Windows Server 2012 R2 Installation Guide

In this guide, we'll review the process of installing Windows Server 2012 R2. In exactly 10 easy steps, you'll be running the operating system!
Windows Server 2012 R2 Installation Guide

Do you want to install Windows Server 2012 R2, or upgrade a previous version of Windows Server to Windows Server 2012 R2? In this guide, we'll discuss the installation of Windows Server 2012 R2, and cover the different steps you need to take during the installation process. In this guide, you'll also learn how to:

  • Prepare for Windows Server 2012 R2 installation
  • Install Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Use Automatic Setup Wizard and configure Windows settings
  • Manage Windows Server 2012 R2 installation

Whether you're installing Windows Server 2012 R2 for the first time, or upgrading an existing server to this new iteration of Microsoft's server operating system, it is essential to follow a series of steps in order to ensure a smooth and successful installation process.

Get Windows Server 2012 R2

We offer the best price on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 so you can set up your server efficiently for cheap.

How to Download Windows Server 2012 R2

To prepare for Windows Server 2012 R2 installation, you will need to ensure that your system meets the minimum hardware and software requirements, as well as create a backup of your current system. The minimum system requirements for installing Windows Server 2012 R2 are as follows:

  • Processor: 1.4GHz 64-bit processor (Recommend: 2GHz or faster)
  • RAM: At least 512MB (Recommend: 2GB or more)
  • Hard Drive: At least 32GB available disk space (Recommend: 40GB or more)

After you have verified that your system meets the minimum requirements, you can then download and install Windows Server 2012 R2. There are several methods for doing this, including downloading directly from Microsoft or purchasing a retail copy of the operating system.

How to Install Windows Server 2012 R2

After acquiring an installation media, begin the system installation and follow these steps:

  1. Insert your Windows Server 2012 R2 DVD into the CD/DVD drive.
  2. Power your computer on and ensure it boots from the installation media.
  3. Follow the Windows Setup instructions and choose your preferred language, time zone, and keyboard input method.
  4. Enter your product key and configure your installation and wait for Windows Server 2012 R2 to install on your device.
  5. Finish setting up your local administrator account.

After installing Windows Server 2012 R2, you may wish to configure some additional settings and features. You can also make modifications to settings you enabled during the setup process, like changing the language or time zone.

Step 1.

If you have the installation package on a DVD or bootable USB, you’ll first need to change your computer’s boot order so that it runs the installation package when you start it up. If the boot order isn't changed, the computer will boot into your existing operating system instead.

You can change the boot order from your computer’s BIOS setup utility. To access the BIOS, restart your computer and press the appropriate key during the startup process.

Step 2.

Once you’ve changed your boot order, insert the Windows Server 2012 R2 installation media into your CD/DVD drive or connect your USB flash drive with the installation package on it, and then restart your computer again. You may be prompted to select a boot device, or your computer may automatically boot into the installation.

Step 3.

When your computer successfully boots from the installation media, you'll see the Windows Setup wizard.

Windows Sever 2012 R2 Installation

When you reach the Windows Setup screen, follow the prompts to begin installing Windows Server 2012 R2 on your system. This process will involve accepting the terms of use and selecting a language, time zone, and keyboard input method for your device. When you're ready to continue, click the Install Now button.

Step 4.

After starting to copy temporary files, Windows will ask if you want updates installed for the setup process. If you're connected to the internet, we recommend you do so now; it'll be quicker than waiting until after installation.

When prompted, you'll need to enter your product key. Find your valid product key and input the letters and numbers correctly in order to proceed. This is needed to verify and activate your copy of Windows Server 2012 R2.

Step 5.

Once the process is finished, you'll be prompted to select the edition you want to install. If you’re installing either Standard or Datacenter editions, you’ll also need to pick if you wish to install as a Server Core or with Desktop Experience (which provides a GUI).

Windows Server 2012 R2 Installation

Server Core gives you a stripped-down version of Windows Server with a smaller footprint that takes up less CPU and RAM, but is designed to be managed remotely and can be harder to administer locally. Desktop Experience, on the other hand, gives you a user-friendly experience with a Graphical User Interface that’s easier to manage.

After you've chosen your desired installation option, press Next. You will then see the License terms. Read these carefully and check the "I accept the license terms" box before pressing Next again to continue.

Step 6.

Now, you get to choose how you'd like to install Windows Server. You can either Upgrade, which lets you keep your old files and settings, or do a clean installation by selecting Custom. The Upgrade option is only available if you're installing from an earlier version of Windows Server (like 2008, 2008 R2, or 2012.)

Step 7.

During the installation process, you will be prompted to select where you would like Windows Server installed. You can either choose an existing partition from the list of drives or create a new one by clicking on Drive Options and selecting New Partition.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Installation

Note: If you haven’t already, make sure you back up the contents of your hard drive before continuing, otherwise you may lose any data currently saved on the chosen drive or partition.

After you've chosen your Windows Server installation location, click Next. This could take some time, and your computer may restart during the installation process; this is normal.

Step 8.

Once you have finished the configuration, your computer will reboot and start Windows Server 2012 R2. This is an ideal time to create a secure username and password for your local administrator user, so make sure it's something memorable but tricky for others to guess!

Windows Server 2012 Installation

Step 9.

If you installed Server Core, next the system will appear as a command window. However, there won't be a Start screen or desktop icons. This is Server Core's standard interface. By default, Server Center usually sets the time zone to Pacific Time. If you want to change this, type "control timedate.cpl" and then follow the instructions to set the correct date and time.

If you want to change the randomly-assigned name that Server Core installations give your device, type "netdom renamecomputer %computername% /newname:computername" into Command Prompt and replace "computername" with the name you prefer.

A warning message may pop up telling you that changing the server's name could cause some services to not work as intended. Type "Y" to confirm that you want to continue with this change. Afterward, the computer will prompt you to restart in order for the changes to take effect. To do so, type "shutdown /r /t 0" and press Enter.

Step 10.

After the server has restarted, use the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keyboard shortcut to log on with the username and password you created earlier. Now that Windows Server 2012 R2 is installed, you can begin using it!

Windows server 2012 R2 Installation


In this guide, we discussed the installation of Windows Server 2012 R2 and walked through the different steps you need to take during the installation process. To summarize, it is essential to follow these steps in order to ensure a smooth and successful installation.

If you have any questions or need assistance along the way, our team at SoftwareKeep is always here to help!

One More Thing

Looking for more tips? Check out our other guides in the SoftwareKeep Blog and our Help Center! You’ll find a wealth of information on how to troubleshoot various issues and find solutions to your tech problems.

Sign up for our newsletter and get early access to our blog posts, promotions, and discount codes. Plus, you'll be the first to know about our latest guides, deals, and other exciting updates!

Recommended Articles

» Windows Server 2012 Installation Guide
» In-Place Upgrade Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2022
» How to Download Windows Server 2022

Feel free to reach out with questions or requests you’d like us to cover.