How do I… Install and configure Windows Server 2008 core?

With the imminent launch of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 coming on February 27, 2008, I want to show you a feature I am fond of in this new operating system. With Windows Server 2008, you have the option of performing a Windows Server Core installation, which provides you with the minimum set of tools to run Windows.

You are provided with a kernel and a command line to manage the server. It is slim and bare bones and allows you to configure Windows concisely. This type of installation is perfect for a datacenter. I am really excited about this feature.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic gallery and TechRepublic download.


When you first run through the installation of Windows Server 2008, you have two options for installation. They are:

  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Full Installation)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Server Core Installation)

The following eight screen shots (Figures A-H) walk you through the installation of Windows Server Core which took approximately ten minutes to install.

Figure A

Figure B

Figure C

Figure D

Figure E

Figure F

Figure G

Figure H

After the installation, the main window for your new installation appears and you are ready to login as shown in Figure I. The initial login is Administrator and blank password (Figure J). You are required to change the password and set an Administrator password on initial login.

Figure I

Figure J

Now that you are logged in (Figure K), you are ready to configure the date, time, and time zone. In the command line type the following: controltimedate.cpl and set the options accordingly (Figure L).

Figure K

Figure L

If you need to configure and change the keyboard layout and settings, type the following in the command window: control intl.cpl (Figure M).

Figure M

Let’s move on and change the server name. The default name is a bunch of random letters and numbers and I would like to change the name to a local standard. You can view the current hostname by typing the following:


Now let’s use the name ssw-svr15. We will perform this option in the command line (Figure O) by typing the following:

c:windowssystem32netdom renamecomputer %computername% /NewName:ssw-svr15

Figure N

After choosing to proceed, the task completes successfully. You now need to reboot the server using the shutdown command. For the proper syntax, type:

shutdown /?

After reviewing the syntax, (Figure N) I will type the following: shutdown /r (switch for shutting down and restarting the computer) /t 10 (wait 10 seconds to shutdown and restart) /c “Changed Server Name” (add comment of max 512 characters). They total syntax will look as follows:

shutdown /r  /T 10 /C "Changed Server Name"

Figure O

Let’s now configure our networking so we can join this server to a domain. In order to see what interface you have to configure, (Figure P) type

netsh interface ipv4 show interface

Figure P

The Local Area Connection that we are going to configure has an index value of two. Let’s proceed and configure TCP/IP for this connection. (Figure Q) Type the following command to set the TCP/IP information:

netsh interface ipv4 set address name="2" source=static address= mask= gateway=

Figure Q

Follow the same example to configure DNS (Figure R):

netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name="2" address= index=1

Figure R

If you type ipconfig /all, you will see the newly added information (Figure S).

Figure S

Let’s join it to a domain! In order to perform this function, we will take advantage of the netdom.exe. (Figure T) The syntax is as follows:

netdom join ssw-svr15 /domain:watchtower /userd:Administrator /passwordD:Password01

Note: Do not forget to reboot the server using the following command:

shutdown /r  /T 10 /C "Added to domain"

Figure T

As a final step, we should not forget to activate the server (Figure U) by typing the following:

slmgr.vbs -ato

Figure U

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what you can do with a Windows Server Core installation but it begins to show you how powerful command line is with a small Windows kernel. With the popularity of virtualization and server consolidation, having the ability to virtualize a server core installation and attach a single role will become very popular with the datacenter. My next test will be to try to install Virtual Server on my server core installation. Wish me luck!

How to burn file bigger than 700mb to 700mb cd with Nero

This allows you to burn files larger than 700mb to CD, Be Careful though adding to much can cause errors, try not to burn more than 800mb to a 700mb cd

Step 1: Open Nero Burning Rom (Not Nero Express) and goto File>Preferences

Step 2:Select Expert Features

Step 3:Tick the Enable Disk-at-once CD Overburning and set to 99 min,then tick the Enable generation of a short leadout

now select apply and ok

For more details, Register at and see this thread:

UKB-KVCD Release Group " The Files To Big Wtf !! ", Overburning with Nero Burning Rom

Respect to UKB-KVCD for this Tutorial

BugZ is in no way associated with UKB-KVCD Release Group

Boot Windows XP from a USB flash drive

Almost everyone who has worked with computers for any length of time at all has run into at least one situation in which a problem left a PC unbootable. What if you could return the machine to a bootable state just by inserting a USB flash drive though? Believe it or not, it is actually possible to install a bootable copy of Windows XP onto a flash drive and then boot a PC off of the flash drive. From there, you can use applications that you have installed on the flash drive (anti virus, anti spyware, disk repair, etc.) to fix the PC's problem. In this article, I will show you how.

