fundamentals of installing a full copy of Windows Server 2008 on enterprise class server hardware.

With Windows Server 2008, you will find new tools to deploy your server. With 2008 you will find that not only is it easier to install a Windows Server, but now you have more options that fit your production needs and you can now install (or not install) what it is you want or need. For example, if you wanted to be selective and run a server with the most minimal set of needed services, then you would select the Server Core option when running your installation. If you wanted to deploy Windows Server 2008 with an unattended answer file, you can with new options and features, to make your deployment easier.

In this article we cover the basic installation options available to you when deploying a full copy of Windows Server 2008 on an enterprise class server. The article’s goal is to familiarize and acclimate you to the process of deploying Windows Server 2008 on systems on your production network.

Note: It is important to note that although 2008 is a fantastic product with many new features and improved functionality, you should never run a beta or test copy of Windows in your production environment. It is not supported nor is it a complete product. As well, you should never rollout any new operating systems (or run upgrades) on production systems or networks without first testing the official release in a test lab to ensure that your applications are compatible, your drivers, your hardware and so on.

Preparation Tasks : The first step in deploying a Windows Server 2008 system is to do all of the analysis needed upfront to appropriately size your server hardware and prepare for an easy installation. There is not enough that can be said about ‘pre-planning’ your installation. Make sure that you have all the software you need, appropriate drivers and so on. You should create a checklist or some form of list to help you keep track of what you need, what you need to do and what steps have been accomplished. This is helpful for problems that you may encounter during the installation – you can quickly ascertain the source of the problem when you have a checklist to follow so you can retrace your steps. You should always pre-plan any deployment (no matter how big or small) and run thorough tests so that you know what works and what does not before installing new systems on your network or upgrading older systems as an example. For another example, when we first started to run Windows Server 2008 in its earliest forms (Longhorn) for testing purposes, it was quickly found that it was extremely difficult to install on an enterprise class server due to the fact that most of the enterprise server hardware vendors had yet to create alternatives to the new release of Windows and most Windows Server 2003 drivers would (and will) not function on the newest version of Windows, 2008.

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Windows Server 2008, WS2008, Installation, Setup, Guide, Walkthrough, Knowledgebase