Creating a first Windows Server 2012 Domain Controller

Well it’s time for me to create new labs using server 2012. The installation is plain and simple, that’s why I will jump directly to create a new domain in a new forest with Windows server 2012 which will be my first Domain Controller. Bad news… I hate bad news; the dcpromo command (which I loved ) is gone, and Server Manager is the only tool you can use to promote a server to a Domain Controller; ohh yeahh… and PowerShell.

If you issue the dcpromo command you will get the message “The Active Directory Domain Service Installation Wizard is relocated in Server Manager. For more information see…

Before we actually start, let me remind you to use a static IP address on your domain controller.

Now let’s open Server Manager. Here go to Manage > Add Roles and Features.

On the initial screen just click Next to continue.

In server 2012 Remote Desktop Services are separated from the rest of the roles, but right now to install AD make sure Role-based or feature-based installation is selected.

Another feature of server 2012 is you can add, manage and install roles on remote servers from a single management console. Select the server where you want to install AD.

On the Select servers roles page check the Active Directory Domain Services box, the click Add Features on the window that pops-up. Click Next to continue.


There are no features to select in this screen, so just move on with the wizard.

Here is an informative page that you can read or skip it.

If you want the server to automatically restart, if required, check the box Restart the destination server automatically if required. Click Install.

If you want you can close the wizard during the installation process, and is not going to cancel it. It will run in the background. After the role and features are done installing you can click the Promote this server to domain controller link to promote this server to a domain controller.  I don’t want to use that link, well…not for now any way. I want to show another way you can promote this server to a domain controller.


If you go in Server Manager you will see an exclamation mark at the top of the window. Click it, and the Promote this server to domain controller link appears again. Now you can make use of this link and start the server promotion.

The Active Directory Configuration Wizard appears. Since this is the first domain controller, select the Add a new forest button, and in the Root domain name, type the domain name you want for your environment.

You need to think hard about the forest functional level, because later if you want to promote a 2003 or 2008 server to a domain controller, you will not be able to. Type the Directory Service Restore Mode password and click Next to continue.

Now you will get a message that “A delegation for this DNS server cannot be created because the authoritative parent zone cannot be found or it does not run Windows DNS server. If you are integrating with an existing DNS infrastructure, you should manually create a delegation to this DNS server in the parent zone to ensure reliable name resolution from outside the domain “vkernel.local”. Otherwise, no action is required.” Don’t worry, this is because there are no DNS servers or a zone name after you domain name in the environment. Ignore the warning and continue.

If you are wondering how I’ve made that warning to pop-up, just click the Show more link on the yellow message at the top.

Leave the default NetBIOS name that the wizard is providing and click Next.

Choose where the AD database and logs will sit. Best practices recommend this should be on separate hard drives, but just for large environments.

At the Review page you ca view the script that is going to be used by the wizard to promote the server to a Domain Controller.


The server is verified if all the prerequisites are available. If passed, click Install to start the server promotion.

The process will take just a few minutes, and when is done the server will automatically reboot.


After reboot you will be forced to change the password.

Log in and verify that everything is in order; Active Directory, DNS etc.


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