This is my first of hopefully many posts involving the latest and greatest server operating system Windows Server 2012. This post will walk you through the installation,(which really hasn’t changed much) and what you will see after the desktop appears for the first time.

Download the  Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) and create a bootable disk, USB or boot from the ISO in your virtualization environment,(I went with the last choice).

Installing Windows Server 2012

Boot into Windows Server 2012 WinPE and start the installation

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Select your Language, Time and Currency and Keyboard > Click Next

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Click Install Now

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Windows setup begins

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Here is the only real change in the installation routine. Windows 2012 Server defaults to a Server Core installation. I chose to install the GUI so the new Metro features and the changes in the overall navigation can be reviewed later in this post.

The really cool difference is that you can roll this installation back to either the Windows 2012 Server Core only installation or the best of both worlds the “Minimal Server Interface” after you install the full GUI version of Windows Server 2012. This ability to scale down,(or scale up) to the GUI is a major change from Windows Server 2008 R2.

The Minimal Server Interface will allow you to use Server Manager and the traditional tools such as Control Panel and Device Manager to perform your Windows administration tasks on a “Core”installation of Windows Server 2012. More on that in later posts!

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Accept the terms > Click Next

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Select Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)

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For this install I accepted the defaults Drive 0 > Click Next

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Windows 2012 starts to install

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After the reboot Windows 2012 finishes installing

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The Administrator account prompts you for a password > Click Finish

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The Ctrl + Alt + Delete prompt

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Enter the Administrator password

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The Administrator Desktop appears and Server Manager launches

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I will close Server Manager for now mouse over the lower left of the Task bar > Click Start

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The Start Menu Metro tiles appear on the Desktop. Use these Metro tiles to navigate the GUI of the Windows Server 2012 desktop

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Move the mouse to the far right of the Desktop to launch the Navigation tool bar > Click Settings

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The Settings applet will expose Action Center Items

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The Search applet will show the Apps view

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Right Click the Desktop > Click on the All Apps link

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The Apps Desktop view appears

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