Server Core changes in Windows Server 2008 R2

Now that a build of Windows Server 2008 R2 has been released, I can start talking about what we have been working on. In a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core installation we have:

·         Active Directory Certificate Services is now an available Server Role.

·         WoW64 support for 32bit applications is now an optional feature in Server Core and is not installed by default. This enables you to further reduce the footprint of Server Core if you remove it from the image. I’m interested in hearing feedback on our decision to not install this by default – is this a good idea, or will you always need to install this because you have 32bit code you need to run?

·         Added the following as optional features:

  •  Subset of .NET Framework 2.0

  • Subset of .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 – WCF, WF, and LINQ

  • Windows PowerShell

  • ASP.NET and additional IIS support – the only IIS feature not available in Server Core is the management GUI. However the management GUI can now be used to remotely manage IIS on Server Core once the web management service is enabled and configured on Server Core.

  • FSRM

The important thing to note about all of the above is that they are all optional so if you won’t be using them you don’t need to install, manage, and maintain them.

In later posts I’ll get into more details on how to install these, what I mean by subsets of .NET, as well as other topics.


Comments (25)

  1. Anonymous says:

    PowerShell is now supported on ServerCore

  2. Anonymous says:

    Quando anunciamos, durante o lançamento do Windows Server 2008, a opção “ Server Core ”, a reação (pelo

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you are a Server Core fan, and wished you could host ASP.NET websites in Server Core, then feel better,

  4. Paul Renaud says:

    .NET Subset???  By not allowing all of .NET to be an optional installable component in R1, the Windows Server team has completely disenfranchised the entire .NET ISV community!!  

    What gives??  Our Java-based competitors can run day one on Windows Server Core and we now have to wait until 2010 for a subset???

    This situation is NOT acceptable.  It seems to be based on some perverse view that all .NET applications look like those silly IT demos that we see at PDC.  Real ISVs have real applications and many of them are headless network services or network monitoring tools that do not require IIS presentation services.

    Why should we continue to build managed code if we can’t run it in all roles?  Having to jettison managed code to run on Windows Server Core makes no sense.  

    If I wanted to run on a subset, I suppose I could port to Mono, but then I could just run on Linux and not need Windows Core.

    100% .NET support is essential and should be in SP1 early next year and not in R2 sometime 2 years from now.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Server Core team posted a great blog post that talks about changes coming in Windows 2008 R2. We’re

  6. Anonymous says:

    If you are a Server Core fan, and wished you could host ASP.NET websites in Server Core, then feel better,

  7. I’ll try and cover all the feedback/comments above, let me know if I missed anything.

    Thanks for the feedback on WoW64, we are hoping to get some data from the beta as to how often it is installed. Just to be clear, it doesn’t prevent 32bit code from running on Server Core, you just need to install the optional feature first. If an organization required 32bit support in all their Server Core installations, they could use an unattend file to always install it.

    I’m going to get into the subsets of .NET in more details in later posts, including lists of classes not available, but the reason for the subsets is dependencies. There are classes in .NET 2.0 that require Internet Explorer. If you have an app that requires those, it will need to run on full Server. Adding IE to Server Core in order to support all of .Net will increase the Server Core foot print substantially (with all the required dependencies) and lose much of its benefit. For .NET 3.0 it is WPF that is not included. Server Core isn’t designed to run GUI apps, so those should run on full Server.

  8. Anonymous says:

    At Tech∙Ed last week some information emerged on Windows Server 2008 R2. Specifically some information

  9. Anonymous says:

    If you’ve been missing these updates previously subscribe to MSDN Flash… If you have disconnected yourself

  10. Anonymous says:

    In case you haven’t already heard the news, ASP.NET will now be enabled on Windows Server Core starting

  11. Anonymous says:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core安装可以配置更多的角色。.NET freamwork的部分功能在Server Core得到支持,包括:.NET 2/3/3.5的子集和ASP.NET。另外,PowerShell也在Server Core上可用。IIS7在Server Core上缺少的功能仅仅是本地的管理GUI

  12. Anonymous says:

    I remember attending the keynote at TechEd 2007 and being disappointed that ASP.NET applications will

  13. Anonymous says:

    " If you are a Server Core fan, and wished you could host ASP.NET websites in Server Core, then

  14. Anonymous says:

    As I said in my last post I have a whole stack of things to talk about in the aftermath of Tech.ed in

  15. Anonymous says:

    At the Vegas “Connections” event, I led a session with Don Jones called “Server 2008 and Vista: If not

  16. Keith Farmer says:


    While it is true that Server Core does not (arguably should not) support GUI, there are many useful types in WPF namespaces, including those that deal with media, which would be useful for applications that need to process media without invoking any GUI.

    For example, generating images that have text rendered on them, perhaps with visual brushes.

    I appreciate the desire to keep these from bloating the Core, but I’d rather be the one to decide which subsets of the framework are available.  Perhaps (as the case with 32-bit code) we could optionally include subsets of the framework rather than kvetch that we don’t have any access at all to them?  Of course, we’d want to be able to add these post-install…

  17. Anonymous says:

    I would hope that Microsoft would still install this by default. There are still 3rd party development tools that are still not 64 bit. Making this change would make our product incompatible with R2 Server Core. With zero way (until early 2009) for us to make it work right now. This would make us re-live the Vista experience all over again. Why not wait until Windows 8 to go 64 bit only by default…or R3?

  18. Anonymous says:

    You wrote: "Active Directory Certificate Services is now an available Server Role".

    And how to configure AD CS role after installation?

  19. Anonymous says:

    This was posted on the Server Core blog today and seems interesting enough to share here as well… Server

  20. dsmvp says:

    Great to see a new post Andrew…it has been way too long.

    I think the 32-bit code should be loaded because of the amount of applications companies use.  Perhaps a lot of people have been complaining about space limitations on these servers but I doubt it.  

    A couple points of clarificaion I’d like from you…are you telling me .NET 2.0 is now on Server Core and I can finally run PowerShell on it????


  21. Anonymous says:

    If you are a Server Core fan, and wished you could host ASP.NET websites in Server Core, then feel better

  22. Bluvg says:

    I would suggest making 32-bit support an option at install time–it’s important enough and a simple enough on-off option to put it there.  Or perhaps even make it one of the selections–W2k8R2 Standard Server Core w/32 bit support, W2k8R2 Standard Server Core w/out 32 bit support, etc.  A lot of these Server Core installs are for things like file & print, AD, etc., with no 3rd party software.  

    I don’t see how it would make 3rd party software incompatible–a lot of software has prerequisites that are not installed by default.  IIS is a great example of that.  Exchange has a whole checklist of stuff that you need to do before install.  IT pros are used to this.

  23. Sechaba says:

    Where can i download Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Server Core?

  24. Sechaba says:

    I have Installed Server Core 2008 and Server 2008 R2 SP1 and still unable to install .net Framework 4. Please advise what is it that im doing wrong?


Skip to main content