Installing Windows Server 2012 or R2 Step by Step Guide

Windows Server 2012 is the latest release of Microsoft in Windows Server, and has some great new improvements.

Clean Install Windows Server 2012

A clean install is when you install any operating system on an unused partitions. I typically do clean install, because my last system got corrupted or I am upgrading from an older version of Windows.

This guide will walk you through every part of a clean Install.


If you are doing a clean install you will not be backing up anything. This is why you want a clean install, because anything on that partition is going to be erased (not reversible!).

Requirements for Windows Server 2012:

Processor: 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor

Ram: 512 MB (Recommended 1 GB)

Disk Space: 32 GB


Beginning of Windows Server 2012 R2 Install

Boot from the Windows Server 2012 Disk or USB Device


The first install process you will have to do is locating a Windows Server 2012 disk. If you don’t have a Windows Server 2012 disk you can use a flash drive ISO image.

The following steps are for the DVD/disk method (Flash Drive (USB) method is here)

  1. Turn on the computer and open the optical drive.
  2. Place the disk within the optical drive
  3. Restart the computer by pressing the restart. If you can’t find the restart, you can turn the machine off.
  4. When the machine boots back up you will have a message on the screen that states “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD. . .” It will look like this image.


  1. At this time you can hit any letter on the keyboard, but I usually hit the return/enter key.

a.   If you didn’t press a key on the keyboard you will get an error that will say “NTLDR is Missing” or “No Operating System Found”. If you see this message you will want to change the boot order in BIOS or UEFI.



History Lesson on the Any Key

 The history behind this phrase comes from the late 1970’s when personal computers didn’t have a GUI (Graphic User Interface) in place. To reach the next line of text or part of the program you would have to hit any key. This caused confusion, because nobody could find the “Any Key”.  The theory behind the “Any Key” is that it was the “Super Key” which is now referred to as the Windows Key. Before Windows was created the keyboard had a “Super Key”.


  1. If it was successful you will be presented with the next step

a.   This could take a few minutes and you don’t have to do anything well it is loading. This is just loading temporary files onto your server.


Choosing the Language and other Preferences

  1. Once the files get done loading you will be presented with the Windows Server 2012 splash screen. You do not need to do anything at this point.



  1. The Install Windows screen will appear. This screen will ask you what language, time format, and keyboard method. For this guide we will be using English and US. You can change this after the install is completed.

a.   You see the “e” with the “_” under it “e”. This is for people who don’t want to use a mouse or that don’t have a mouse at the time of install. If you do a lot of these like I have, you can cut your time in half by pressing that letter with the underscore and picking your options.



  1. After the Language screen the Install now screen appears. Click Install now.

a.   If you have a broken system and want do try to fix it before you do a fresh install. You can try the “Repair your computer” option. If you click this and don’t have an OS (Operating System) you will have to do the above steps over.


  1. The Windows Server 2012 setup process is starting.


  1. After the starting setup has started you will be asked to pick the OS.



  1. This screen is the Windows Server 2012 Software License agreement. Accept the Windows Server 2012 License Terms or hit “a”, which will add the check in the box.

a.   Windows OS has a 3 limit install on a computer. This means you shouldn’t install the license on another computer if it is was meant for another one.

b.   Doing a fresh install is not breaking any laws or contracts with Windows. License Terms are a pain,but I will go over that with another guide.


  1. The “Which type of installation do you want” screen appears. You have two options, Upgrade, and Custom (advanced). We will pick the Custom (advanced) option,

a.   Upgrade is used when upgrading from a previous version of Windows, but I always suggest to do a fresh install, because most programs will not work from an older version to a new version.

b.   Custom (advanced) is not as advanced as it states. This just allows you to have more control and customization.


  1. Partition screen is the next screen youwill encounter. If you don’t see your HD or SSD from the option below you may want to check your connection inside of the server. Things get loose when moving your server around. We will now be formatting your drive or drives. On the Partition screen, click the “Drive options (advanced)



  1. You should be on the same screen still, butwith more options. If you have multiple drives you will see them listed as Disk 0, Disk 1, Disk2, etc. Pick the drive you want the OS to run on and click Next



  1. Windows Server 2012 installation is started wait till it finishes.

a.   It will reboot after configuring the server.

  1. The next screen will be the splash screen. This is just getting everything setup.

a.   Installation has started, wait until it finishes. It will reboot after configuring the server.

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  2. The last screen in this guide will be the administrator password screen.

a.   Type in your password twice and hit Finish17


  1. After hitting finish your system with start finalizing your settings.