What's the catch?

As with most cool new techniques, there are a few catches. For starters, not every PC is capable of booting from a USB flash drive. For the most part, computers manufactured within the last two years are generally able to boot from a flash drive. Older systems may require a BIOS update, or might not be able to boot from a flash drive at all.

Another catch is that not every flash drive will get the job done. The primary factors that limit your use of a particular flash drive are capacity and speed. Technically, speed isn't really a limiting factor, but booting Windows will be painfully slow unless you use a flash drive that supports USB 2.0.

The flash drive's capacity is actually a limiting factor though. Surprisingly though, there are size limits on both the upper and lower end. Your flash drive can't be too large or too small. There isn't really a documented minimal size for a flash drive. You just need something large enough to hold Windows XP and a few applications. As you probably know, Windows XP normally consumes over a gigabyte of disk space. Later I will show you how to use a free utility to trim the excess fat off of Windows XP and make it a whole lot smaller. Even so, I still recommend that your flash drive be at least a minimum of 256 MB in size.

As I mentioned, there is a maximum size for the USB flash drive that you can use. Currently, USB flash drives exist in sizes of up to 4 GB, and 8 GB flash drives are expected to be available by the end of the year. As nice as it would be to have 8 GB to play with, the flash drive that you use for this project can be no larger than 2 GB. The reason for this is because you will have to format the flash drive using the FAT-16 file system, which has a 2 GB limit. Presently, you are stuck using FAT-16 because most computers will not recognize a flash drive as being bootable if the drive is formatted with anything other than FAT-16.

Preparing your Windows installation CD

One of the requirements for creating our bootable USB flash drive is a Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installation CD. If your Windows XP installation CD doesn't already include Service Pack 2, then you will have to make a CD that includes Service Pack 2 through a technique called slipstreaming.

Other requirements

In addition to your Windows XP installation CD, there are a couple of other things that you are going to need. For starters, you will need the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. You can download this tool for free.

Another utility that you are going to need is Bart's Preinstalled Environment Bootable Live Windows CD / DVD, or BartPE for short. You can download this utility for free from the BartPE Web site.

In addition to the software requirements, you must verify that the PC that you will be using to create the Windows deployment has 1.5 GB of free hard disk space (minimum) and supports booting from a USB device. I also strongly recommend that the PC be running Windows XP Service Pack 2. Prior to Service Pack 2, Windows XP sometimes had trouble interacting with USB storage devices.

Formatting the flash drive

Now that you have all of the prerequisites taken care of, it's time to actually start setting up our flash drive. The first step in doing so, as strange as it sounds, is to format the flash drive. Windows will actually let you format a flash drive in the same way that you format a floppy disk. However, formatting a flash drive in this way will not work for this project. Furthermore, using Windows to format a flash drive directly has been known to destroy some types of flash drives.

Instead, you must format the flash drive by using the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool that you downloaded earlier. To do so, simply open the utility, select the device followed by the FAT file system option and click Start.

Once the device has been formatted, you must make it bootable. To do so, you must copy the BOOT.INI, NTLDR, and NTDETECT from the root directory of your PC's boot drive to the flash drive. These files are hidden by default, so you will either have to configure Windows Explorer to show hidden files (including protected operating system files) or you will have to open a Command Prompt window and use the COPY command to copy the files.

If you choose to use the Windows Explorer method, then open Internet Explorer and enter C: into the address bar so that you are looking at your local hard drive. Next, select the Folder Options command from the Tools menu. When the Folder Options properties sheet opens, select the View tab. Now, just select the Show Hidden Files and Folders and deselect the Hide Extensions for Known File Types and the Hide Protected Operating System Files check boxes. Click OK to continue.

