Installing Hyper-V Core: Step-by-Step

Organizations are becoming increasingly demanding about management of their IT resources, from servers to IT personnel and everything in between. Server management software giants are acknowledging this growing need for control among the organizations that buy such sophisticated software.

No wonder, then, that Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 supersedes its predecessors by blending the coveted virtues of simplicity, intuitiveness, and reliability into a core virtualization package that is potent enough to enable growing as well as mature organizations to enhance server utilization at reduced costs.

The Hyper-V Server’s prime constituents are:

  • Windows hypervisor
  • A Windows server driver model
  • Virtualization components

Because of the ease with which organizations can upgrade to Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, it’s witnessed easy adoption. Of course, this brings us to the question at hand: How do you install Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2?

First things first: the prerequisites

  • Though Microsoft suggests a minimum of 1.4 GHz 64-bit virtualization enabled processor, we’d strongly advise you to have at least 2 GHz processor for seamless Hyper-V Server experience.
  • Again, Microsoft suggests a minimum of 512 MB hard disk space to accommodate Hyper-V Server installation, but we’re sure you have more than that on your machine.
  • A network adapter is critical.
  • You’ll need to enable hardware-assisted virtualization.
  • Hardware enforced DEP will need to be enabled.
  • Admin access to manage installation.
  • Memory to handle all virtual machines operations in parallel.
  • A DVD with the Hyper-V Server 2012 ISO file.
  • A backup of your files.

Steps to install Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Core


We have divided this installation in six easy steps, most of which are intuitive enough.

  1. Boot up your computer on the new OS using your Hyper-V DVD.
  2. You’ll see a screen asking you to select the default language, time, and currency format, and keyboard or input method. Hit the next button once done with that. The next screen shows an install now button; click on it.
  3. This is where you see the license-agreement screen. We suggest you read through the appropriate licensing text, tick the “I accept the license terms” box, and hit the next button.
  4. Now, you need to choose the installation type. You can go for the Upgrade, wherein the new Hyper-V installation will keep the files, settings, and applications of the previous installation. We’ll take you through the other option, the custom installation. The files, settings, and applications are not moved to the new installation in this option.
  5. Next, it’s time to choose the disk drive where you want the installation to take place. No, this has nothing to do with putting in a new sound system in your car! Moreover, note that the installation will overwrite existing files from the destination drive. Once done, the installer prepares the destination drive, and readies the Hyper-V host to boot up on its own.
  6. Time to choose an admin password to allow access as the local computer’s admin. Of course, joining a Hyper-V host to an active directory domain is possible.Since this is a Server Core installation, you will see only a command prompt window after logging in to the system.

Using Powershell to install roles and features


Now that you’re done with the installation, it’s time to play around with configuration and settings to make the installation more useful for you. If you have any experience using Windows Powershell, you’ll be happily surprised to note how much configuration you can manage quickly when using it. Here’s a quick walkthrough to help you with that.

  1. Type powershell in the command prompt and hit enter.
  2. To view the available features and roles, type get-windowsfeature and hit enter.
  3. To install a feature name, type install-windowsfeature followed by the feature name. You can find the name of the feature from the list shown after step 2 above.
  4. You will see a progress bar highlighting the installation progress of the feature you specified in step 3. You’ll see a screen such as the one above after your selected feature’s successful installation.

Want to install multiple features at one time? No problem. Go back to steps 1, 2, and 3 above. While doing step 3, just use a comma (,) to separate all your desired features. Uninstalling a role or a feature is simple enough. Use the uninstall-windowsfeature powershell cmdlet followed by the feature name. The installation files of such discarded roles and features will remain on the disk to allow quick reinstall at a later time.

After you’re happy with the installation of Hyper-V Server 2012 and its features and roles, you can remotely connect via Hyper-V Manager to begin running virtual machines. Just do not turn into Skynet! Remember, humanity is not your enemy. Soundwave and Megatron are though, for sure!

A few words on server with a GUI installation


Note that there’s not much of a difference from the installation point of view between the Server Core and server with a GUI installation. If you wish to press the key (pun intended) for the server with GUI option, the exception is that you need to select that as your installation option from the installation prompt.

How to switch between server with a GUI and Server Core installations

Windows Server 2012 gives you the option of switching between the two installation choices using Windows Powershell. The only requirement is that you will need admin privileges to be able to use appropriate Powershell cmdlets to make this switch. The actual steps to make this switch, however, are out of scope of this guide.

Special note — minimal server interface option

If you open the door for the Server with a GUI installation, there’s a smart configuration option you might want to check out. It is called Minimal Server Interface. Using this, you can remove some of the graphical components that otherwise accompany the GUI installation. Removable components include the control panel, task bar, desktop, IE10, Windows Explorer, and start screen. This can be done using Windows Powershell or the Server Manager. Server manager? No, this does not have anything do with the server manager at Applebee’s.

That’s it. We suggest you roll your socks up, button your shirt, and lace up your sneakers and follow this guide to manage your Hyper-V Core installation. This is not nearly as difficult as rebuilding your car’s transmission. Not even close.

Get going!

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3 thoughts on “Installing Hyper-V Core: Step-by-Step”

  1. Thanks Ben for a great article! So, to keep the Hyper-V server’s footprint as small as possible so that more juice is left for the guest O/S, one should try not install the GUI, right?

    1. Benjamin Roussey

      Thanks Ash. OK.
      To your question – yes, and one option I have read and heard on more than one occasion is to choose full GUI, get all the configurations done, and then downgrade to the core installation. 
      Have a fine rest of the Ash. OK.

      1. Hi Benjamin!! Thanks for the article. Based on my recent searching I came to know that Hyper-V Server 2012R2 comes up as an evaluation version. So, I will not get any technical support from Microsoft for it. As per Microsoft Customer Care if I go for a Windows Server 2012R2 and install Hyper V as an additional feature, I will get the required support from Microsoft but it’s always a good idea to install Hyper V Server 2012R2 as a bare metal installation. In that case, we don’t need to think about the other unnecessary services/processes which are running with a GUI based Windows server product. In a nutshell, I want to have the minimal services to run the Hyper V only in a server. I am worried about the implementation of such product which does not have any direct technical support. Obviously you have mentioned by using Power Shell we can switch to core version after successful installation of GUI. By doing so will I get the minimal services/processes that are needed to run Hyper-V only? Or should I uninstall more roles/features to get Hyper-V only?

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