IIS 7.0 on Server Core

by Tobin Titus

As you may know from TechEd 2007 announcements and a Bill Staples' blog post, IIS 7.0 is supported on the Server Core installation option of Windows Server® 2008. IIS 7.0 on Server Core combines a powerful new Web server with a minimal footprint server operating system, which has a smaller disk space requirement, lower memory utilization, a reduced attack surface, and lower servicing needs.

This article provides basic instructions for getting started with IIS 7.0 on Server Core, including installation instructions for running Classic ASP and PHP applications.

IIS Deployment and Configuration Tips

Q1. How to install IIS 7.0 on Server Core?

A. You can use pkgmgr.exe command line tool option to install IIS 7.0 on your Server core box. For default IIS install option, type following on the command-window:

start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel

For Full IIS install option, you can type following in command-line:

start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;IIS-WebServer;IIS-CommonHttpFeatures;IIS-StaticContent;IIS-DefaultDocument;IIS-DirectoryBrowsing;IIS-HttpErrors;IIS-HttpRedirect;IIS-ApplicationDevelopment;IIS-ASP;IIS-CGI;IIS-ISAPIExtensions;IIS-ISAPIFilter;IIS-ServerSideIncludes;IIS-HealthAndDiagnostics;IIS-HttpLogging;IIS-LoggingLibraries;IIS-RequestMonitor;IIS-HttpTracing;IIS-CustomLogging;IIS-ODBCLogging;IIS-Security;IIS-BasicAuthentication;IIS-WindowsAuthentication;IIS-DigestAuthentication;IIS-ClientCertificateMappingAuthentication;IIS-IISCertificateMappingAuthentication;IIS-URLAuthorization;IIS-RequestFiltering;IIS-IPSecurity;IIS-Performance;IIS-HttpCompressionStatic;IIS-HttpCompressionDynamic;IIS-WebServerManagementTools; IIS-ManagementScriptingTools;IIS-IIS6ManagementCompatibility;IIS-Metabase;IIS-WMICompatibility;IIS-LegacyScripts;IIS-FTPPublishingService;IIS-FTPServer;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel


  1. To uninstall IIS, you can pass "/uu:" instead of "/iu:" for the commands mentioned above (Ex. Start /w pkgmgr /uu: IIS-WebServerRole….).
  2. For more information on pkgmgr.exe, see the Installing IIS 7.0 from the Command Line article.

Q2. Which features of IIS 7.0 are not available on Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008?

Server Core installations on Windows Server 2008 comes with certain differences from regular Windows Server 2008 OS installations. In a nutshell, .Net framework is not available (hence no ASP.Net) and there is no windows shell so GUI administration tools are not available. As a note, availability and support of .Net framework on Server Core installation option is being discussed so there is no final answer on that as of this date yet.

A. Following features are not available as installation options on Server Core:

  • IIS-NetFxExtensibility
  • IIS-ManagementConsole
  • IIS-ManagementService
  • IIS-LegacySnapIn
  • IIS-FTPManagement
  • WAS-NetFxEnvironment
  • WAS-ConfigurationAPI

Q3. How do you install Classic ASP on Server Core?

A. Type following pkgmgr.exe command to install Classic ASP along with features for Static Content Web Server on Server Core machine.

Start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;IIS-WebServer;IIS-CommonHttpFeatures;IIS-StaticContent;IIS-DefaultDocument;IIS-DirectoryBrowsing;IIS-HttpErrors;IIS-ApplicationDevelopment;IIS-ASP;IIS-ISAPIExtensions;IIS-HealthAndDiagnostics;IIS-HttpLogging;IIS-LoggingLibraries;IIS-RequestMonitor;IIS-Security;IIS-RequestFiltering;IIS-HttpCompressionStatic;IIS-WebServerManagementTools;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel

Q4. How do you install PHP on Server Core?

A. Steps to install and configure PHP on Server Core are as follows:

  1. Unzip the content of PHP download from https://www.php.net/downloads.php to a file share.


    Since Server Core does not have browser support, it is recommended to download the PHP content on a file share where browser access is available.

