Crack the Microsoft Server 2008 Core with CoreConfig

The “no GUI” version of Windows Server 2008, can be a bit of a challenge for a sysadmin. To help, you get a command prompt and that’s about it – none of the graphical tools that we know and love to set up all the details of the server’s configuration.

Crack the Microsoft Server 2008 Core with CoreConfig

This can be daunting since you have to do everything through the command line, and while that is of course the favourite tool of the truly power-crazed system administrator, it’s also true that life is too short to have to remember rarely used functions and command-line settings when a simple GUI would do. Fortunately, help is now at hand in the shape of a tool called, appropriately enough, CoreConfig.

The code itself, including source, is on CodePlex.

So what exactly does CoreConfig enable you to do? Well, all the stuff you really need to do. For example, its main menu covers licensing settings, computer/domain settings, interface settings, install/uninstall server roles, user permissions, share creation, control panel, system information and the task manager – all the things you have to do to a Server Core when you first install it, and before your System Center management tools have had a chance to take a vice-like grip over the box.

This tool is well worth its purchase price, which is nothing – that’s right, it’s free – and it will certainly help make Server Core somewhat less frightening

So this tool is well worth its purchase price, which is nothing – that’s right, it’s free – and it will certainly help make Server Core somewhat less frightening to sysadmins who’ve been brought up on a diet of graphical management tools. Apparently it was written by two chaps at Microsoft UK – Andrew Auret and Tony Ison – so thanks to them for such a useful tool.

Why should you be using Server Core itself? Well, because it’s an ideal aide when virtualising your servers. If you were planning to run some ordinary servers inside a VM, then installing Server Core will do the same job while taking up less disk space. This matters when your VMs are booting from shared space on a SAN, for example – save a few gig here, a few gig there and it soon adds up.

Paring back on Server Core’s disk requirements can make a big difference when space is tight and expensive, and you’ll only need a full GUI on your management server, so why not keep just one or two “full fat” servers and make the rest of them Server Core (assuming this also fits your licensing requirements)?

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