What’s new in Windows Server 2008 R2 Server core

Just a brief disclaimer on why I’m writing this for those who find it strange to see words “what’s new” and “Server 2008 R2” at the time when everyone talks about Windows Server 2012 (probably even 2012 R2): 1) I decided to complete my WS 2008 certification so jotting down some points for myself. 2) As I’m going into details what was actually added in WS2008 R2 I do realize that there are loads of good stuff and foundations for some of the things which WS2012 offers have been laid in this release actually (and it sadly that “R2” releases often perceived as something minor). After disclaimer has been made I may proceed with my post.

So the new features available are following:

1. .NET Framework – 2.0, 3.0, 3.5.1, 4.0 are now supported on Server Core installation.

2. ASP.NET – as .NET is now supported on Server Core R2 ASP.NET can be enabled.

3. PowerShell.

4. AD CS – AD Certificate Services role can be installed on Server Core R2 system.

5. SCONFIG (something which may remind you text option menus in old games by its pseudo-GUI, think of Duke Nukem, Doom or something): just type SCONFIG & configure your server core deployment – knowledge of proper CLI commands no longer is prerequisite. Things you can do with SCONFIG: Domain Join, Rename Computer, Configure Remote Management, Network Settings, Download and Install Updates etc.

Those who use pre R2 version of Windows Serve core may employ Server Core Configurator 1.1 which will provide you with GUI for your Windows 2008 Server Core configuration tasks. Version 2.0 runs only on Windows Server 2008 R2 as it requires PoSh 2.0 and NetFx.

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