  2. Create a %SystemDrive%\PHP directory on Server Core machine and xcopy the content of the folder from the file share above onto %SystemDrive%\PHP folder on local machine.

  3. Copy the %SystemDrive%\PHP\PHP.INI-Recommended file as %SystemDrive%\PHP\PHP.INI.

Q5. How do you install and configure Fast-CGI support on the IIS Server?

A. After completing the steps on installing PHP in Q4, please follow the steps below to install Fast-CGI and configure it.

Step 1. Please use following command-line to install IIS features for FastCGI along with features for Static Content Web Server:

Start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;IIS-WebServer;IIS-CommonHttpFeatures;IIS-StaticContent;IIS-DefaultDocument;IIS-DirectoryBrowsing;IIS-HttpErrors;IIS-ApplicationDevelopment;IIS-CGI;IIS-HealthAndDiagnostics;IIS-HttpLogging;IIS-LoggingLibraries;IIS-RequestMonitor;IIS-Security;IIS-RequestFiltering;IIS-HttpCompressionStatic;IIS-WebServerManagementTools;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel


Alternatively, you can choose to install Full IIS option indicated in Q1. Default IIS install option does not contain FastCGI installation.

Step 2. Create the PHP/FastCGI handler mapping from command line by typing following two appcmd.exe commands:

> AppCmd set config /section:system.webServer/fastCGI /+[fullPath='d:\php\php-cgi.exe']

> AppCmd set config /section:system.webServer/handlers /+[name='PHP-FastCGI',path='*.php',verb='*',modules='FastCgiModule',scriptProcessor='d:\php\php-cgi.exe',resourceType='Either']


  1. AppCmd.exe is a new command-line tool that ships with IIS 7.0. AppCmd.exe can be found at %WinDir%\System32\InetSrv directory. For more information on AppCmd command-line tool, see the Getting Started with AppCmd.exe article.
  2. Depending on PHP installation location described in Q4, paths to executables on the hard disk may require updates. All appcmd example commands above assume that PHP installation is in D:\PHP folder.

Server Core Administration Tips

This section includes a few command line utilities and commands to perform common tasks/actions on command-line.

Q1. How do you start a command window on Server Core installation?

A. Click Ctrl+Alt+Del and then choose "Start Task Manager". In Task Manager window, click File and choose "New Task (Run…)" option on the menu. Type cmd.exe on Create New Task window and hit ok.

Q2. How do you enable Remote Desktop for Server Core installed box?

A. If you plan to access from another Windows Server 2008 or Vista machine, please execute this from command-line:

Cscript %windir%\system32\SCRegEdit.wsf /ar 0

Otherwise, if you plan to access from a machine which has earlier version of Windows OS (i.e. Windows XP), please execute following:

Cscript %windir%\system32\SCRegEdit.wsf /ar 0
Cscript %windir%\system32\SCRegEdit.wsf /cs 0

Q3. How do you change administrator password?

A. Type Net user administrator * in the command-window. When prompted, please type the new password for administrator user.

Q4. How do you add a user to local administrators group?

Net localgroup Administrators /add <domain>\<username>

Q5. How do you add a user to local administrators group?

Net localgroup Administrators /add <domain>\<username>

Q6. How do you change machine name?

A. If machine is in a workgroup, then please type following in command window:

Netdom renamecomputer <currentcomputername> /NewName:<new computer name>

Otherwise, if machine is a member of a domain then please type following in command window:

Netdom renamecomputer <currentcomputername> /NewName:<new computer name> /userd:<domain>\<username> /password:*

Q7. How do you join a machine to domain?

A. Type following on command-window:

Netdom join %computername% /domain:<domain> /userd:<domain>\<username> /password:*

Q8. How do you remove a machine from the domain?

Netdom remove

Q9. How do you disable the firewall?

netsh firewall set opmode disable

Q10. How do you restart a Server Core machine?

shutdown /r

Q11. How do you install an updates?

Install: wusa <update_package_name.msu> /quite

Q12. How do you access event logs?

A. Enumerate event log names by typing "Wevtutil el". In order to see/query events in a particular log, please type "Wevtutil qe <event log name>".