This Windows Server 2019 Active Directory installation beginners guide will provide step-by-step illustrated instructions to create a NEW AD forest, DNS and DHCP services. In addition, I will reference the security recommendations from Microsoft and StigViewer for new Domain Controllers that can be used for server security hardening. Sure you can use a Hydration Kit or other tools to automatically create a domain, DNS, DHCP, and SCCM ConfigMgr server. However, learning from the ground up helps to re-enforce Microsoft concepts and is a great way to learn and troubleshoot using a separate environment. Building a development AD environment is also good to test Windows 10 group policy settings, newer Windows 10 releases, SCCM OSD, Azure cloud services and more.
This blog post can also be used for Server 2016 since the Forest and Domain Functional levels are the same.
For a test or development lab environment, it’s recommended to apply the latest Windows Server updates and configure the recommended security settings. Don’t relax your security standards by using a weak domain admin password or not apply the recommended Microsoft security baselines for Domain Controllers. I hope you enjoy this blog post!
IMPORTANT NOTE: For production use, always consult your organization’s security team for compliance and ensure that security best practices are followed. This blog post is intended for test lab development
Prerequisite Experience (Level 200)
- An understanding of general networking concepts such as DNS (Domain Name Space) IP address, IP networks, and troubleshooting network related environments
- Experience working with Virtual Machines using Hyper-V, Virtual Box or VMware Workstation
- Experience with basic security best practices
- Experience working with Windows server and Windows 10 / 7 client operating systems.
- Install and Configure New AD Forest, AD Domain and Domain Controller
- Install and Configure Reverse DNS Lookup Zone
- Enable/Set DNS Scavenging to 3-7 days (DNS record cleanup)
- Install and Configure DHCP Server including AD authorization, DHCP Scope, and DHCP Lease creation
- Windows Server baseline security recommendations
- Test Windows 10 domain join manually for new Forest/Domain
- PC or device with at least dual-core Intel i5 or i7 CPU (Or AMD) and Virtualization Support
- Windows 10 Pro x64 or Enterprise x64 (Windows 10 HOME edition does not support Hyper-V or other virtualization technology)
- You can buy and download Windows 10 Pro OEM for $149 from Newegg.com here.
- At least 8GB FREE memory (16GB or 32GB is best) on the host operating system
- Enable 2 Virtual Processors within Hyper-V manager or other software for the VM client
- Enable Intel® Virtualization Technology in BIOS/Firmware (Virtualization software will not work otherwise) Use Intel tool here to check.
- Windows Server 2019 Volume License ISO media or 180-day evaluation media (you can download Windows Server eval ISO media from here).
- Enable Hyper-V manager in Windows 10 or install other product such as Oracle Virtual Box or Vmware Workstation
Install Hyper-V Manager Feature – Win10 x64
Verify you have Intel Virtualization Technology enabled for the system you are using within the BIOS / Firmware settings. Each manufacturer has a different BIOS configuration settings so the below is an example. Consult your manufacturer or motherboard documentation as applicable.
Ensure the Windows 10 operating systems shows a hypervisor is detected, enabled in the BIOS/firmware and enable Hyper-V in Programs and Features.
On the host system, install Hyper-V by right-clicking on the Windows 10 start menu, select “Apps and Features” > “Programs and Features”. Enable Hyper-V and Hyper-V Platform options as shown here. Reboot after enabling the feature.
Install Hyper-V Guest Virtual machine and Configure Settings
Download the Windows Server 2019 ISO media file requirement as this will be used within the Hyper-V settings on the virtual guest machine.
Launch Hyper-V Manager, create a NEW guest virtual machine and configure the following settings.
- Enable Generation 2 guest VM during VM creation
- Enable 2 Virtual Processors
- Allocate 4GB RAM
- Disable TPM and Secure boot
- Add DVD Drive (Required to mount Windows Server 2019 ISO media)
- Enable Guest Services (For Enhanced Session Use)
Install Windows Server 2019 Operating System
From Hyper-V Manager on Windows 10, make sure the DVD is set as the first boot device and that the ISO image file is configured in the settings.
Connect to the new virtual machine and quickly be prepared to click a key on your keyboard to boot to the Windows Server 2019 ISO. Click “Start” to begin.
Select the language, skip or enter an applicable product key, select “Windows Server 2019 Standard (Desktop Experience)”, format the disk partition and the OS install will begin.
Enter the initial administrator password and the installation of Windows Server will be complete. Move on to the next steps to rename the computer, install updates, activate Windows, set the timezone and set a static IP address on the internal VM network card.
Configure Windows Server 2019 (Post OS Install)
Perform the following tasks on the newly installed Windows Server 2019 OS and reboot the server.
- Rename the Server
- Set the Time Zone to your applicable Time Zone
- Set a static IP Address on the TCP/IP V4 the INTERNAL Virtual Machine network card OS settings
- Install Windows Server 2019 Updates
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to set a STATIC IP address on the VM’s internal LAN NIC before you run the Active Directory Services install and configuration wizard. Active Directory, DHCP and DNS require a static IP address. The Active Directory and DHCP installation wizards will display errors if you don’t set a static IP address on the virtual machine internal network card for IPv4.
