Setup LAB: 01 Generalize the Operating System Installation

This was the topic of discussion during last week, while a colleague of mine said that he faced some challenges while setting of his lab. After few additional queries, I figured out that he didn’t configure the domain controller correctly on his lab. As I am setting up a lab to learn about SQL Server 2012/2014, let me share the steps I follow to setup this lab.

Download Evaluation Software

I always prefer to use virtual machine to setup my own lab. Some of the available virtualization software, you may want to use, are:

For this lab, I am going to use Windows Server 2012 evaluation edition. You can download an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012 from here. You can also download an evaluation copy of SQL Server 2012 from here.

Installing The Operating System

I created a VM with 1 CPU & 2GB of RAM, along with 40GB of Hard disk drive(HDD). As part of the HDD configuration, I choose to dynamically expand the disk, instead of allocating all the space at the beginning. I didn’t add any Network Adapter to the VM as part of the initial setup. Mount the Windows Server 2012 ISO image to the VM and powered it on, to start the Operating System installation. Restart the VM when prompted to complete the Operating System installation.


Configuring The Operating System

To simply this lab setup, I have disabled the Firewall Setting & Enabled Remote Management on this server. Next, I will add Dot Net Framework 3.5.

  • Open Server Manager, click on Manage & select Add Roles and Features to start adding new feature to the server.


  • Select Role-based or feature-based installation, as the type of installation


  • Select the name of the server from the available server pools, where I want to install the Dot Net Framework 3.5
  • Select .Net Framework 3.5 features, from the list of available features


  • We need to specify the alternate location of the installation source files, as prompted below.


  • Since Dot Net Framework 3.5 files were not installed by default, please specify the location to the SxS folder on the Windows server 2012 evaluation iso file, as mentioned in the below screenshot.


  • Click on the Install button to start the Dot Net Framework 3.5 Installation.


Once the Dot Net Framework 3.5 installation is completed, I will run sysperp utility on this server to generalize the VHD. Start the sysprep utility from C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep, & shutdown the server upon completion. Copy the VHD file, & reuse it to build the other servers required for this lab.


I am going to create four virtual machine from this VHD file. Out of this four VMs, one will be used as a domain controller & the rest three will be used for AlwaysOn setup. More on this later.

Happy Learning 🙂 !!!


About Sudeepta Ganguly

A SQL Server User... Still Learning
This entry was posted in How To, Setup LAB, SQL Server, SQL2012, TestLab and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Setup LAB: 01 Generalize the Operating System Installation

  1. Pingback: Setup LAB: Install & Configure a Domain Controller | SQL…. Still Learning

  2. Vinay Menon says:

    Hi Sudeepta,

    Thanks for this blog really quite handy for beginners. Keep up the good work
    Eagerly waiting for new post by you…. 🙂 !!

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