Installing this Beta Release of Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2

This document provides information about installing the Windows Server® 2008 operating system with Service Pack 2 (SP2). It also provides information that you can use to troubleshoot problems that may occur during the installation.

Setup works in several stages. You will be prompted for some basic information, then Setup will copy files and restart the computer. Setup concludes by presenting a menu for Initial Configuration Tasks, which you can use to adjust the server configuration for your specific needs.

Preinstallation information

  • System requirements

  • Important information for x64-based operating systems

  • Important information for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

  • Before you start Setup

System requirements

The following are estimated system requirements for Windows Server 2008 with SP2. If your computer has less than the minimum requirements, you will not be able to install this product correctly. Actual requirements will vary based on your system configuration and the applications and features you install.


Processor performance depends not only on the clock frequency of the processor, but also on the number of processor cores and the size of the processor cache. The following are the processor requirements for this product:

  • Minimum: 1 GHz (for x86 processors) or 1.4 GHz (for x64 processors)

  • Recommended: 2 GHz or faster


    An Intel Itanium 2 processor is required for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.


The following are the RAM requirements for this product:

  • Minimum: 512 MB

  • Recommended: 2 GB or more

  • Maximum (32-bit systems): 4 GB (for Windows Server 2008 Standard) or 64 GB (for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise or Windows Server 2008 Datacenter)

  • Maximum (64-bit systems): 32 GB (for Windows Server 2008 Standard) or 2 TB (for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, or Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems)

Disk space requirements

The following are the approximate disk space requirements for the system partition. Itanium-based and x64-based operating systems will vary from these estimates. Additional disk space may be required if you install the system over a network. For more information, see

  • Minimum: 10 GB

  • Recommended: 40 GB or more


    Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files.

  • DVD-ROM drive

  • Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor

  • Keyboard and Microsoft® mouse (or other compatible pointing device)

Important considerations for Active Directory domain controllers

The upgrade process from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 requires free disk space for the new operating system image, for the Setup process, and for any installed server roles.

For the domain controller role, the volume or volumes hosting the following resources also have specific free disk space requirements:

  • Application data (%AppData%)

  • Program files (%ProgramFiles%)

  • Users' data (%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings)

  • Windows® directory (%WinDir%)

The free space on the %WinDir% volume must be equal or greater than the current size of the resources listed above and their subordinate folders when they are located on the %WinDir% volume. By default, dcpromo places the Active Directory® database and log files under %Windir%—in this case, their size would be included in the free disk space requirements for the %Windir% folder.

However, if the Active Directory database is hosted outside of any of the folders above, then the hosting volume or volumes must only contain additional free space equal to at least 10% of the current database size or 250 MB, whichever is greater. Finally, the free space on the volume that hosts the log files must be at least 50 MB.

A default installation of the Active Directory directory service in Windows Server 2003 has the Active Directory database and log files under %WinDir%\NTDS. With this configuration, the NTDS.DIT database file and all the log files are temporarily copied over to the quarantine location and then copied back to their original location. This is why additional free space is required for those resources. However, the SYSVOL directory, which is also under %WinDir% (%WinDir%\SYSVOL), is moved and not copied. Therefore, it does not require any additional free space.

After the upgrade, the space that was reserved for the copied resources will be returned to the file system.

Important information for x64-based operating systems

Ensure that you have updated and digitally signed kernel-mode drivers for x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008. (These include the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008 except for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.)

If you install a Plug and Play device, you may receive a warning if the driver is not digitally signed. If you install an application that contains a driver that is not digitally signed, you will not receive an error during Setup. In both cases, Windows Server 2008 will not load the unsigned driver.

If you are not sure whether the driver is digitally signed, or if you are unable to boot into your computer after the installation, use the following procedure to disable the driver signature requirement. This procedure enables your computer to start correctly, and the unsigned driver will load successfully.

