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Early Experts Study Lab Setup Process

Early Experts” Windows Server 2012 Challenge

Study Lab Setup Process

To setup your own study lab for the Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” Challenge, you’ll need a PC that meets the following requirements:

  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 as installed OS
  • 64-bit capable hardware (x64)
  • Intel-VT or AMD-V support in firmware
  • Hardware-assisted memory protection in firmware (XD)
  • At least 4GB total RAM
  • At least 60GB free space on HDD
  • Full Administrator Rights to existing PC OS
  • No disk encryption or pre-boot authentication

NOTE: If your PC does not meet the above requirements, do not continue with this process. Instead, you may prefer to Build Your Server Lab in the Cloud by leveraging Windows Azure Virtual Machines.  Building your lab in the cloud will allow you to complete most hands-on activities in this study group, but will not permit you to perform hands-on activities related to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

DISCAIMER: This process installs Windows Server 2012 in a dual-boot scenario using Boot-to-VHD features in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.  While this process is not intended to disrupt your existing OS installation, these steps are for use at your own risk.  No support or warranties are implied or provided.

Lab Setup Process

1. Backup your existing PC operating system before beginning this process.  While this process is not intended to disrupt the existing OS installation on your PC, performing a backup before any system upgrades or installation is recommended as a precaution.

2. Download the Windows Server 2012 installation bits in VHD format from the following link location:

3. Extract the downloaded VHD file by running the compressed .EXE file.

4. Copy the Extracted VHD file to C:\BootVHD\Server2012.vhd

5. Mount the copied VHD file as a virtual Drive Letter
– Right-click on the “Command Prompt” shortcut and select “Run as Administrator”
– Run “DISKPART.EXE” from the Command Prompt
– At the “DISKPART>” Command Prompt type the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
SELECT VDISK FILE=”C:\BootVHD\Server2012.vhd”

6. Wait for the VHD file to be mounted as new Drive Letter.  When completed, this new drive letter will display in “My Computer” and “Windows Explorer”

7. Add a new OS Boot Menu Choice for Windows Server 2012
– Right-click on the “Command Prompt” shortcut and select “Run as Administrator”
– Run “BCDBOOT <mounted_drive_letter>:\WINDOWS” from the Command Prompt

8. Reboot and select “Windows Server 2012” for the OS Boot Menu displayed

9. Complete the OS installation process using the steps documented above using the VHD or if you prefer to do a clean install using DVD media check the video below

10.  In case you need more help getting Hyper-V installed and configured… See Lab Guide – Windows 2012 RTM Install and Configure Windows and Hyper-V

Video 9.5 minutes




If you’re having trouble viewing the video, Click here to download it.

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About Dan Stolts ITProGuru

Dan Stolts (The "ITProGuru") is a technology expert who is a master of systems management and security. He is proficient in many Microsoft products especially in the server area (Windows Server, System Center, Exchange, SharePoint, Virtualization, Etc) and holds many certifications including MCT, MCITP, MCSE, TS, etc. Dan is currently specializing in System Management and Security and is also very passionate about virtualization technologies. Dan is and has been a very active member of the community. He is president of Boston User Groups, Founder of Virtualization Group Boston, Founder of North East Leaders and serves on many IT Community group boards. He is in the process of writing his first book on building technology communities. He is a believer in social networking and can be reached on twitter @ITProGuru. He has participated in many non-technology community groups such as: Rotary Club, Lions Club, local Chambers of Commerce and is a mentor for the local high schools. Dan is an enthusiastic advocate of technology and is passionate about helping others. Dan's lifelong passion has been and continues to be to help and teach others!

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