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Want to learn how to install Active Directory to your windows server?

What is new in Active Directory?  

There are interesting new features such as time-based group membership, privileged access management etc. but in this post I am not going to discuss those as I am going to write separate articles to provide more info about those new features. But if you need more info on it, you can find more details at:


In this post I am going to demonstrate how to install active directory on windows server 2016.  

Before the AD is installed, it is important to understand what the minimum requirement is to install windows server 2016. This information can be found at :



  • 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor
  • Compatible with x64 instruction set
  • Supports NX and DEP
  • Supports CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW 
  • Supports Second Level Address Translation (EPT or NPT)

Core info is a tool you can use to confirm which of these capabilities your CPU has. 


  • 512 MB (2 GB for Server with Desktop Experience installation option)
  • ECC (Error Correcting Code) type or similar technology

Storage controller and disk space requirements 

Computers that run Windows Server 2016 must include a storage adapter that is compliant with the PCI Express architecture specification. Persistent storage devices on servers classified as hard disk drives must not be PATA. Windows Server 2016 does not allow ATA/PATA/IDE/EIDE for boot, page, or data drives. 

The following are the estimated minimum disk space requirements for the system partition. 

Minimum: 32 GB 

Network adapter requirements 


  • An Ethernet adapter capable of at least gigabit throughput
  • Compliant with the PCI Express architecture specification.
  • Supports Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE).

A network adapter that supports network debugging (KDNet) is useful, but not a minimum requirement. 

So, in my demo I am using a virtual server with windows server 2016 Std. In order to setup active directory, we need to log in as local administrator. First thing to check is IP address configuration.  

1. Once Active directory setup on the server, it also going to act as DNS server. There for change the DNS settings in network interface and set the server IP address (or local host IP as the primary DNS server. 


Sample DNS address


2. Then open the server manager. Go to PowerShell (as administrator) and type ServerManager.exe and press enter. 

sample image


3. Then on server manager click on add roles and features. 

sample add

4. Then it opens the add roles and features wizard. Click on next to proceed. sample to begin


5. Then in next window keep the default and click next. 

sample sellect

6. Since its going to be local server, in the next window keep the default selection. 

Sample server selection


7. In next window from the roles put tick box for active directory domain services. Then it will prompt to show you what are the associated features for the role. Click on add features to add those. Then click next to continue. 

sample role

sample role 1

sample role 2

8. The features page, keep it default and click on next to proceed. 

sample role 3

9. Next window it gives brief description about AD DS service. Click next to proceed. 

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10. Then it will give the confirmation about what you will install, click on install to start the role installation process. 

sample role 5

11. Once done, it will start the installation process. 

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12. Once installation completes, click on option promote this server to a domain controller. 

sample role 6

13. Then it will open the active directory configuration wizard. In my demo I am going to setup new forest. But if you are adding this to existing domain you can choose relevant option. (I am going to write a separate article to cover how you can upgrade from older version of Active Directory). Select the option to add new forest and type FQDN for the domain. Then click next. 

sample role 7

14. In next page you can select the domain and forest functional levels. I am going to set it up with the latest. Then type a password for DSRM. Then click next 

sample role 8

15. For the DNS options, this going to be the first DNS server in new forest. So no need any modifications. Click next to proceed. 

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16. For the NETBIOS name keep the default and click next. 

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17.  Next page is to define the NTDS, SYSVOL and LOG file folders. You can keep default or define different path for these. In demo I will be keeping default. Once changes are done, click next to continue. 

sample role 11

18. Next page will give option to review the configuration changes. If everything is okay you can click next to proceed or otherwise can go back and change the settings. 

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19. Next page will give option to review the configuration changes. If everything is okay you can click next to proceed or otherwise  go back and change the settings. 

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20. Then it will start the installation process. 

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21.  After the installation, the system will restart automatically. Once it comes back log in to the server as domain admin. 

22.  Once log in open the powershell (as administrator) and type dsac.exe and press enter. It will open up the active directory administrative center. There you can start managing the resources.sample 15

sample 16

 23. Also you can use Get-ADDomain | fl Name,DomainMode and Get-ADForest | fl Name,ForestMode from powershell to confirm domain and forest functional levels. 

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