Before You Install

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Before you install Windows Server 2003 R2, do the following:

  • If you are upgrading, fully back up your servers. Your backup should include all data and configuration information that is necessary for the computer to function. It is important to perform a backup of configuration information for servers, especially those that provide network infrastructure, such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). When you perform the backup, be sure to include the boot and system partitions and the System State data. Another way to back up configuration information is to create a backup set for Automated System Recovery.

  • Update the Active Directory schema on domain controllers. In Windows Server 2003 Active Directory networks, you will need to update the Active Directory schema before:

    • Installing Windows Server 2003 R2 on a domain controller.

    • Configuring a Windows Server 2003 R2 server to be a domain controller by using the Active Directory Installation Wizard (Dcpromo.exe).

    To update the schema, on the schema master domain controller, insert Disc 2 and open the command prompt. Then, change to the Cmpnents\R2\Adprep folder of Disc 2, and type: adprep.exe /forestprep

  • Disconnect UPS devices. If you have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to your target computer, disconnect the connecting serial cable before running Setup. Setup automatically attempts to detect devices connected to serial ports, and UPS equipment can cause problems with the detection process.

  • Consider the following features in on Disc 1 that might affect security:

    • Windows Firewall. Windows Firewall is turned off by default and must be turned on to begin protecting systems. Before enabling Windows Firewall, you should understand the changes that it will make to your environment. If you choose to enable Windows Firewall, you should configure it with Security Configuration Wizard (SCW), or you should base the configuration on SCW security policies.

    • Security Configuration Wizard (SCW). SCW is the preferred method for configuring Windows Firewall and creating security policies for servers based on their roles. SCW provides a guided means of configuring Windows Firewall. Before you deploy SCW policies to your servers, you should research SCW, Windows Firewall, and best practices for both. For more information, see "Security Configuration Wizard for Windows Server 2003" on the Microsoft Web site (

      In addition, you should conduct pilot deployment testing of SCW and Windows Firewall (or any other firewall you may be using).

    • Internet Explorer. If you are upgrading from Windows Server 2003, you should note the many changes to Microsoft Internet Explorer on Disc 1. For example, Internet Explorer has been updated to prevent unintentional downloads of misrepresented, malicious code. It also prevents automatic resizing of browser windows (which is sometimes used to extract sensitive data from computers). For more information about these changes, see "Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1" on the Microsoft Web site (

  • Check minimum system requirements. Review the minimum and recommended system requirements for Windows Server 2003. To do this, see "System Requirements and Hardware Compatibility" on the Microsoft Web site ( In addition to these requirements, you will need approximately 100 megabytes (MB) of hard disk space for Disc 2.

  • Read the release notes located on both product discs. The release notes that are located on Disc 1 (Relnotes.htm) contain information about late-breaking issues with Windows Server 2003. The release notes located on Disc 2 (R2relnotes.htm) contain information about late-breaking issues with Windows Server 2003 R2.

  • Provide Mass Storage Drivers. If you have a mass storage controller (such as a SCSI, RAID, or Fibre Channel adapter) for your hard disk, confirm that the controller is designed for products in the Windows Server 2003 family by checking the hardware and software compatibility information in the Windows Server Catalog on the Microsoft Web site (

    If your controller is compatible, but you are aware that the manufacturer has supplied a separate driver file for use with products in the Windows Server 2003 family, obtain the file (on a floppy disk or CD) before you begin Setup. During the early part of Setup, a line at the bottom of the screen will prompt you to press F6. Further prompts will guide you in supplying the driver file to Setup so that it can gain access to the mass storage controller.

    If you are not sure whether you must obtain a separate driver file from the manufacturer of your mass storage controller, you can try running Setup. If the controller is not supported by the driver files on the Setup CD and, therefore, requires a driver file that is supplied by the hardware manufacturer, Setup stops and displays a message saying that no disk devices can be found, or it displays an incomplete list of controllers. After you obtain the necessary driver file, restart Setup, and press F6 when you are prompted.

  • Prepare Mirror sets or other disk sets. If you used the Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0 operating system to create a volume set, mirror set, stripe set, or stripe set with parity, and you want to run Setup for Disc 1, you must prepare the disk set first. For more information, click "Getting Ready for an Upgrade" in Readme.htm located on Disc 1. This issue is documented in the "Working with Volume, Mirror, or Stripe Sets or Stripe Sets with Parity" section.

  • Provide a Custom Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) File. If you have a custom Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) file supplied by your computer manufacturer, before you begin Setup for Disc 1, locate the floppy disk or other medium containing the file. During the early part of Setup, a line at the bottom of the screen will prompt you to press F6; however, at this time, press F5 (not F6). After you press F5, follow the prompts to include your HAL file in the Setup process.

  • If you are remotely installing Disc 2, enable Terminal Services. After you install Disc 1,you will need to manually enable Terminal Services on the target computer. This is because Terminal Services is disabled by default. To do this, right click My Computer, and then click Properties. On the Remote tab, select the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box.

Important Installation Information

Before you install Windows Server 2003 R2, consider the following:

  • The Windows Server 2003 R2 optional components are not installed automatically. When you complete the installation of Disc 2, you are not installing the Windows Server 2003 R2 optional components. After Setup is complete, you can install the optional components by using Add/Remove Windows Components in Control Panel. You also have the option to add or upgrade server roles by using Manage Your Server.


    Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 is installed automatically when you install Windows Server 2003 R2.

  • You may need to upgrade a component. If Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) or Windows SharePoint Services is already installed on your computer, you can upgrade to the new version that is included in Windows Server 2003 R2. For more information about upgrading one of these components, see the Help for the component on the Windows Server 2003 R2 TechCenter Web site (

  • You cannot uninstall Windows Server 2003 R2. The Windows Server 2003 R2 source files are permanent, but you will be able to uninstall any optional components that you install.

  • Important information for 64-bit versions. You can only install 64-bit versions of Disc 2 on computers running the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 that is on Disc 1. In other words, you cannot install the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003 R2 on a computer running the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003.