Set a static IP address for the TCP/IPv4 virtual machine INTERNAL NIC as shown here in the example below. Use your own private IP address subnet range. use a 10.x.x.x or 172.16.x.x or 192.168.x.x IP range. For more details about Private Networks review the article here.
CRITICAL NOTE: Be sure to set the IP address for the preferred DNS server to 127.0.0.1 as shown below since we will be using the local server for DNS and Active Directory use.
Install the latest Windows Server 2019 updates from the Start Menu > Settings > Update & Security settings applet and reboot as applicable.
Install Active Directory Services, DHCP and DNS Roles
Perform the following steps to install Active Directory Services for a new forest, DNS and DHCP server on the virtual machine.
- DISABLE the External NIC on the virtual machine if you configured a 2nd NIC for internet access as part of the Windows Server updates and license activation.
Launch “Server Manager” from the start menu and select “Add Roles and Features“.
Click Next at the “Before You Begin” screen, and “Next” at the “Select installation type” screen. Be sure the installation type is set to the default “Role-based or feature-based installation“.
At the “Select destination server” click Next to select your local server.
At the “Server Roles” screen be sure to select “Active Directory Domain Services“, “DHCP“, and “DNS“. Select “Add Features” for each one and click Next.
Click Next at the “Select Features” screen.
Click Next through the “Active Directory Domain Services“, “DHCP Server” and “DNS Server” screens. Click “Install” to confirm and begin the roles install.
Once the role features installation begins, do not close the Window. We will select the “Promote this server to a domain controller” step in a few minutes.
Promote Server to a Domain Controller
While still on the “Add Roles” wizard, select “Promote this server to a domain controller” option.
Select the “Add a new forest” radio button, specify a non-routable DNS domain name using the example below such as 1234.local or xxx.local. Review this article here for more details about .local DNS domains.
At the “Domain Controllers Options” screen leave the Forest and Domain Functional levels to the default “Windows Server 2016“. In addition, leave the Domain Name System (DNS) server and Global Catalog (GC) options checked, and enter an administrator for the Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) password. Click Next.
Click Next at the DNS Options screen and DO NOT check the box to create a DNS delegation.
Click Next at the Additional Options, Paths, Review Options, and Prerequisites Check screens. Click “Install” to continue.
Once the roles installation is complete, the server will automatically reboot and you will see the NEW domain login screen.
Install and Configure Reverse DNS Lookup Zone
Now that the Active Directory Services Domain controller is installed, DHCP services are installed let’s create the Reverse DNS lookup zone for the IPv4 IP subnet we plan to use for this network and domain. A reverse DNS lookup zone helps with name resolution for IP address to an A record hostname. Some applications and services will attempt DNS lookups based on the IP address first.
Launch the DNS Manager tool from “Windows Administrative Tools” > expand your server > right click on “Reverse Lookup Zones” and select “New Zone“. Click Next at the welcome screen.
At the “Zone Type” screen leave the default option selected and click Next.
Click Next at the AD Replicate Scope screen and select the “To all DNS servers running on domain controllers in this domain…“.
Select “IPv4 Reverse Lookup Zone” and click Next.
Reverse Lookup Zone name Network ID should be your environments subnet network. In my case it’s 10.240.10.
At the Dynamic Update screen click Next, click Finish to complete the wizard. The new Reverse DNS Lookup zone will be listed and clients will register their IP addresses automatically in this zone.
Enable and Set DNS Scavenging
Perform the following steps within DNS Manager to enable DNS.
Launch DNS Manager, right-click on your DNS server, select “Set Aging/Scavenging for All Zones“. Check the box “Scavenge stale resource records” and click Ok to save the changes.
Configure DHCP Server Options and Authorize Server
The final step that needs to be performed is authorizing the DHCP server and creating / enabling the DHCP client scope.
Launch DHCP Manager from the start menu > Windows Administrative Tools. Exp[and your DHCP server, right-click on the server name and select “Authorize“. Right-click on the server again and select “Refresh”. You should see all green check boxes now.
Finally, we can create the DHCP client scope. Right-click on “IPv4” option, select New Scope, click Next at the welcome screen, provide a name for the DHCP scope and click Next.
Enter the DHCP IP address range using the applicable IP subnet details you have decided to use. Click Next at the Exclusion and Delay screen, select the default 8 days for lease duration and click Next.
Click Yes I want to configure these options now on the DHCP options screen.
Click Next through the remaining DHCP scope screens to activate the DHCP client scope.
Congratulations! The AD domain controller is finished, a DNS reverse DNS zone exist and you have a DHCP client scope.
To test, create a client VM for Windows 10 and ensure the network card is using the “INTERNAL” LAN connection and manually add the PC to the new AD domain.
If you want to create a NEW OU and test automatic domain join, reference my blog post here.
This Windows Server 2019 – Active Directory Installation beginners guide covered all the requirements for creating a new forest, domain controller, DHCP server with scope and more. below are references to the StigViewer and Microsoft security baselines for AD domains and domain controllers.
Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit 1.0 – Baseline security group policy reports and templates for Windows Server and Windows 10. Linked here.
Windows Server 2016 (or Server 2019) (STIG) Security Technical Implementation Guide – This Security Technical Implementation Guide is published as a tool to improve the security of Department of Defense (DoD) information systems. Linked here.