Deploying Windows Server 2012 Domain Controller

This post is to walk you through deploying a Windows Server 2012 Domain Controller. The process is fairly straight forward and doesn’t take long. Window Server 2012 undergone quite significant changes and I felt that it would be good to document the procedure of promoting a Windows Server 2012 to a Domain Controller. You’re going to need to install a trial version of Windows Server 2012 or fully licensed version if you have the licenses, either way, its the exact same process.

Let’s begin:

  • Let’s begin by logging on to Windows Server 2012 and opening Server Manager

  • Once the Server Manager is open we’re going to click on “Add Roles and Features”

  • At this point, the Welcome Wizard will be displayed and we can click on Next to continue
  • Select “Role-Based or Feature-Based Installation and click Next
  • Keep the default selection at “Select a server from the server pool” and click Next
  •  Select Active Directory Domain Services and in doing so, you’ll be prompted with installing additional features to support the role. Select Add Features and proceed with the installation


  • If there are additional features that you’d like to install, you can do so at the next screen, otherwise click Next to continue
  • Click Next again
  • Confirm the Installation and if all looks good, click Install to begin the installation. Please note that this will simply install the AD tools, but will not promote just yet. This is the step that we’re going to have to do, after we finish with this installation.
  • Once the installation is complete, go ahead and close the wizard
  • At this point, after the installation has completed, we need to now promote this server. To do so, click on the notifications icon in the Server Manager on the top right hand side
  • Now we’re going to click on “Promote this server to a domain controller
  • Once the wizard screen appears, because this is going to be a new domain controller in a non existing domain, we’re going to chose “Add a new forest” and give our domain a name of your choice
  •  Next we need to chose the forest/domain functional level, specify whether we’re going to install DNS, and specify the Directory Services Restore password. I kept everything as is (defaults) however if you’re going to host Windows 2003/2008 domain controllers, you’ll need to change the functional levels that are appropriate for your environment.
  • You’ll notice a DNS warning regarding a creation of a delegation for Remus.local. Obviously because we don’t have any DNS in place since this is a new server in a new forest, the delegation cannot be created so this warning can simply be ignored.
  • Confirm the NETBIOS name and click Next
  • Review the paths and click Next
  • Review everything we just did and click Next
  • Once the prerequisites checks complete, we can go ahead and click Install to begin promoting the server to a Domain Controller

That is it folks, after the installation is complete, the server will need to be rebooted. Once the server rebooted, you’ll see new Active Directory shortcuts appear in the Modern UI.

Andrey Pogosyan

Andrey Pogosyan is a Virtualization Architect who’s focus is on infrastructure virtualization involving mainly VMware and Citrix products. Having worked in the IT industry for 10+ years, Andrey has had the opportunity to fulfill many different roles ranging from Desktop Support and all the way up to Architecture and Implementation. Most recently, Andrey has taken a great interest in the datacenter technology stack encompassing Virtualization, mainly VMware vSphere\View, Citrix XenApp\XenDesktop and Storage (EMC, HP, NetApp).

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