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How to create a Windows domain controller

What you need
  1. A Windows Server 2012 ISO.
  2. Other Windows computers/virtual machines

The first step is creating a Windows Server 2012 from an ISO image. I obtained  mine from Microsoft Imagine, formerly known as DreamSpark, leveraging the fact I'm still in the college, at least for the next months.

I created a virtual machine with VMware Fusion, but VirtualBox is an equally viable solution.

Domain Controller Creation Steps

The first two needed steps are changing the name of the domain controller to something a little more significant and defining a static IP address configuration.

I renamed the server to DC (for domain controller) and assigned it a static IP address, as shown below.

Then you want to add features to your server.

You start by adding Active Directory to your installation. Active Directory allows to add and manage users in a Windows domain.

That been done, we promote our server to domain controller. 

We're going to add a new forest, calling it hacking.testlab, which will be our new domain. 

Based on the successful outcome of the previous stage, we can now add a DHCP server to our domain controller.

For this purpose, we go again to Server Manager/Add Roles & Features.

In the post-configuration stage, change the default setting and enter the credentials for the administrator account, or your configuration will most likely fail.
That been done, we're going to create a DHCP pool, starting from the first usable IP address on the network.

This completes our server configuration
Client-side configuration

It's now time to add our first client to our domain.

For this purpose, I am going to use a Windows 7 Professional virtual machine.

We need to go to System and to change settings, adding the client to our new domain.

For this to work, however, we need to setup a static IP configuration on the client, assigning it the first usable IP address from our DHCP pool (

Thanks to this static IP configuration, we can successfully add our client to the hacking.testlab domain.

We can repeat this for any clients we want to add to our domain.

So, that's how to successfully create a domain controller on Windows Server 2012 R2.

NOTE: For security reasons, you might want to setup both your domain controller and your clients with a host-only network configuration.

I created this whole thing to be only available internally to my home network.

Making it accessible from the Internet might be a very wrong decision, as it could cause your network to be compromised.


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