Server Core installation does not warrant its own section because it's the same as a normal installation of Windows Server 2008. The install media is placed into the server or the server boots over the network, and a product key is entered that identifies the particular edition of Windows Server 2008. In this case, it needs to be Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter. The only difference is during the actual installation, after entering the product key, you select the type of Windows Server 2008 installation, full or core, as shown in Figure 14-1.
Figure 14-1 The description is your first clue that your command-line skills are about to get much better.
When the installation is complete, you get the familiar and comfortable Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to Log On dialog with the pretty Windows Server logo at the bottom. If you press the secure attention sequence, you are prompted to enter logon credentials, so for now all you can do is log on with the administrator account with a blank password.
So far, this is looking great, as Figure 14-2 shows. After clicking the logon button, you are prompted to change the password as normal, and you set a new administrator account password. The normal process of applying local policy and preparing the desktop takes place, and then your Server Core desktop loads, as shown in Figure 14-3.
Figure 14-2 So far this Server Core environment looks familiar.
Figure 14-3 In keeping with trends from server-based computer to client/server back to server-based, you are now back to a command prompt server environment.
Note that you cannot upgrade from Windows Server 2003 to Server Core; only fresh installations of Server Core are supported. You also cannot upgrade from Server Core to the full Windows Server 2008 product, nor can you downgrade from Windows Server 2008 to Server Core. If you need to switch between versions, perform a clean installation.