Configuring Active Directory (AD DS) in Windows Server 2012

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Windows, Windows 2012

Windows Server 2012 introduces a plethora of new features with a key emphasis on Cloud integration being the buzz word in the industry over the last 24 months.  Windows continues to grow and mature as an operating system with the latest iteration being more secure, reliable and robust and more importantly making it easily interoperable with other systems.

This post will focus on Installing a Windows 2012 Server and then promoting it as the first domain controller in a new Forest.  Even though the logical steps haven’t really changed dramatically since the introduction of Windows 2008, the interface has! especially with the new metro look.  So let’s begin our journey with Windows Server 2012 as this will be the first of many articles on configuring different components that Windows Server 2012 has to offer.

Installing Windows Server 2012

The first step is to boot up from the CD or ISO image and select your language settings.

Windows 2012

Select your Language and input options and then click on Next.

Windows 2012

Click Install Now

Select the operating system you want to install.  I have selected Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Server with a GUI.  The other option is server core which was first introduced in Windows 2008 and is a minimal install with no GUI but provides remote management through Windows PowerShell and other tools.

Windows 2012

Click Next

Accept the License terms

Windows 2012

Click Next

Windows 2012

We are performing a new installation of Windows Server, so click on Custom.

Windows Server 2012

Partition your drives and then click Next.

The Installation of Windows then proceeds.

Windows Server 2012

The installation will eventually re-start your Windows Server where it will go through the final stages of preparing the environment for first time use.

Windows Server 2012

You will eventually be prompted to enter a password for the built-in Administrator account.

Windows Server 2012

Click Finish

You will now be presented with the new Windows Login Screen, which is a fair change to what we have been accustomed to with previous releases of Windows Server.

Windows Server 2012

Hit Ctrl – ALT – Delete to sign in, and enter your password.

You will be presented with the new Server Manager Screen which really simplifies the administration and configuration of your new server.  Our main goal for this article is to configure Active Directory and its related services such as DNS.

Windows Server 2012

First thing I want to do is change the computer name.  Windows goes ahead and provides a default unique name in the form of WIN-<random characters>

To do so, from the Server Manager > Dashboard screen, click on Local Server and then click on the computer name hyperlink.

Windows Server 2012

This will take you to the all familiar System Properties

Windows Server 2012

Click Change, enter a more desirable Computer Name and then click OK.

You will then be prompted to restart your computer to apply the changes.  Click Ok and then Click on restart now.

After your computer has restarted, we will be presented with the Server Manager Screen.  Now we are ready to configure this server as an Active Directory Controller.

Adding the Active Directory Domain Services Role

From the Dashboard click on “Add roles and features”.  You will be presented with the “Before you begin screen.  Click Next.  In the “Installation Type” screen click on “Role-base or feature-based installation”.

Windows Server 2012

Click Next

You will be presented with the following screen asking you to select a destination server.  This is a new feature of Windows 2012 where you have the ability to deploy roles and features to remote servers and even offline virtual hard disks.

In our case, we are selecting the current server from the server pool.

Windows Server 2012

Click Next

We are now back in familiar territory (if you have worked with Windows 2008 Server) and we will select the “Active Directory Domain Services” and DNS Server if it hasn’t already been provisioned.

Windows Server 2012

You will then be prompted to add features that are required for Active Directory Domain Services.

Windows Server 2012

Click on Add Features

Click Next

If you want to add additional features, you can do so from the next screen, otherwise click Next

Windows Server 2012

You will now be presented with the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) screen outlining some information about AD DS and its requirements.  You will notice that DNS is a MUST and has always been the case.

Windows Server 2012

Click next

You now provided with a summary of installation selections

Windows Server 2012

The installation will now begin

Windows Server 2012

Upon completion you will be presented with an installation succeeded message.


Windows Server 2012

Click Close.

Back in Server Manager, you will notice that AD DS has been added to the left navigation tree.  Click on it and then click on More on the right navigation pane where it states that Configuration is required for Active Directory Domain Services.

Windows Server 2012

You will now be presented with the All Servers Task Details, in which you will click on Promote this server to a domain controller under Action.

The Deployment Configuration screen appears and we will select “Add a new forest” as this is the first domain controller.


Windows Server 2012

Enter your Root domain name and then click Next.

The following screen will then appear in which you will enter and select your Domain Controller Options.

Windows Server 2012

You will then get the below warning in which you can ignore for now.


Click Next

The NetBIOS domain name will then be inputted automatically.  In the event of a conflict, it will suggest an alternative by appending the original name with a 0.