To disable the signature requirement for the current boot process:

  1. Restart the computer and during startup, press F8.

  2. Select Advanced Boot Options.

  3. Select Disable Driver Signature Enforcement.

  4. Boot into Windows and uninstall the unsigned driver.

Check with your vendor for the availability of a signed 64-bit device driver.

For more information, see

Important information for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

In Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, Setupldr.efi is no longer present on the installation media. To install Windows Server 2008 from the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) shell, insert the installation media in the computer and choose Boot from EFI Shell in the boot menu. Then switch to the drive that contains the installation media, navigate to \efi\boot\, and run Bootia64.efi.

Before you start Setup

Before you install Windows Server 2008, follow the steps in this section to prepare for the installation.

  • Check for application compatibility. To help with this, you can use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit. Although it is primarily used to provide compatibility information about network applications, you can also use it to prepare for Windows Server 2008. For more details, see the Windows application compatibility information (

  • Disconnect UPS devices. If you have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to your destination computer, disconnect the serial cable before running Setup. Setup automatically attempts to detect devices that are connected to serial ports, and UPS equipment can cause issues with the detection process.

  • Back up your servers. Your backup should include all data and configuration information that is necessary for the computer to function. It is important to perform a backup of configuration information for servers, especially those that provide network infrastructure, such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. When you perform the backup, be sure to include the boot and system partitions and the system state data. Another way to back up configuration information is to create a backup set for Automated System Recovery.

  • Disable your virus protection software. Virus protection software can interfere with installation. For example, it can make installation much slower by scanning every file that is copied locally to your computer.

  • Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. You should run this tool to test the random access memory (RAM) on your computer. To use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool, follow the instructions in the Windows Memory Diagnostic Users Guide (

  • Provide mass storage drivers. If your manufacturer has supplied a separate driver file, save the file to a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or universal serial bus (USB) flash drive in either the root directory of the media or in one of the following folders: amd64 for x64-based computers, i386 for 32-bit computers, or ia64 for Itanium-based computers. To provide the driver during Setup, on the disk selection page, click Load Driver (or press F6). You can browse to locate the driver or have Setup search the media.

  • Be aware that Windows Firewall is on by default. Server applications that must receive unsolicited inbound connections will fail until you create inbound firewall rules to allow them. Check with your application vendor to determine which ports and protocols are necessary for the application to run correctly.

    For more information about Windows Firewall see (

  • Prepare your Active Directory environment with Windows Server 2008 updates. Before you can add a domain controller that is running Windows Server 2008 to an Active Directory environment that is running Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 operating systems, you will need to update the environment.


Even if you have followed these steps to install previous releases, you must repeat these procedures prior to installing this release of Windows Server 2008.

To do this, you need to update the Active Directory environment by using the following procedure. If you are performing an unattended installation, perform this step before you install the operating system. Otherwise, you will need to do this after you run Setup and before you install Active Directory Domain Services.

To prepare a forest

  1. Log on to the schema master as a member of the Enterprise Admins, Schema Admins, or Domain Admins group.

  2. Copy the contents of the \sources\adprep folder from the Windows Server 2008 installation DVD to the schema master role holder.

  3. Open a Command Prompt window, navigate to the Adprep folder, and run adprep /forestprep.

  4. If you plan to install a read-only domain controller (RODC), run adprep /rodcprep.

  5. Allow the operation to complete and the changes to replicate before following the next procedure.

To prepare a domain

  1. Log on to the infrastructure master as a member of the Domain Admins group.

  2. Copy the contents of the \sources\adprep folder from the installation DVD to the infrastructure master role holder.

  3. Open a Command Prompt window, navigate to the Adprep folder, and run adprep /domainprep /gpprep.

  4. Allow the operation to complete and the changes to replicate.

    After completing these steps, you can add domain controllers that are running Windows Server 2008 to the domains you have prepared. Among its tasks, the adprep command extends the schema, updates default security descriptors of selected objects, and adds new directory objects as required by some applications.

    For more information about adprep, see