SBS 2003 Installation Overview – Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt

My name is harry brelsford, the author of the purple book (SBS 2003 Best PRactices) and I am a man on a mission! I intend to post up the content from my book, a few pages a day, by the time SBS 2008 ships! Enjoy the read….harrybbbb

Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation


SBS Installation Overview

Allow me to take a moment to outline the SBS installation process for you. Understanding this setup blueprint is important because, if your setup fails somewhere along the line, you can quickly assess at what stage your setup failed. That failure assessment is extremely beneficial in troubleshooting any setup problems you might be having. Your understanding of the setup process will also help you communicate with your SBS consultant (a.k.a. SBSer guru) or Microsoft support.

BEST PRACTICE: These setup steps assume that you have purchased SBS as a standalone retail software package. These are not the same steps undertaken by the preinstalled (or OEM) version of SBS. The SBS OEM preinstallation approach is discussed later in the chapter and Appendix E.

The SBS installation process can be divided into six discrete steps (shown in Figure 3-2).

Figure 3-2

SBS installation overview.

Windows Server 2003 Character-Based Setup (Phase A)

This phase consists of inserting the first SBS CD (Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Disc 1) when requested.

BEST PRACTICE: Please ensure you are using a modern server machine with a bootable CD drive to install SBS 2003 using the SPRINGERS methodology. SBS 2003 also ships in a DVD format, which is very desirable as it results in performing the installation from a single disc. But speaking only for myself, few of my clients actually have a DVD in their server machine.

You must answer questions regarding welcome and licensing. Create and format a hard disk partition of sufficient size. Extensive file copying occurs at this stage from Disc 1. The computer reboots once.

BEST PRACTICE: Also note that Windows Server 2003, acting as the underlying operating system in SBS, no longer requires an emergency repair disk or a unique boot disk created for recovery efforts. Recovery is now supported via the recovery console accessed by selecting the “R” keystroke early in the boot phase of Windows Server 2003.

Windows Server 2003 GUI-Based Setup (Phase B)

After the second reboot, you are presented with a Windows-like graphical user interface (GUI) to complete the installation of Windows Server 2003. Provide a user name for registration purposes and an organization name. Either accept the automatically created computer name or provide your own computer name. Provide the administrator password.

Observe the networking components being installed. Select the correct time zone for the SBS computer. The correct computer monitor settings are tested and, after additional Windows Server 2003 files are copied over, the SBS computer reboots.

SBS 2003 Installation and Setup (Phase C)

The computer automatically restarts and performs an autologon. The Microsoft Small Business Server Setup Welcome dialog box appears, and you answer many, if not all, of these setup questions regarding the following topics:


1. Software licensing


2. SBS Product Key entry


3. Proof of ownership for upgrades


4. Active Directory domain name


5. NetBIOS domain name


6. Computer name


7. Installed network adapters


8. Company information


9. Administrator’s password to facilitate automatic logon


10.       Applications to install (after the mid-point Windows Configuration reboot) and the path to install those applications


11.       Data folder path


After you provide the information in steps 1 through 9 above, Active Directory and its required services, such as DNS, are installed and configured in the Windows Configuration stage. Additional Windows Server 2003 services, such as DHCP and Terminal Services, are installed. One reboot later and the true-blue SBS components (management consoles) and applications (Exchange Server, and the like) are installed. During this phase, you insert SBS Discs #2, #3, and #4 when requested (the fourth disc is really Outlook 2003). At the end of this phase, you need to click Finish in a dialog box indicating the SBS setup process has completed. The SBS computer asks you to approve a reboot.

BEST PRACTICE: Regarding the SBS installation process, actual installation time varies greatly. It can take anywhere from 90 minutes to over four hours depending on the speed of your disc drive, hard disk, and CPU microprocessor and the installation selections that you made. The amount of RAM also affects setup times. Believe me, I’ve seen both the fastest time and the slowest time listed here and everything in between!

SBS 2003 Completion and Initial Boot (Phase D)

Assuming you have successfully installed SBS 2003, this phase represents the first logon to the underlying Windows Server 2003 operating system. Log on with the administrator user account and password.

