Free Training: How to Install Active Directory Domain Service on Server 2012 (AD DS)

Active Directory is vital for any Microsoft network that is based on a typical client-server network model. It provides you the flexibility to have a central server, known as Domain Controller (DC). This controller handles authentication for your entire network.

With the help of Microsoft Active Directory Domain Service, you can work with your internal network with the security or the principals. You can also manage your internal network from a centralized location; you can even share folders, network printers, users, computers, groups, sites and Organization Unit (OU).

So, instead of having people logging on to local machines, they can simply authenticate against your DC. Sounds great, right? Yes, it is! In a step by step tutorial below, we will demonstrate how to install active directory domain server on Server 2012 (AD DS).

What Are The Key Requirements For Installing AD DS?

  • User name and password with full administrator right.
  • IP Address
  • Server based Operating System.
  • Domain Controller Name.

Here is a step by step guide on how to install AD DS on windows server 2012:

Step 1: Open the Server Manager and click on the “Add Roles and Features” tab. (Check the screenshot below)


1 Server Manager Dashboard

Step 2: “Before you begin” window will now appear on the screen. Simply click on the “Next” button. (Check the screenshot below)


To add role and feature

Step 3: In the “Select Installation Type” window, select “role-based or feature-based installation” tab. (Check the screenshot below)


 Installation Type

Step 4: Select the server on which you want to install active directory domain service and next, click on the “Next” tab. (Check the screenshot below)

4 Server Selection

Step 5: The “Select server roles” window will display many options for you to choose from. You just need to select the “Active Directory Domain Service” option.


Step 6: A new “Add Roles and Features Wizard” window will now load on your screen. To add some additional features for AD DS, click on the “Add Features” tab. (Check the screenshot below)



5 Add Role and Feature

Step 7: Select “Active Directory Domain Services” and click “Next”. (Check the screenshot below)


6 Active Directory Domain Services

Step 8: Next, select the “Features” option in the left side panel of “Select Features” window.


Step 9: Select “.NET Framework 3.5 Features” and “Group Policy Management” and click “Next”. (Check the screenshot below)


Step 10: A window titled “Add Roles and Features Wizard” will now appear on the screen. Move forward by clicking on the “Next” button. (Check the screenshot below)


Active directory domain service

Step 11: Select “Restart the destination server automatically if required” option.

Step 12: Next, click on the “Install” button to initiate installation of active directory domain service on server 2012. (Check the screenshot below)


installation selection

Step 13: Rebooting your device will complete the server installation.

Step 14: Next, click on the Flag Icon on the top right panel of the screen and click on “Promote this server to domain controller” option. (Check the screenshot below)

 Post Deployement Configuration

Step 15: Under the “Deployment Configuration” option on the left panel, select “Add a new forest” and provide “Root domain name (”

Step 16: Click on the “Next” tab. (Check the screenshot below)


 Deployement Configuration



Step 17: Under “Domain Controller Options,” select “Forest Functional Level” and “Domain Functional Level” as per your organizational environment. You can also raise the functional level after installation of active directory domain service on Server 2012.

Note: Functional Level can be raised ONE time only. Also, you can easily scroll the level from low to high but not vice-versa, so be extra careful.

Step 18: Next, enter “Directory Service Restore Mode (DSRM)” and a “Password” to ensure AD DS database recovery in case anything goes wrong.

Step 19: Click on the Next” tab to confirm changes you have just made. (Check the screenshot below)


 Domain Controller Options

Step 20: Click on the “Next” button under “DNS Options.” (Check the screenshot below)


 DNS Option


Step 21: Click on the “Additional Options” tab and enter “Net BIOS domain name.”

Step 22: Click on the “Next” tab. (Check the screenshot below)


Addition Option

Step 23: Click on “Paths” option and select AD DS database destination location.

Step 24: Your system will by default select the destination location as “C:\windows\NTDS, SYSVOL”. You just need to hit the “Next” button. (Check the screenshot below)



 AD DS database  Path

Step 25: Click on the “Review” option and then, hit the “Next” tab again.  (Check the screenshot below)


 Review Option

Step 26: Check the “All prerequisite checks passed successfully” option. Now, click on the ‘Install’ button to begin installation.


Step 27: Click on the “Next” tab. (Check the screenshot below)


Prerequisite check


Step 28: After you reboot your computer, it will be promoted as a domain controller. Enter your administrator password and there you go!

 Enter Domain Administratorcredential

Step 29: You can see your server successfully promoted as a domain controler. (Check the screenshot below)


19 Local Server

Step 30: You can now efficiently access all AD DS services under the tool option. (Check the screenshot below)

 Active Directory Services ready to use

Having problems while trying to install active directory domain service?

Please drop your queries or doubts in the comment section below. Try to be as descriptive as possible and one of our experts will get back to you at the earliest.