Easy walkthrough of deploying Nano Server

Q. I don't see a Nano server install option for Windows Server 2016. How do I install Nano Server?

A. Windows Server 2016 has 3 configuration levels; Server with Desktop Experience, Server Core and Nano Server. Server with Desktop Experience and Server Core are available as installation options but Nano Server is not since its designed more for the "cattle" model that will be deployed through some automated provisioning method whose image would likely need to be customized to install and enable features (since none are included by default) required for the servers purpose. The Nano server build materials can be found in the NanoServer folder of your Windows Server 2016 media and Microsoft has a great document at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt126167.aspx which walks through everything you need to know to build your own virtual or physical Nano server. Below is the PowerShell I used to create mine:

$adminPass = ConvertTo-SecureString "Pa55word" -AsPlainText -Force

Import-Module 'S:\OS Images\Windows Server 2016 TP4\NanoServer\NanoServerImageGenerator.psm1'

New-NanoServerImage -MediaPath 'S:\OS Images\Windows Server 2016 TP4' `
  -BasePath .\Base -TargetPath .\NanoServerVM.vhd -ComputerName NanoVM `
  -GuestDrivers -Storage -Defender -Compute -EnableRemoteManagementPort `
  -AdministratorPassword $adminPass -DomainName savilltech #-ReuseDomainNode

Note that in my example I set a simple password to avoid user entry, I have copied the two required files to a folder which is my current working folder (as outlined in the Microsoft article) then I create a new Nano VHD which has storage, defender, compute (Hyper-V), guest drivers for Hyper-V, remote management enabled and joins my local domain. Note that I run this PowerShell on a Windows Server 2016 host that is a member of the domain I am joining the Nano server to. The Microsoft document has details on using djoin if the host is not part of the domain you wish to join the Nano server to in addition to joining Nano server to a domain online.

The PowerShell above will create a Generation 1 based VHD that I can then use to create a VM Once started the instance is already joint to the domain and will use DHCP. You can do basic IP configuration and firewall management using the Nano server console but not much else.

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