How to Setup Windows Server Core – Minimal Installation on Azure/AWS/GCP

To setup and install Windows Server Core on any of the cloud platforms, the recommended way is to use the available image on the cloud marketplace. Check out the links below to deploy to your preferred cloud provider.  Run either Windows Server Core 2022, 2019 or 2016.

Windows Server Core

Table of Contents

Windows Server Core Features

  • NET Framework 3.5
  • NET Framework 4.6
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)
  • BitLocker Drive Encryption
  • BranchCache
  • Client for NFS
  • Containers
  • Data Center Bridging
  • Enhanced Storage
  • Failover Clustering
  • Group Policy Management
  • I/O Quality of Service
  • IIS Hostable Web Core
  • IP Address Management (IPAM) Server
  • iSNS Server service
  • Management OData IIS Extension
  • Media Foundation
  • Message Queuing
  • Multipath I/O
  • Windows PowerShell
  • Windows Process Activation Service
  • Windows Server Backup
  • Windows Server Migration Tools
  • Windows Standards-Based Storage Management
  • WinRM IIS Extension
  • WINS Server
  • WoW64 Support
  • MultiPoint Connector
  • Network Load Balancing
  • Peer Name Resolution Protocol
  • Quality Windows Audio Video Experience
  • Remote Differential Compression
  • Remote Server Administration Tools
  • RPC over HTTP Proxy
  • Setup and Boot Event Collection
  • Simple TCP/IP Services
  • SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support
  • SMB Bandwidth Limit
  • SNMP Service
  • Telnet Client
  • VM Shielding Tools for Fabric Management
  • Windows Defender Features
  • Windows Internal Database

New features with Windows Server Core 2019: 

 

  • Linux containers in Windows
  • Support for Kubernetes
  • Container improvements
  • Hybrid Cloud  -feature on demand (FOD) 
  • Security: Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) 
  • Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

 

New features in Windows Server Core 2022:

 

  • TLS 1.3 enabled by default
  • Uncompressed image szie of 2.7GB 
  • Detachable Events Overview Screen
  • Azure Arc 1.3 enabled by default
  • Improved storage migration service
  • Improved security in Windows Server 2022
  • Hardware root-of-trust
  • Firmware protection
  • Virtualization-based security
  • Secured-Core Server
  • Trusted Platform Module 2.0
  • Secure Message Block (SMB) network file sharing protocol is now encrypted by default
  • Improved SMB runs the QUIC protocol instead of the traditional Transport Control Protocol (TCP), allowing users to access file servers running on Azure wherever they are located—on-premises or on Azure—without requiring a virtual private network (VPN). Azure Arc is now supported, helping bring on-premises and multi-cloud environments to Azure and hotpatching, which installs updates on Windows Server VMs without requiring a reboot.

Getting Started with Windows Server Core Cloud Server

Once your server has been deployed, the following links explain how to connect to a Windows VM:

 

 

Once connected and logged in, the following section explains how to configure your Windows Server Core as per your requirements

Using Windows Server Core

Once logged in, as you will notice there is no Windows desktop GUI. To manage the server you will have to use Powershell or SCONFIG. You can also use any other remote managment tools like RSAT or Windows Admin Center.

 

Configure the server with the Server Configuration Tool (SCONFIG)

Type sconfig and press ENTER.  The Server Configuration tool interface opens:

Simply type the number of the setting you would like to change. For example if you want to change the Active Directory domain, type and press ENTER

Windows Cloud Core Server Firewall Ports

The links below explain how to modify / create firewall rules depending on which cloud platform you are using.

 

To setup AWS firewall rules refer to – AWS Security Groups

To setup Azure firewall rules refer to – Azure Network Security Groups

To setup Google GCP firewall rules refer to – Creating GCP Firewalls

Windows Server Support / Documentation

If you experience any issues on getting this Windows Core server setup on any of the cloud platforms, please contact us and we will assist

 

For documentation, please refer to the following link on how to manager Windows Core Server:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/server-core/server-core-manage

Avatar for Andrew Fitzgerald
Andrew Fitzgerald

Cloud Solution Architect. Helping customers transform their business to the cloud. 20 years experience working in complex infrastructure environments and a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert on everything Cloud

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