Configuring Active Directory on Windows Server 2012 is a process worthy of patience and attention to detail. It involves installing the Active Directory Domain Services role, defining a new AD forest, creating the first (or root) domain in the forest, configuring DNS, and promoting a member server to a domain controller. Whew, that seems like a bunch of work!
Never fear, Petri is here! A previous Petri post details how to get the Active Directory Domain Services role installed and running on a Windows Server 2012 machine. This article will walk you through the remainder of the process.
Before going any further, it’s important to verify that the member server to be promoted has the Active Directory Domain Services role installed. It also should have a static IP configured. A dynamically configured IP on a domain controller can produce incredibly unpredictable results.
One of the great features of Windows Server 2012’s Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard is that before starting installation it will perform a prerequisites check. This does a good job of making sure nothing is missing that would tank the install. There are a couple warnings you’ll almost always be presented with. The first notifies you that Windows Server 2012 has defaults for certain security settings that can affect very old OSes on the network such as Windows NT 4.0. The second appears when a DNS Server is going to be added by the wizard. It’s a repeat of the message earlier that a DNS Server delegation can’t be created. Both of these errors are safe to ignore in most cases.
If you selected the option to allow automatic restarts don’t be alarmed when the computer reboots at will. Sit back, relax, and watch the magic happen. When the computer comes back up, logon with either the local administrator account or the new domain administrator account. Either way, you’ll notice new options in Server Manager for AD DS and DNS.
Now for a really neat trick. How would you like to do all of the above with a single PowerShell one-liner? Here’s how to do it.
There’s no more to it than that! This cmdlet does everything including adding the DNS Server role if necessary. How’s that for efficient?
Since this is the first and only domain controller in existence for the new AD forest and domain, it will perform a number of additional functions. It will act as a Global Catalog (GC), containing an entire replica of the forest. This domain controller will also hold all five FSMO roles. After promoting additional domain controllers it’s possible to move some or all of these added responsibilities. This allows for better load balancing and redundancy. At minimum, I suggest two DCs in even the most basic AD infrastructure.
You can smile with the satisfaction of a job well done! You’ve installed Active Directory on Windows Server 2012, created a new AD forest, a new domain, and even configured a DNS server. Watch for a coming Petri article where I’ll walk you through adding a “headless” domain controller to the domain using Windows Server 2012 Server Core. Windows Server 2012 and Active Directory are truly made for one another!