Core Configurator

An acquaintance of mine (cheers Ray) found this after I asked him a few Server Core questions yesterday. The Core Configurator 2.0 is a graphical frontend to a collection of PowerShell scripts that will allow you to configure your Windows Server 2008 R2 Core VM very easily.

After downloading it locally, use the vSphere client to mount the ISO file on your VM. From within the command prompt on the guest OS, change drive to your CD / DVD drive (D: in my screenshot below) and just run the”Start_Coreconfig.wsf” file.


This opens a GUI with a few options for configuring Server Core.


I’m not going to go into too much detail about what can be done, try it yourself. But just as an example, compare the following window with the steps to configure networking using the command line.


Fantastic tool. I’ll be adding it to my toolkit for sure.


Installing VMtools on 2008 Server R2 Core

Have you ever wondered how to install VMtools on a Windows 2008 Server R2 Core guest running on an ESX 3.5 host? “Hang on,” you say, “R2 is officially supported on ESX 3.5!” And you’d be right, for the moment at least. ESX 3.5 U4 does indeed not support R2 officially yet although VMware support hinted that U5 is due at some point. Still, the customer is king and mine wanted an R2 VM.

First things first, the WoW64 Execution Layer needs to be installed and the server rebooted to allow R2 to run 32 bit applications.

[text]Start /w ocsetup ServerCore-WOW64

shutdown /r /t 0[/text]

Once the reboot is complete and you’ve logged in again, select to Install the VM Tools for the VM. Nothing will actually happen except that ESX will mount the VMtools iso on the VM. To install the tools you’ll need to navigate to the drive where the iso has been mounted. In the example below it is the D: drive.

Installing the tools is then simply a case of silently executing the installer. This will automatically reboot the server afterwards.

[text]msiexec /i "VMware Tools.msi" /passive[/text]


That’s it, you’re done.


Configure 2008 Server Core Networking

So you’ve installed Windows Server 2008 Core, you don’t use DHCP and you want to get the thing on the network. I keep forgetting how to do this so I thought I’d create this post to help me remember!

I’m assuming that you’ve got as far as changing the administrator password and logging in. The next step is as easy as typing a few commands into the plain black window you see in front of you. For this example, let’s assume that we want the server to have the following network configuration:

HOSTNAME: win2008core






We first have to extract two pieces of information from the server. The current hostname and the index of the NIC that we want to configure.

The hostname can be acquired simply by entering the command:


This will return something like “WIN-87abac8chasa87” or something random like that. Make a note of the name returned as we’ll need it later.

Next enter the following command:

[text]netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces[/text]

This will return an output a bit like the one below. The important thing though is getting the index (Idx) value for the interface that you’re interested in (3 in this case). By default this will probably be called “Local Area Connection”.


To setup the IP details for the interface just enter the following command:

[text]netsh interface ipv4 set address name="3" source=static address= mask= gateway=[/text]

To add the DNS servers to this interface, use the following commands:

[text]netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name="3" address= index=1
netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name="3" address= index=2[/text]

Note that we incremented the index value in the second command.

That was quite easy really. All that remains is to rename the server. This is done with another simple command using the value that we obtained earlier:

[text]netdom renamecomputer WIN-87abac8chasa87 /NewName:win2008core[/text]

All that you then need to do is reboot the server:

[text]shutdown /r /t 0[/text]