BEST PRACTICE: Carefully note that the context of my discussion herein assumes you are starting with a clean machine (as I alluded to in the paragraph above. Upgrading from SBS 2000 requires a slightly different process and is covered in Appendix B: Upgrading. The reason I’ve placed the upgrade discussion in Appendix B is that the beloved SPRINGERS storyline centers around the use of a new server machine with no prior operating system installed. Understandably, your specific real world situation may vary.

SBS 2003 To Do List (Phase E)

When you first log on to the SBS computer after completing the installation, you are presented with a To Do List of tasks to complete on a screen titled

“Complete the configuration.”

BEST PRACTICE: The To Do List in SBS 2003 is different from SBS 2000. The To Do List has been divided into two broad categories: Network Tasks and Management Tasks. SBS 2000 had no such functional distinctions. You will complete much of the SBS 2003 To Do List in Chapter 4.


Network Tasks

1                    View Security Best Practices. This is a screen with important secu­rity information.

2                    Connect to the Internet. This is the E-mail and Internet Connection Wizard. Very powerful!

3                    Configure Remote Access. This wizard is a big improvement in SBS 2003, as it replaces what was a manual process in SBS 2000. More on this later.

4                    Activate Your Server. In the Windows Server 2003 time frame, Microsoft requires activation as an anti-piracy measure. This is the link to activate your SBS 2003 server.

5                    Add Client Licenses. Client access licenses (CALs) are necessary to add users to your SBS network after the initial installation. These are purchased online now and a CAL diskette is not required. This is a big improvement over SBS 2003.


Management Tasks

1                    Add a Printer. This is where you add printers.

2                    Add Users and Computers. This is the improved Add User Wizard that chains to the Setup Computer Wizard.


3,         Configure Fax. This wizard is a dramatic improvement in SBS 2003 as the fax configuration process in the SBS 2000 timeframe was manual (ouch!).

1                    Configure Backup. Big-time improvements here with the backup configuration wizard (more details later).

2                    Configure Monitoring. The SBS monitoring capability is a jewel and this is the link to configure it.


Microsoft created the To Do List with the idea that you would complete each step in order (according to members of the SBS development team who shared this public information with me directly over the years). I agree with Microsoft on this point, that the SBS To Do List should be completed in order, because it’s part of the SBS methodology for being successful (I spend hundreds of pages addressing this topic in my SMB Consulting Best Practices book). Understand

that nothing prevents you from either following the To Do List step-by-step or using an ad-hoc To Do List approach. As with the execution of any task on a computer, always think before acting and use your best judgment.

BEST PRACTICE: You can return to the To Do List at any time, not just the first time you log on to the SBS computer. This is accomplished by clicking the To Do List selection in the console pane on the System Manager console.

Final Configuration and Testing (Phase F)

This phase resolves loose ends, including attaching and making operational the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that I discussed in Chapter 2. You also check the event logs to ensure that the SBS installation went well (from the Windows Server 2003 event logs via the Computer Management (Local) snap-in in the found in the Advanced Management section of the Server Management console). You also perform some basic SBS system tests so that you know you’re ready to proceed to Chapter 4 with confidence. Also during this phase, a tape backup of the system would likely be made to preserve your setup and configuration, and you might install third-party applications, such as a virus protection application at this phase.

BEST PRACTICE: I’ll have you run Windows Automatic Update in Chapter 5 in order to have the latest patches, bulletins, security fixes and the like applied before being “live” too long online and subjecting your computer to the badness of the Internet, such as worms!



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2 responses to “SBS 2003 Installation Overview – Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt

  1. Pingback: outlook 2003 problems

  2. Arul

    i installed the windows sbs 2003 using CD1.
    setup reboot the system and goes to Desktop.
    when will ask it “second CD”.
    i am wait upto 20 minutes the system not ask me the 2nd CD.
    Any problem is there in my installation?

    Still now i don’t set the IP Address. i am only set the Time Zone.In my Desktop startup list showing Activation Icon and Network Connectivity Icon(with warning- status:limited or no connectivity).

    Could u help me, what i do for next to complete my installation.

    Reply me to :

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