So I embarked on setting up a new server to run my Windows Virtual images and decided to use the barebones but powerful Windows Hyper-V 2008 R2 instead of a more conventional Windows 2008 R2 server with Hyper-V installed on top. If you’re new to the concept of a Windows Server “Core installation” it can be daunting at first…no UI, no way to get around…but don���t throw in the towel just yet. If all the server’s going to do is boot up and spawn a few of your VPC images, then don’t waste the resources on a full server just so you can have a GUI. Here’s the quick start to tackling this project:

  • Burn Windows Hyper-V 2008 R2 from your MSDN Subscription to a DVD and boot it – run the install like you normally would
  • Once you log in the first time, you’ll see a blue screen with some basic configurations – nothing fancy here…just walk it through, then exit to a command prompt
  • Command Prompts can be the standard ones, or PowerShell prompts. To get elevated permissions from the standard command line, simply type

C:\Powershell

this will return the following:

PS C:\

  • Once in Powershell, you can do anything else we need to do
  • Map a drive letter from your new Hyper-V server over to your laptop or workstation which you’ll use to download stuff & remotely manage your VPC images

PS C:\ net use Z: \\workstationname\sharename /user:domain\user pwd

If you’d like a quick list of common server commands, go here

  • Now go download a couple scripts & utilities:

Core Configurator 2.0 for Windows 2008 R2 – download & docs are here
this utility basically lets you run it from the PS C:\ prompt, launches a GUI, which lets you tweak the basic OS, networking, firewall & essential things. I recommend downloading the .cab file (instead of the ISO)

HVRemote – download is here, good blog entry is here
this utility quickly configures the Hyper-V server to be remotely administered, and configures your remote laptop/workstation to hit the server via a Hyper-V admin console that is installed with the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 (think of this as a Windows Update).

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 - download here.

  • Once everything’s downloaded, do the folowing:
    • Install the Remote Server Admin Tools for Win7
    • Go into Control Panel, Programs, Turn Windows Features On/Off, find the Remote Server Admin Tools, Role Administration Tools & select Hyper-V Tools
    • Map the network drive from your new Hyper-V server core back to your laptop/workstation if you didn’t already do it
    • copy the HVRemote.wsf & CoreConfig.cab files to the server
    • unzip the CoreConfig.cab to a directory, such as c:\CoreConfig using the command:

expand CoreConfig.cab -f:* C:\CoreConfig

    • Run the CoreConfigurator from a PS C:\ prompt by typing:

PS C:\ cscript c:\coreconfig\start_coreconfig.wsf

    • Run the HVRemote from a PS C:\ prompt on the Hyper-V server first by typing:

PS C:\ cscript HVRemote /add:workstationname\user

    • Run the HVRemote from an elevated command line on the workstation machine second by typing:

C:\ cscript HVRemote /mmc:enable
C:\ cscript HVRemote /AnonDCOM:grant

    • To test everything out and make sure there are no other gotchas on the Hyper-V server, run the following command on BOTH the server & workstation, and correct anything you find either using normal utilities or using the aforementioned Core Configurator script/GUI

PS C:\ cscript HVRemote /show (on Hyper-V server)
     C:\ cscript HVRemote /show (on workstation)

  • If there is anything failing about permissions connecting, make sure you’ve run the unique commands specific to a mix of workgroup/domain machines listed here (ie the cmdkey commands).
  • Now that everything is configured properly, let’s run the workstation’s Hyper-V MMC and see if we can connect to the remote Hyper-V server. Open either MMC.msc from a command line or Run prompt and add the Hyper-V snap-in, or just run the Hyper-V Manager that is now under your workstation’s Administrative Tools menu.
  • The rest should be self-explanatory

I hope this helps some of you get going. Thanks as always to those who contributed all of the hard work for getting this stuff working…John Howard & the CoreConfig team!