Installing Active Directory on Windows Server 2012 R2

This is a step-by-step guide on how to create the first domain controller in a new Windows Server 2012 R2 forest. If you are going to perform a test lab of any kind, involving Windows servers, you will most certainly need an Active Directory Domain. Dcrpomo.exe is deprecated beginning in Windows Server 2012, so the process is slightly different from how it used to be in the 2008 iterations of Windows Server. In this lab I’m using VirtualBox as virtualization software, as I feel it’s the easiest one to work with, when you just need a simple test lab to test something quickly.

1. Installation of VirtualBox and Virtual Machines


Download and install VirtualBox, the installation procedure is quite straightforward, so I’m not going to write in details about that. Then create a virtual machine, called Server01, with 1GB ram and 30GB disk.

Mount the Server 2012 R2 ISO on the virtual machine, and install Server 2012 R2 Standard edition (Server with a GUI). Rename the computer to Server01 in Windows. Then give it the following IP address configuration,

Server01: Nic1, ip=, subnetmask=, DNS preferred=

Install the Guest Additions for VirtualBox, and restart the server. You are now ready to promote it to a domain controller.


2. Installation of Active Directory

2.1 Installing the Active Directory Domain Services role

2.1.1 Start Server Manager
2.1.2 Click Add Roles And Features
2.1.3 Click Next on the first page of the Wizard


2.1.4 Click Next, keeping the default option


2.1.5 Click Next again


2.1.6 Choose Active Directory Domain Services


2.1.7 Click Add Features


2.1.8 Then click Next


2.1.9 Click Next


2.1.10 Next again


2.1.11 Click Install


2.1.12 Finally, click Close



2.2 Promoting the stand-alone server to a Domain Controller


After installing the AD Domain Services role, you will have to promote the server to a Domain Controller. This can be done through PowerShell or the Server Manager GUI. In this blog post, we will utilize the AD DS configuration wizard in the GUI.

2.2.1 Click on the flag icon, then choose Promote this server to a domain controller


2.2.2 Choose Add a new forest, fill in the FQDN of the forest Root domain. Click Next


2.2.3 Since this is the first domain controller in the forest, and it is running Server2012 R2, you might as well set Forest Functional Level to Windows Server 2012 R2, which will entail that Domain Functional Level must (also) be Windows Server 2012 R2. The first DC in a forest must be writeable and a Global Catalog server, also leave the check mark for DNS. Type a password for DSRM, then click Next.


2.2.4 Click Next


2.2.5 Click Next


2.2.6 Leave the location for Database, Sysvol and Log files folders at default settings. Click Next


2.2.7 If you click View Script On the Review Options page, it will display a PowerShell script that contains the settings we have defined in the wizard, which is helpful when you want to deploy domain controllers through PowerShell. In any case, click next on the Review Options page



2.2.8 Finally click Install to start the installation process


2.2.9 Restart the server when prompted to do so


3. Verify installation of Active Directory


Log on as Contoso\Administrator with the same password as you used earlier to log on as the built-in local administrator account. There are several ways to verify installation of AD. Below are a couple of the simplest ones.

2.3.1 Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. If you can bind to the domain controller correctly, you will see the domain, and you will not receive any errors when expanding it to view its contents.


2.3.2 Start the DNS Manager snap-in. Here check for the and forward lookup zones. Also check your new domain controller’s SRV records in the tcp folder of