Booting from the USB flash drive

Now that you have formatted your USB flash drive and installed the boot files onto it, the next thing that you must do is to configure your PC to allow you to boot from the flash drive. This is all done through the computer's BIOS Setup. I can't give you specific instructions for this part, because every computer is different. I can give you a few pointers though.

You can access your computer's BIOS by pressing a specific key immediately after you turn the PC on. The key varies, but it is usually either [F1], [F2], or [Delete]. Once you are in the BIOS Setup, you should verify that all of your computer's USB options are enabled. This might include things like support for legacy USB devices or support for USB 2.0. If there is a time out setting for USB devices, you should set it to the max to insure that the system doesn't time out while waiting on the USB device to boot.

Next, find the section on boot device priority. Normally, a USB flash drive (which is usually listed as USB-HDD, but may be listed as a removable device) will have a very low boot priority. If the USB flash drive's boot priority is lower than the hard disk (listed as HDD) then the only time the computer would ever boot off of the USB flash drive is if the system were to fail to boot from the hard disk. You must therefore rearrange the boot device priority so that the flash drive has a higher priority than the hard drive.

Configuring Windows

Now that we have finally made it through all of the prep work, it's time to start setting up Windows. As you have probably already guessed, the process of installing Windows to a flash drive is quite a bit different from your normal, run of the mill installation. There are a couple of reasons for this.

For starters, a full blown Windows XP deployment takes up over a Gigabyte of hard disk space. When you are installing to a flash drive, disk space is a scarce commodity. Even if you have over a Gigabyte of space on your flash drive, you probably don't want to use it all on Windows. It would be nice to have room to install a few applications. Therefore, you need to trim the excess fat off of Windows.

The other reason why the installation process is so different from the usual Windows installation is because Windows Setup is not designed to install Windows to a flash drive. You therefore have to configure Windows using an alternate method.

The PEBuilder utility that you downloaded earlier can take care of both of these issues. PEBuilder is designed to create a build of Windows XP (or Windows Server 2003) that does not take up as much space as a full blown installation. Once you create this new build, you can copy it to the flash drive. For right now, I will show you how to create a basic Windows build and copy it to the memory stick. Unfortunately, it's rather difficult to install applications once Windows is up and running. Therefore, after I show you how to create a basic Windows build, I will show you how to create a build that includes some applications.

Begin the process by opening PEBuilder. When you open PEBuilder, you will see a screen similar to the one that's shown in Figure A. Simply enter the path to the Windows installation files (the ones from your Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installation CD). Next, verify that the Create ISO Image and the Burn to CD check boxes are not selected and then click the Build button. PEBuilder will now create the new Windows build.

Figure A

You must use PEBuilder to create a Windows build that will work with a flash drive.

Now, it's time to copy Windows to the flash drive. To do so, you will have to use a special batch file that's included with PEBuilder. Open a Command Prompt window and navigate to c:\pebuilder313\plugin\peinst. Now, insert an empty flash drive into the computer's USB port and then execute the file PEINST.CMD. You will now see a menu appear as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

PEBuilder uses a batch file to install Windows onto a flash drive.

Type 1 and press [Enter] and you will be prompted to enter the path to the build that you have created. Enter C:\pebuilder313\BartPE. Now, type 2, press [Enter], and you will be prompted for the target path. Enter the drive letter that Windows has assigned to your USB flash drive. After doing so, the menu is updated as shown in Figure C. The menu now displays the source path and the destination drive. Type 5 and press [Enter] to install Windows to the flash drive.

Figure C
Use menu option 5 to install Windows to the flash drive.

Installing applications

Now that I have shown you how to create and install a basic Windows build, I want to talk for a moment about how you can add an application to the build (prior to creating it). The PEBuilder program comes pre-configured to support a number of common Windows applications, but does not come with the applications themselves.

The reason why installing applications can be a little bit tricky is because most Windows applications modify the Windows registry. The build that you are creating is basically a collection of installation files, and the build itself does not contain a registry (the registry gets created when Windows is installed onto the flash drive). As such, PEBuilder uses a sort of registry emulator.

