Different organizations from different sectors – Telecom, IT, Banking, healthcare and all those who operate in a distributed environment ,need to effectively manage and organize their servers, user accounts, security policies and above all business processes, to succeed . Thus, emerges the requirement of centralized and secure administration mechanism.

Active Directory (AD) is one such automated mechanism that provides a centralized solution for managing servers and users, verifies the identity of users and authorizes resources on each access. For example, whenever a user, logs into a computer (part of a Windows domain), Active Directory verifies the password submitted by the user and determines the user identity accordingly-i.e. a system administrator or normal user. AD is an umbrella of different identity related services.

In Active directory, there is AD DS –Active Directory Domain Services, the Microsoft’s Directory Server that allows-

  • Management and storage of information at admin level, about resources from a network.
  • Provides authentication and authorization mechanisms and a framework to deploy other related services (AD Certificate Services, AD Federated Services, etc.).

A server running AD DS is called a domain controller.

Thus, Active directory is an important tool for an organization which enables it to efficiently manage its network resources.

How to install active directory in windows server 2012?

Active directory can be installed in Windows Server 2012 via two methods-

  1. Install AD DS by using Server Manager using Graphical User Interface (GUI).
  2. Install AD DS by using Windows PowerShell or Command Line Interface (CLI).

Let’s walk through the methods of installing active directory on Windows Server 2012 and adding domain in new forest.

    1. Graphical Installation via Server Manager:-
      1. Login into your server via administrator user.
      2. Open the Server Manager from the task bar.

        step 1 to install Active Directory in Windows Server 2012

      3. Next select and click on Add roles and features from the Server Manager dashboard. This will open Add Roles and Features Wizard page and will allow modifications that need to be performed on the Windows Server 2012 instance.

        Add Roles and Features Wizard in windows active directory installation

      4. Click Next to proceed


      5. Select Role-based or feature-based installation option and click on Next.


      6. Click on Server Selection tab and select the option- Select a server from the server pool and select server name. Click on Next to proceed to next tab-Server Roles.


      7. Now select Active Directory Domain Services from the Server Roles page.


      8. Click on AD DS, will open a window explaining about additional feature that are required to install Active Directory Domain services.

        [You can see few required components selected by installation]

        Click on Add Features.


      9. Review on features and select them. Once done click on Next.


      10. Now Click on AD DS tab and review the information about AD DS on the current page. Click on Next.


      11. Click on Install to initiate installation.


      12. The AD DS installation progress will be displayed on the screen and once it is installed, it will be displayed on the landing page of Server Manager.

        Once installation is done. Click on close button.


After the installation of AD DS, promote this server as a domain controller.

      1. Open the Server Manager from the task bar . In server manager you will get yellow icon on top of the screen. Click on this icon and click on the option: Promote this server to a domain controller.


      2. Select Add a new forest option from the Deployment Configuration tab. Now insert your root domain name into the Root domain name field. (Here I have used znetlive.com).
        Click on Next.

        How to Install Active Directory in Windows Server 2012?

      3. Put DSRM (Directory server restore mode) password and confirm the password. This password is used during the restoration of Active Directory. Click on Next.


      4. Click on Next.


      5. Verify and enter NetBIOS name of domain. Click on Next.


      6. Here you can see location of your Active Directory database and log folders. Click on Next.


      7. Review the options and click on Next.


      8. All the prerequisite to be installed are checked by the system prior to moving forward. Once this check is done proceed to click on Install.

        Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard

      9. Congratulations! Installation of Active Directory completes here.
    1. Active Directory installation via PowerShell CLI:

PowerShell or Command line is powerful tool to perform or manage Windows components installation or in automation of tasks. Instead of using the Windows GUI for administration, use Command Line Interface to install and configure Active Directory.

    1. Following command will install Active Directory Domain Services role:

      Install-Windows Feature -name AD-Domain-Services –Include Management Tools

    2. Import AD DS module in PowerShell session:

      [In order to increase server performance all commands and modules are not installed by Windows installer during OS installation.]

      To continue AD installation and configuration, we need AD DS Deployment module.

      Use command-
      Import-Module AD DS Deployment

    3. Install new Active Directory with domain name: znetlive.com.

      -CreateDnsDelegation:$false `
      -DatabasePath “C:WindowsNTDS” `
      -DomainMode “Win2012R2” `
      -DomainName “znetlive.com” `
      -DomainNetbiosName “ZNET” `
      -ForestMode “Win2012R2” `
      -InstallDns:$true `
      -LogPath “C:WindowsNTDS” `
      -NoRebootOnCompletion:$false `
      -SysvolPath “C:WindowsSYSVOL” `

(Domain name and Net BIOS name can be replaced with your domain name).

Once installation is complete, it will ask for Active Directory Recovery password. Remember this password as, it will be used to recover Active Directory in case of any disaster.

If you have any doubt regarding this write-up, feel free to contact and drop comments in the section below.

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