Click Next

Confirm or change the locations of your database folder, log folder and SYSVOL folder.


Click Next

Review your selections and then Click Next.

If all of the prerequisites checks have passed successfully, you will be able to click on Install to proceed.


Click Install

The installation will now proceed and you will see the progress being displayed.


The computer will most likely restart on its own to complete the installation so don’t be alarmed if it does.  You will receive a brief warning advising so.

Upon restart, you should be able to login using your domain credentials for the user administrator.

So let’s add our first user!  We can do so via the new Active Directory Administrative Center or via the well known Active Directory Users and Computers.  For something different, lets try the former.

Once Server Manager has launched, click on Tools > Active Directory Administrative Center

You will be greeted with the below Welcome screen.


Click on your domain on the left navigation pane, in my instance it is corp (local).


Let’s begin by creating our first Organizational Unit that will house our corporate users (I am not a fan of using the default Users).  On the right navigation pane under Taks > <domain name> click on New and then select “Organizational Unit”.

Enter the mandatory details.


Click OK

This will immediately create the Organizational Unit in the designated location.  Double click on your newly created Organizational Unit and on the left navigation pane, select New User.  The below screen appears in which you will fill in the necessary details.


Make sure you scroll down to the bottom and fill in all the necessary sections such as Groups, Profile Settings and Organization settings.

Once completed, Click OK.

Your newly created user will now be listed in the middle navigation pane.


As you can see it is relatively straight forward configuring your first domain controller in a new forest using Windows Server 2012, in particular if you have had experience with Windows Server 2008.

The team at GKM2 Solutions are proficient and certified with all version of Windows Server dating back to 2000 and 2012 will be no different.  If you require any assistance with your Windows Server migration needs or Active Directory in General, don’t hesitate to contact us via our website form or call us on 1300 797 288.  We will be more than glad to help with your IT requirements.


Windows 2012 Resource Center


  1. wow…i just set-up my evaluation copy of the windows server 2012 and i cant do it without this tutorial..thanks a lot and keep it up…

  2. Nice POST

  3. Thanks for the article..was easy to follow.

  4. Thanks for the article.Am now more confident and ready to deploy AD

  5. thx dude, it;s awesome!!!

  6. Good one 🙂

  7. Very nice hands-on article 🙂

  8. wow awsome dude… easy to follow the steps…

  9. Excellent!

  10. Thank you for this wonderful post. I was struggling with this dilemma for a long time, but finally i managed to fix it.

  11. Gracias desde Lima, Peru

  12. Thanks you so much.. this solve my problem.. ^_^

  13. Great Job! Does anyone have such an Installation guide for the 2012 Core Version? THX


  15. This was a big help. I’m a student working on setting up a SaaS cloud environment and this helped us set up AD DS without a problem. Thanks for the tutorial.

  16. how to know password administrator??help me

  17. This has been of so so so so much help im up and running thanks alot.

  18. niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  19. THANKS

  20. Hello ECPI. i am working on setting up a SaaS cloud to. what a about your solution? me i am looking for a good and no expensive solution.

  21. Thxxxxxxxxxxxx

  22. Hi George, Eric here 🙂 I was revising for the exam and I found your tutorial ! Isn’t that amazing? I hope Daniel will find this too! lol

  23. Thank You very much. This post helped a lot

  24. Amazing…Helped a lot

  25. very nice guidance….it’s really helped me alot
    ThankYou very much………..:)

  26. sir plse solve my sorver 2012

  27. thanks

  28. Hi Amit,

    What problem you are facing.
    Please let me know.

  29. thanks

  30. ty for doing my homework for me

  31. thanks

  32. its very helpful

  33. Thank you very much, this is an essential tutorial for any AD beginner (like me)!

  34. Thank you

  35. Thanks a lot

  36. It was not working ,because while installing AD domain services we need configure ip address but in above steps he used APIPA ip so it ill installed but the it wont create DNS records .if you want to check open your command prompt and then ping your domain name it show the error (or) open the dns console and check the dns records.please configure the ip address and also configure dns ip . then only it will be working

  37. can implement physically in vmware with all other windows those all are in install in vmware

  38. HI
    I have followed the same steps, but i don’t know which password should i use for login?
    And i used to login with my username and password on the server that also not working, could you please let me know where am i missing?
    Thanks in advance.

  39. I am actually a little bit in love with you now ha ha. i have been out of the IT game for over 8 years and decided i wanted to do the MCSA at my local college. one of the things the Lecturer asked me to do was exactly what you have done in your tutorial.

    10/10 my Friend. i will defo be following your blog.