If you go to the C:\PEBUILDER313\PLUGIN folder, you will see sub folders for a number of different applications. If you open one of these application folders, you will see that the folder contains an INF file and a FILES folder. The INF file contains all of the information that would normally go into the registry, and the FILES folder stores all of the program's files.

To see how this works, let's install an application that I'm sure most of you are familiar with; Nero. Begin by installing Nero onto the machine that's running PEBuilder, as if you planned to run Nero locally on that machine. When the installation completes, copy all of the files from C:\Program Files\ahead\Nero to C:\pebuilder313\plugin\nero burning rom\files. In this particular case, the nero burning rom folder is the folder that has been set aside for the Nero application. The Files sub folder is intended to store Nero's system files.

Now, you must take care of Nero's registry entries. To do so, go to the C:\pebuilder313\plugin\nero burning rom folder and open the PENERO.INF file using Notepad. As I explained earlier, the INF file in an application's folder is used to store the application's registry entries. For Nero and all of the other applications that PEBuilder predefines, the INF file is pre-configured. You just have to make a few changes that are specific to your system.

In this particular case, the PENERO.INF file is designed to support both Nero versions 5.x and 6.x. Initially, the lines for both versions are commented out. You must therefore determine which version you have and then remove the semi colon from the beginning of the lines that apply to that version. If you look at Figure D, you can see how the two versions are separated.

Figure D

An application's registry entries are stored in an INF file.

Once you uncomment the appropriate lines, just replace "Your Name", "Your Company Name" and "Your Serial Number" with your name, your company's name, and your Nero product key. Save the file, and your set to go. The next time that you click the Build button, Nero will be included in the build.

Putting XP in your pocket

Running Windows from a flash drive isn't an exact science. Sometimes the process just doesn't work and there is no good reason why. As more PCs start to support booting from USB devices though, USB boots should become more standardized, and the technique should become more reliable.

StickDuino, USB stick Arduino clone

The Arduino hardware clones keep rolling in. This weeks entry into the modern dev board's roster is the StickDuino. The board is designed to be fully hardware compatible and plugs directly into your USB port. The StickDuino uses all SMD components. The creators know that this can make assembly more difficult so they've space the components out, opted for larger pads, and collected some links to SMD tutorials. The board feature two more analog inputs than the Diecimila and it has a jumper so you can switch it to 3.3V. All around it looks like a great product; frankly we love anything with full board layouts.

  • Exposes all Arduino Diecimila pins
  • Fits directly into most USB ports
  • Pin 13 LED
  • Onboard USB using the same FT232RL used on the Arduino Diecimila and others
  • ATmega168 SMD microcontroller. (Pre-programmed with the Diecimila boot loader, if purchased as a kit.)
    • Two additional Analog In pins compared to through-hole ATmega168 based boards (including the NG and Diecimila)
  • Auto-reset, just like the Diecimila
  • Completely open-source design

Differences from the Arduino:

  • Shields will not 'plug in' because the physical shape is so different. You can, of course, use wires to connect the shield to the StickDuino pins.

How to Format a Hard Drive With Windows XP

If you want to format a hard drive while using or installing Windows XP, you've come to the right place. This can be very useful for clearing everything off a secondary drive or when installing a fresh copy of Windows. Formatting a computer hard drive is simple and can help eliminate viruses, storage issues and other hard-to-resolve problems.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


When you format a computer hard drive you will lose everything that is on the drive. Therefore, it is very important to back up anything you might want later. Additionally, if you are going to be formatting and installing XP you need to make sure you have the discs for any applications or third party hardware you use since you will need to re-install your programs and drivers after re-installing Windows.
Take a moment to think of anything that you have on the computer that you wouldn't want to lose. Generally, you probably want everything in your My Documents folder, and you also want to save things like your favorites or bookmarks from your Web browser. Remember that each user on the computer has his or her own My Documents folder, Desktop items and Favorites/Bookmarks.
Save everything to a CD, DVD or a hard drive that you won't be formatting.

