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December 2, 2008

How To Install Windows Small Business Server 2008


Windows Small Business Severs 2008 (SBS 2008) is the successor to SBS 2003, and it brings the various components SBS is based on up to date.

This includes the server itself being based on Windows Server 2008, the mail server component up to Exchange Server 2007, and in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008 Standard Small Business Edition.

Also, new features and options are now available.

You can find out more about SBS 2008 and what it has to offer in my Intro to Microsoft Small Business Server 2008.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

Like all operating systems, SBS 2008 requires a minimum amount of power to run. To run well, the server hardware should easily cover the minimum requirements.

SBS 2008 requires a 64-bit processor (2 GHz min.) and 4 GB of RAM but Microsoft recommends 6GB to 8GB with a 32GB maximum. SBS 2008 also requires at least 60 GB of disk space and an Ethernet connection.

Installing Small Business Sever 2008

The main purpose of SBS 2008 is so that small businesses without technical support staff can take advantage of Microsoft’s powerful, but complex server based technologies. For this reason, most people will purchase a SBS 2008 server from the manufacturer with SBS 2008 already installed.

In that case, setup will only require handling the server configurations steps. However, in the interest of being complete, we’ll cover the full installation from the DVD installation media.

If you’ve setup a couple of workstations before, you may be used to installing the computer and then worrying about getting the network setup later.

With SBS 2008, it needs the network connection from the very beginning, so this is not an option. Make sure that your live network connection is plugged into the SBS 2008 server before starting the installation.

1. Put the SBS 2008 DVD in the DVD drive and power up the computer. Your specific computer will determine what you see as the server boots up.

Look for a message that says something like, "Boot Menu," or "Choose Boot Device," or "Press F10 To Enter Boot Menu".

The server may go right to a screen which allows a choice of boot device based on detecting the bootable SBS 2008 DVD in the drive.

2. Select to boot from the DVD.

3. If you’ve never installed a Server in a country other than America, the next three questions seem a little silly. Choose the Language, the Time and Currency format, and the Keyboard Type.

4. Click Next, and then Install Now.

5. Inputting the product key and agreeing to the license agreement are next. Now, we can get down to some real business.

6. Choose Custom for the installation type. This allows you to choose where to put the operating system.

Ideally, SBS 2008 should have the operating system on its own partition on its own hard disk and the data on a separate partition and separate disk or disks.

To accomplish this, select the disk the operating system is to be installed on and Choose Drive Options and click New.

The default partition size that appears will be the size of the entire disk. Click Apply and setup will create a single partition which fills the entire disk. This will be the SBS 2008 system partition.

7. Setup will begin copying files to do the install. Keep in mind that this is around 60GB worth of files, so even on a fast system, this will take several minutes.

Now, is a good time to get a cup of coffee.

Configuring SBS 2008 For Initial Installation

When setup is done copying files, it will display the Continue Installation screen.

1. Click Next and setup will move on to collecting the information required to turn the server into a functioning business server.

2. Choose your time zone and then click Go online and get the most recent installation updates.

You can, of course, choose to skip this step, but assuming the most recent installation updates are probably something you’ll want installed before you put your server into production anyway, you might as well get them now.

3. Next comes the Company Information. The data input into the Company Information screen doesn’t actually do anything at this point.

Instead, the purpose of the screen is to give the setup program the answers it will need for several different processes, which saves the installer from having to input the same information in multiple places.

What this means, is that the information input here needs to be correct. A typo could end up in twenty different places, so take a second and verify the inputs.

4. The next step is to choose a Server Name (just make sure you don’t have any other servers with the same name) and a Domain Name.

Consider the Domain Name to be the name of your network. It may sound good to use the company name as the Domain Name, but it really isn’t. You aren’t naming your company, you are naming your Microsoft security resource and network model and structure.

Your company name can be part of the domain name, but keep it short. The last thing you want is to be dealing with typing in a big domain name over and over again should the need arise.

5. Next, it is time to setup the administrator account. This is not the same as the built-in administrator account, so you want to choose another name.

Microsoft recommends you write down your network administrator account name and password and keep it in a safe place.

The desk drawer is NOT a safe place and neither is the cork board on the wall next to the server (Don’t laugh, I’ve seen it!) The place where you keep "petty cash" or where you put the company checks overnight when the cleaning crew comes through is a "safe" place.

6. At this point, the summary page shows up and you can double check everything one more time. Unfortunately, the only way to fix anything is with the BACK button, so hopefully there aren’t any changes to be made.

Click Next, and setup will finish installing the SBS server.

What’s Next?

At this point, the SBS 2008 Server is installed, but it really isn’t ready to do anything. That is where the Getting Started Tasks come in. We’ll look at those next time.

The really important thing to notice is that the end of the setup process automatically logs you in with the administrator account you created during setup, so if you aren’t going to do the Getting Started Tasks right away, at least make sure you lock the console!

About the Author

(MCSE, CNA) is a professional freelance writer and small business owner with the freelance writing business ArcticLlama, LLC. Brian’s experience includes network and systems administration, financial planning and advising, and he even has a degree in Biochemistry. Brian specializes in several areas of highly technical writing for ArcticLlama including technology, science and medical. He is also a freelance financial writer specialist. He lives in Colorado with his wife and daughter. Brian contributes articles on Windows Server 2008 and other related topics.

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