Running into vague errors in Windows Server 2012 Server Core but not in Server with a GUI installations? Here’s one solution

ErrorbuttonThe last couple of months, I ran into a lot of problems on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2012. I used the same installation media as my Server with a GUI installations, but only the Server Core installations were experiencing problems.

Problems I encountered were:

  • Not able to receive an IPv4 address lease from a IPv4 DHCP Server and instead using an APIPA address.
  • Errors when setting the IPv4 address on a Network interface
    (both in sconfig, netsh and with PowerShell)
  • Errors when setting DNS Server addresses on a Network interface
    (both in sconfig, netsh and with PowerShell)
  • Error when allowing remote desktop in sconfig
  • Error when allowing remote firewall management in sconfig
  • Error when allowing the server to be pinged in sconfig
  • “Network location could not be reached” errors
  • “RPC Server unavailable” errors
  • Unable to join an Active Directory domain, while being able to resolve and ping Domain Controllers in the domain, or able to join the domain, but not being able to log on with domain credentials after reboot

I managed to work around some of the errors, but none of my Server Core installations ever made it into full-featured domain members. The problems persisted both in Hyper-V and VMware Workstation-based virtual machines and physical hosts.

Together with my colleague Adnan Hendricks, I troubleshooted the problem and eventually found the Installation Media was at fault. This was the installation media I downloaded from Microsoft TechNet and the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) on their first days.

When you download an iso file from Microsoft, you will always be shown a SHA1 checksum for your download. If you find yourself in vague problems (like the ones above) be sure to check the checksum. Download the installation media again, when checksums differ. Instructions and a downloadable program from Microsoft to check the checksums is available through Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 841290.


When you download from Microsoft, always compare the checksums after downloading. When you run into problems like the ones above, try to download the installation media again and reinstall the boxes from scratch.

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