Formatting a Secondary Hard Drive

Right-Click on the “My Computer” icon either on your desktop or in the Start Menu and select “Manage.”
A new window titled “Computer Management” comes up. Select “Storage” from the left hand side by clicking it once, then select “Disk Management(local)” from the right side by double-clicking it.
Now in the lower part of the main frame (right side) of the window you should see a nice visual of all your hard drives. Each line is a different drive. Each box on a line (with a colored bar at the top and a size displayed in MB or GB) is a partition on the drive. Partitions are separations of space on a drive. Unless you are doing something specific that requires multiple partitions, you only want one partition per drive.
First you must delete any existing partitions on the drive you are going to format. Do this by right-clicking on the partition's box and selecting “Delete Partition...” Since you already know that you will be deleting everything on the drive, and have already backed everything up, you can safely say yes to any warning the computer presents you with.
If there are multiple partitions make sure you have saved everything off them since they might each have different drive letters (i.e. “D:” or “F:”). Then repeat the above step for each of them. If you only want to format one partition that is OK and you can continue to the next step without deleting the other partitions.
The box for the drive to be formatted should now have a black bar at the top of it and should say “Unallocated” under its size (see picture). Right click on it and select “New Partition...” The New Partition Wizard comes up.
In the New Partition Wizard click next. On the next page make sure “Primary Partition” is selected and click next. Now make the size equal to the maximum (it should already be set to it), and click next again. On the next page the computer will automatically choose the first available drive letter for the new drive. However, if you like you can choose another drive letter from the drop-down menu, and then click next.
Finally the New Partition Wizard asks if you would like to format the new partition and if so what format. Choose “NTFS” as it is faster and more secure. Leave the “Allocation unit size” as “Default.” In the “Volume label” field enter whatever name you want the drive to have. Simple is better. Avoid using spaces. Lastly, if the drive is brand new and has never been used before check the “Perform a quick format” box. If the drive has been used before leave this box unchecked. Leave the “Enable file and folder compression” box unchecked and click next. Then on the next page click finish.
The wizard will now spend a little while formatting the drive. On old or large drives this may take a while. Do not close the “Computer Management” window until it finishes. You will know it is done when the word under the size of the drive changes from “Formatting” to “Healthy” and the name and drive letter you chose for the new drive show up. After it is finished you can proceed to use your newly formatted drive.

Formatting and Installing from the Windows XP CD

This section explains how to reformat a drive from the Windows XP installation CD. This can be used when installing a fresh copy of Windows onto a computer. Here it is especially important to backup all of your important information because upon formatting you will lose EVERYTHING that used to be on the drive. This includes all applications and device drivers, so you must back up everything you can.
Insert your Windows XP installation disc into your CD drive (Home or Pro--it does not matter).
Now as you computer boots a little more it will say “Press any key to boot from CD..” press a key to do so.
The CD will load up a blue screen and then spend a while loading files it needs. When it is finished it will list a few options, mainly “Press ENTER to set up Windows XP.” Press Enter or Return.
Now you will be at a screen to select where to install Windows to. This is where you can delete old partitions and format drives. The box in the bottom half of the screen shows all your drives and the partitions that exist on them. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight your “C:” partition and press the 'D' key (if all that shows up is “Unpartitioned space” and you have no C: or D: partitions, skip this step). On the next screen press the 'L' key to finalize deleting the partition.
Now you are back on the screen to choose where to install Windows. The box on the lower half of the screen should no longer show a partition but simply have an entry “Unpartitioned space xxxxxMB.” Select this with the arrow keys and press the 'C' key to create a partition on the drive. The next screen tells you the minimum and maximum sizes the partition can be and lets you pick the size. The default size is the maximum, but double check that the number entered is the maximum and hit enter.
Now you will again be back at the choose where to install Windows screen. But this time you will have a partition that looks something like this “C: Partition1 [New (Raw)]xxxxxxMB.” Highlight this entry and press enter.
The next screen lets you choose which file system to format the drive with. Choose NTFS as it is faster and more secure. If the drive is brand new and has never been used before then use one of the options that ends in “(Quick).” Or, choose one of the lower down options. Use the arrow keys to select the proper one and press Enter or Return.
From here you are all set and the installation of Windows will proceed starting with a format of your drive. This will take a while (over half an hour) so you can take a little break.

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