After installing the AD DS server role on Windows Server 2012, where is the option to configure the DC?

Some users have run into this problem in Windows Server 2012 when they try to install a domain controller using Server Manager. They start the Add Server Roles Wizard in Server Manager and run through the steps to install Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and when they get to this page, they click Close. In order to start the new AD DS Configuration Wizard at this point, you need to click the blue link "Promote this server to a domain controller" (circled in this screenshot).

The AD DS Configuration Wizard in Windows Server 2012 replaces the old dcpromo wizard from previous versions of Active Directory. Dcpromo is deprecated in Windows Server 2012, although you can still run it from a command prompt with the /unattend switch (this was intended to give organizations more time to convert automation routines to the new Windows PowerShell cmdlets for installing AD DS).

If you close the wizard without starting the AD DS Configuration Wizard, you can launch it from the Tasks notification flag in Server Manager as shown here:

I asked the AD DS installation feature team why it works this way instead of just one continuous wizard and the answer is: "Imagine the case where an admin is installing multiple roles on a machine at once – you wouldn’t want to pop multiple post-config wizards here.  Or scenarios where an admin is provisioning multiple machines remotely – similar idea." So this is by design, though we all wish the link was more discoverable, and that feedback has been shared with feature team that owns Server Manager.

The Add Roles Wizard in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 behave much the same way. But unlike those operating systems, you can’t bypass ARW by typing dcpromo in the Run dialog in Windows Server 2012. For that reason, many more users will likely run into this in Windows Server 2012.

This is also covered on TechNet at http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh472162.aspx#BKMK_GUI.

Justin [Active Directory Documentation Team]