Tips for Configuring Network Servers and the Windows 2016 OS

By Doug Lowe

When you install a server operating system on your network, you have to make some decisions about how you want the OS and its servers configured. Most of these decisions aren’t cast in stone, so don’t worry if you’re not 100 percent sure how you want everything configured. You can always go back and reconfigure things. However, you’ll save yourself time if you make the right decisions up front rather than just guess when the setup program starts asking you questions.

The following list details most of the decisions that you’ll need to make. (This list is for Windows Server 2016 installations. For other server operating systems, the decisions may vary slightly.)

  • The existing operating system: If you want to retain the existing operating system, the setup program can perform a multiboot setup, which allows you to choose which operating system to boot to each time you start the computer. This is rarely a good idea for server computers, so it’s a good idea to delete the existing operating system.
  • Partition structure: Most of the time, you’ll want to treat the entire server disk as a single partition. However, if you want to divide the disk into two or more partitions, you should do so during setup. (Unlike most of the other setup decisions, this one is hard to change later.)
  • File system: Two choices are available for the file system used to format the server’s disk: NT File System (NTFS) and Resilient File System (ReFS). NTFS has been around since 1993. ReFS is a relatively new file system (introduced with Windows Server 2012) that offers several important improvements over NTFS. However, because it’s still relatively new, most network administrators are reluctant to use it. So NTFS remains the file system of choice.
  • Computer name: During setup, you’ll be asked to provide the computer name used to identify the server on the network. If your network has only a few servers, you can just pick a name such as Server01 or MyServer. If your network has more than a few servers, you’ll want to establish a naming convention you can follow for naming your servers.
  • Administrator password: Okay, this one is tough. You don’t want to pick something obvious, like Password, Administrator, or your last name. On the other hand, you don’t want to type in something random that you’ll later forget because you’ll find yourself in a big pickle if you forget the administrator password. It’s a good idea to make up a complex password with uppercase and lowercase letters, some numerals, and a special symbol or two; then write it down and keep it in a secure location where you know it won’t get lost.
  • TCP/IP configuration: You’ll need to know what IP address to use for the server. Even if your network has a DHCP server to dynamically assign IP addresses to clients, most servers use static IP addresses.
  • Domain name: You’ll need to supply the name of the Active Directory domain to which the server will belong.