How to promote Windows Server 2008 machine to domain controller – step-by-step guide

16 Promoting Windows Server machine to domain controller is one of tasks that (almost) every system administrator had done in his life. Using dcpromo tool, promoting Windows Server 2008 R2 machine to domain controller is quite easy, and in this post I will show you how step-by-step promoting Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system to domain controller. I’m doing this in my test lab on one of my virtual machines and I’ll create local domain “virtual”. I won’t write much about the process, because I have screenshot of every step that you have to take, so don’t think you’ll have problems following the steps. Let’s start.


First we’ll start program called dcpromo. Just go to Start, and in search field write dcpromo and open it.



You’ll have to wait few minutes, and then you’ll see “Welcome to the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard”. Just click on Next twice.

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Write the name of your domain. In my example I used virtual.local.


As I forest functional level I chose Windows Server 2008 R2. In details panel you can see the description of every forest functional level and based on that you can decide which one is the best for you.

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In the beginning, my virtual machine had dynamically assigned IP address, and as I installed DNS server on it, dcpromo told me that it would be good to have static IP address for DNS server. If you have same situation, I recommend you to do the same thing.

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In this step you can choose where to store Database, Log Files and SYSVOL. It’s recommended to put the database and log files to separate volumes.


Enter the password for you domain Administrator account.

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At the end, you need to restart your PC.


After the restart, we can now login to the domain as the Administrator.