Windows 8 also features a server side operating system known as Windows 8 Server.

Windows 8 Server is downloadable if you have subscribed to an MSDN account.

In this article, we take you step by step through installation of the Windows 8 Server Developer Preview.

Step 1: Get Windows 8 Server using MSDN subsciption

You have to download the setup file to begin installation. You require a Windows Live account with an active MSDN subscription at

Login using your username and password and access the downloads section in the subscriptions panel on the right.

You will need a product key to activate the developer version that will also be provided to you. Click on Windows 8 Server Developer Preview downloads and you will see the following page.

A built in transfer manager will take control as soon you start downloading. Depending on your bandwidth, this will take a while.

Step 2: Determine installation media

You end up downloading the ISO file that can be mounted on a CD or DVD or a USB depending on your preference. Use an image mounting tool such as Daemon Tools to create a bootable DVD.

Booting from USB

The ISO file needs to be loaded on the DVD first. Once the ISO file becomes accessible on the DVD, type the commands listed below while the USB is still connected to the computer.


DISKPART> list disk

Select the USB device from the list and substitute the disk number below
when necessary

DISKPART> select disk 1
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> select partition 1
DISKPART> active
DISKPART> format fs=fat32
DISKPART> assign
cd boot
bootsect /nt60 Y:

xcopy X:*.* /s/e/f Y:

where X: is your mounted image or physical DVD and Y: is your USB

Step 3: Begin installation

  • Based on the media you have chosen in the previous step, either plug the USB in the USB slot or insert disc into the DVD drive and boot your computer

  • Configure your regional settings by setting your Language, Time and currency format and Keyboard or Input method. Press Next to proceed.
    • If you want to install a fresh copy, do not click on Repair your computer, select Install Now option to proceed with normal installation.

    • The next screen brings three options in front of you namely :
    • Choose one of the installations and click on Next to proceed. One thing to be noted is that Windows 8 Server is fully based on x64 architecture and hence x86 is not supported.
    1. Windows Server Developer Preview (Full Installation)
    2. Windows Server Developer Preview (Server Core Installation)
    3. Windows Server Developer Preview (Features On Demand)
    Figure 5: License Agreement

    Figure 5: License Agreement

    • Please ensure that you read the license terms before proceeding with installation further. Click on I accept the license terms option and Next to proceed.
    Figure 6: Type of install

    Figure 6: Type of install

    • There are two options presented to you at this stage- upgrade and custom installation. If you want to retain files and folders on your primary partition, select upgrade option. If you are installing a fresh copy of Windows 8 Server, choose custom option.
    Figure 7: Select partition

    Figure 7: Select partition

    • The next screen displays the various partitions present on your system. You can change the partitions by selecting Drive options at the bottom right from where you will be allowed to create and delete partitions. Remember, deleting a partition will erase all data on that partition and this operation cannot be undone. So, determine the partition where you would like to install Windows 8 Server and click on Next to proceed. It is a general practice to install operating systems on C: drive.
    Figure 8: Installing Windows

    Figure 8: Installing Windows

    • This screen is similar to Windows 7 installation where the setup files are copied and then expanded to proceed with installation.
    Figure 9: First Reboot

    Figure 9: First Reboot

    • The system will restart itself in 10 seconds once the installation process is complete. You can trigger a manual restart at this point by clicking on Restart Now.
    • The Window Server Setup modifies registry files, gets the devices ready and prepares the user interface for loading after which it redirects you to the Logon screen.
    Figure 10: Create user

    Figure 10: Create user

    Create an administrator account at this point with a username and password.

    Ensure that the created password obliges to the password policy having 8 characters and a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters along with other characters.

    Figure 11: Logon screen

    Figure 11: Logon screen

    • The lock screen will be displayed where you press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to log on.
    Figure 12: Enter password

    Figure 12: Enter password

    • Now the real logon screen is displayed where you enter the password that was created two steps ago.
    Figure 13: Server Manager

    Figure 13: Server Manager

    • The server manager launches itself to configure your Windows 8 Server and include the list of devices that will be connected or managed by this computer.
    Figure 14: Dashboard

    Figure 14: Dashboard

    Let us know what you think about Windows 8 Server.

    Was it easy to install and use?

    About the Author

    Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

    In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

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    1. I think there still need for improvement but overall the UI is pretty friendly. If this is a server OS, why don’t we drop the UI and leave the power-shell to do its magic, that makes more sense for me. Or at least it would make sense for most of us that manage a data-center.  Thank you for posting the developer preview install screenshots.

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