You can finish configuring Windows Server® 2008 R2 by performing the following three tasks, identified in the Initial Configuration Tasks window that is opened when the operating system installation is complete.

Activate Windows

Click the Activate Windows link in the Provide Computer Information area of the Initial Configuration Tasks window to provide the product key that was included with your copy of this Windows operating system. This command opens the Windows Activation dialog box.

Activation helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine, and that it has not been used on more computers than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. In this manner, activation helps prevent software counterfeiting. With an activated copy of Windows, you will be able to use every Windows feature. You have 30 days after you install Windows to activate it online or by telephone. If this 30-day period expires before you complete activation, some Windows features stop working until you activate your copy of Windows.

The Activate Windows field in the Initial Configuration Tasks window shows the activation status for this copy of Windows. Not activated is displayed if an administrator has not provided the product key associated with this copy of Windows, or has provided a product key, but not yet activated Windows either online or by telephone. Activated is displayed, together with the Windows product ID, if an administrator has provided the correct Windows product key and activated the operating system.

Set the time zone

Click the Set time zone link in the Provide Computer Information area of the Initial Configuration Tasks window to change the time zone in which the computer is located. For help topics about how to change values on the Date and Time dialog box, on the Date and Time tab, click How do I set the clock and time zone?

Configure networking

Network Connections provides connectivity between your computer and the Internet, a network, or another computer. The New Connection Wizard helps you create Internet connections by using your dial-up modem, ISDN, DSL or cable modem. You can also create incoming, direct, and virtual private networking (VPN) connections by using the New Connection Wizard.

Network connections are highly recommended for typical tasks that are performed by most of the server roles available for installation on your Windows Server 2008 R2 server.

To set the network connections now, click Configure networking. If you want to edit existing network connection settings, right-click the connection to open the connection's Properties dialog box. If you want to create a new connection, click Create a new connection to open the New Connection Wizard.

Recommended configuration for network connections includes the following tasks:

  • Configuring static IP addresses (highly recommended)

  • Configuring DNS settings

  • Configuring WINS settings

For more information about network connection setup, see the documentation available at Network Center for the IT Pro (

Provide computer name and domain

If this is the first time that you have installed Windows Server 2008 R2 on this computer, the setup process assigns your computer a randomly generated number as a computer name. If you are reinstalling or upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server 2008 R2, Setup preserves the existing computer name. You may find the server easier to access remotely and easier to recognize in reports and logs if you assign it a name that is meaningful to you and that fits with the naming scheme for computers in your organization.

You can also specify a computer name during Setup if you are using an unattended installation file to install Windows Server 2008 R2.

Consider the following when assigning a computer name:

  • The recommended length for most languages is 15 characters or less. For languages that require more storage space per character, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, the recommended length is 7 characters or less.

  • We recommend that you use only Internet-standard characters in the computer name. The standard characters are the numbers from 0 through 9, uppercase and lowercase letters from A through Z, and the hyphen (-) character. Computer names cannot consist entirely of numbers.

  • If you are using DNS on the network, you can use a wider variety of characters. These include Unicode characters and other non-standard characters, such as the ampersand (&). Using nonstandard characters may affect the ability of non-Microsoft software to operate on the network.

  • The maximum length for a computer name is 63 bytes. If the name is longer than 15 bytes (15 characters in most languages, 7 characters in some), computers that are running Windows NT 4.0 and earlier will recognize this computer by the first 15 bytes of the name only. In addition, there are additional configuration steps for a name that is longer than 15 bytes.

  • If a computer is a member of a domain, you must choose a computer name that is differs from any other computer in the domain. To avoid name conflicts, the computer should be unique on the domain, workgroup, or network. If this computer is member of a domain, and it contains more than one operating system, you must use a unique computer name for each operating system that is installed. This requirement also applies to a computer that contains multiple installations of the same operating system.

Domains, and the Active Directory® directory service system of which they are a part, provide many options for making resources easily available to users while maintaining good monitoring and security. In a domain, passwords and permissions are easier to keep track of because a domain has a single, centralized database of user accounts, permissions, and other network details. The information in this database is replicated automatically among domain controllers.

To name the computer and join it to a domain now, click Provide computer name and domain in the Initial Configuration Tasks window.