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How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server

What Do I Need?

  • Any Dedicated or Virtual Server
  • Windows Server

What is Active Directory?

Active Directory (AD) is a database and set of services that connect users with the network resources they need to get their work done.

The database, or directory, contains critical information about your environment, including what users and computers there are and who’s allowed to do what. For example, the database might list 100 user accounts with details like each person’s job title, phone number, and password. It’ll also record their permissions.

The services control much of the activity that goes on in your IT environment. In particular, they make sure each person is who they claim to be; authentication; usually by checking the user ID and password they enter, and allow them to access only the data they’re allowed to use; authorization.

  1. Install Active Directory Domain Services

    1. To get started setting up Active Directory, you’ve first got to install Active Directory Domain Services on your Windows Server. Once that’s done the server can be promoted to Domain Controller.
    2. Server Manager > Manage > Add Roles and Features
      Opens the Add Roles and Features Wizard. Click Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
      At Select Installation Type, select Role-based or feature-based installation and then click Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
      Next, click Select a server from the server pool. In Server Pool, make sure that your local computer is selected, and click Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
      Select Active Directory Domain Services from Roles.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
      Next, you’ll be asked to add the required features. Click Add Features and hit Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows ServerIn Features, select Next.

      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server

      Make sure you read the information on the Active Directory Domain Services dialog and click Next.

      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server

      In the Confirmation dialog, click Install to install the selected roles, role services, and features on your server.

      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server

      The installation process will start. Once it's finished click Close to close the wizard.

  1. Promote Your Server to Domain Controller
    1. When the installation is done, click Notifications in Server Manager and then the link titled Promote this server to a domain controller.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Once the Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard dialog opens, select Add a new forest and enter Root domain name. Then click Next.

      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server

    1. In the Domain Controller Options dialog, leave Forest functional level and Domain functional level enabled as default. Provide a secure password for Directory Services Restore Mode and click Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Ignore the warning given on the DNS Options dialog and select Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Verify your server’s NetBIOS domain name and select Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Specify the locations for the AD DS Database folder, Log Files folder, and SYSVOL folder. Leave everything default unless you have a specific enterprise use case. Select Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Review your selections and click Next.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. The awesome installation wizard will validate the prerequisites before installing AD DS. Once all the checks are passed successfully, select Install.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. And just like magic, the installation will, hopefully, get started.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Once the installation is done, click Close to finish the wizard.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server
    1. Your Active Directory Services have now been installed successfully. Your machine will be rebooted automatically.
      How to Install and Setup Active Directory on Windows Server

Conclusion

Active Directory stores information about objects on the network and makes this information easy for administrators and users to find and use. Active Directory uses a structured data store as the basis for a logical, hierarchical organization of directory information.

Security is integrated with Active Directory through logon authentication and access control to objects in the directory. With a single network logon, administrators can manage directory data and organization throughout their network, and authorized network users can access resources anywhere on the network. Policy-based administration eases the management of even the most complex network.

Microsoft Windows Server is simply incredible and an amazing bare-metal server solution. Able to host enterprise platforms and applications safely and securely, this operating system is perfect for a massive range of use cases.

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