In part one of our guide to installing Windows Server 2016 Essentials , we talked through system requirements before downloading and installing the operating system. Once installation has completed, we need to initialise the software via the OOBE, or, out of box experience. This short configuration wizard guides the administrator through setup of their user account and other “ground-floor” requirements.

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The first step is to create a password for the administrator account. By default, you’ll see that the administrator account name is predetermined as Administrator. Easy to remember, not the most secure.

This walkthrough is part of our 625 page guide to Windows Server 2016 Essentials. Pick up a copy today!


Enter an appropriately strong password – twice. You can click the eye icon to see what you typed. If you wish to know more about password complexity requirements in Windows Server, I recommend checking out this article on Technet – it’s written for the last version of the software, but should be relevant for Windows Server 2016 too.

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Click Finish to complete the initial installation. This will bring you to your first Sign In screen:

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Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and sign in to your server.

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After a few initial setup screens, you will boot to the desktop.

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The installation continues. You can choose to find PCs and other devices on the network later, or allow the server to be discoverable automatically. Click Yes to do so.

It does take some time (somewhat less than 30 minutes) to get to this point from beginning installation, but you finally have something to do to complete the initial server configuration. By default, Windows Server Essentials will be configured as the first server on your network (the domain controller).

If you wish to add Windows Server Essentials to an existing domain, you should cancel the configuration wizard and check out this Technet article for configuration instructions. (Again, it’s for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, but I’m sure the article will be updated at some point).

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Click the Next button to kick off the configuration. First step: verify/change the time and date settings.

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Microsoft products tend to assume that every user is sitting in a developer’s office in Redmond, Washington – so if you’re located elsewhere in the world, click Change system date and time settings and switch over to your time zone.

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Do ensure you correct the time zone if needed – previous releases of Windows Server Essentials (and its predecessors) have encountered configuration issues down the line, simply because the time zone was incorrect.