Windows Server 2012 laptop installation.. (on ThinkPad) – Part 1

Wow!! how time fly’s by..

It’s over 4 years since I wrote a post on installing Windows Server 2008 on the ThinkPad and since then
A LOT has changed, just a few in technology that struck me while writing this post:
Cloud Computing has really taken off, hardware & software development has carried on at its usual breakneck pace e.g. Core i7s, affordable SSD’s, 3TB drives cheap as chips, Social Networking exploded & a imploded a little (the Book of Faces share price, etc.), but most important to this post at least, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 was Released To Manufacturing on August 1st followed by General Availability (GA) TODAY! with Evaluation downloads available to the public and full product on TechNet, MSDN, etc..

Oh and Apple seems to have taken over the world..

But, it’s not all bad, we at The Full Circle still use ThinkPad’s as our primary client machines (of course, our back-end is now Cloud based Winking smile), and I still have the T61p from the original post although now semi-retired to be a docked ‘desktop’ – it’s still going strong albeit with more memory and a faster larger disk, but essentially it’s the same tin.

So the time has come to ditch the current O/S (believe this – Windows Server 2008 RTM upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2 RC and later upgraded to RTM and used for a couple of years, then upgraded to Windows Server 2012 RC – and it still worked!?!? that is a testament to modern software, drivers, etc.)

No, I’m not upgrading again, I’ve finally harvested enough settings and been running on another machine long enough to do the right thing and blow this disk away!  (or do I just swap it Winking smile) – NO the deed is done, I am free!

So (finally!), onto the process:

  1. Check out your BIOS settings to ensure the usual hardware virtualisation settings, boot options, etc. are set correctly i.e. on and enabled for your install media choices will work (USB is best).
  2. Copy Media to bootable USB key (or if you have to use a DVD.. yuck!)
  3. Install is easy, I’m not going to tell you how.. (see someone else’s blog for that)
  4. Logon as your local Administrator, and first thing first sort out the screen resolution – 1024×768 just doesn’t wash it in 2012 (and neither does the default Microsoft Basic Display Adapter driver – we’ll fix this later…)
  5. As suspected there is a lot of stuff a server O/S still isn’t going to automatically detect, on my old trusty Stinker Device Manager (started from Task Manager, Run, devmgmt.msc) came back with:image
  6. Before doing anything serious let’s sort out our machine name, storage and other system properties:
    There are various ways of accessing System Properties, but on a freshly built machine I also want to see what Windows has decided to do with my storage, so for me Windows Explorer is my preferred path..
    Window Key & E, then right-click Computer, and Properties
    Change Settings (or Advanced System Settings) will bring up the familiar System Properties box, the first tab is still Computer Name and you may wish to change this, Description and maybe Workgroup, but at this stage I wouldn’t bother joining a domain (we might need to trash the machine again, or better still SysPrep if it’s so damn good Winking smile)

    Changing Computer Name and/or Workgroup will still require a restart (it’s still SMB under the hood!)

  7. When restarted check out your storage, hard drives, etc. I found the IBM/Lenovo Service partition (an 8GB volume called ServiceV002 was unhidden as drive F:) and arrange as desired, personally I like all my local devices contiguous, and optical and removable storage out of the way.. e.g. I have:

    C: Local Disk (rename to System)
    D: Data
    E: Logs
    F: Optical / DVD
    U: USB key
    X: External disk

    (with the ThinkPad there is argument to put the Optical/DVD to the end e.g. Z: as it is a removable device (UltraBay)

  8. To change your storage in Windows Server 2012 you need to find the disk volumes in the new Server Manager..
    (and select the correct disk, to see the associated volume – think diskpart)
  9. You should be concerned by now that we’ve not checked for any updates – let’s start with Windows, back to the System Properties page (not Advanced) there is a Windows Update link where you will find updates are not automatically installed by default


    With my machine the only update was a fairly minor ‘UPEK driver update for TouchChip Fingerprint Coprocessor (WBF advanced mode) ( – that’s not going to fix all those missing devices!


    Installing Roles and Features

    via the GUI… no, you don’t want to do that!


    Scripted… yes, that’s better!

    Start PowerShell as an Administrator..


    Windows PowerShell
    Copyright (C) 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    PS C:UsersAdministrator> Import-Module Servermanager

    PS C:UsersAdministrator> Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core,Hyper-V,WAS-NET-Environment,Windows-Server-Backup,Wireless-Networking, Desktop-Experience –restart

    (mine actually had an ABEND after this!)

    To show all components (available and installed, simply type Get-WindowsFeature) e.g.

    PS C:UsersAdministrator> Get-WindowsFeature

    Display Name                                            Name                       Install State
    ————                                            —-                       ————-
    [ ] Active Directory Certificate Services               AD-Certificate                 Available
        [ ] Certification Authority                         ADCS-Cert-Authority            Available
        [ ] Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service       ADCS-Enroll-Web-Pol            Available
        [ ] Certificate Enrollment Web Service              ADCS-Enroll-Web-Svc            Available
        [ ] Certification Authority Web Enrollment          ADCS-Web-Enrollment            Available
        [ ] Network Device Enrollment Service               ADCS-Device-Enrollment         Available
        [ ] Online Responder                                ADCS-Online-Cert               Available
    [ ] Active Directory Domain Services                    AD-Domain-Services             Available


    If your server is running Windows Server® 2012, click Configure this local server to open the Local Server configuration page. Then, in the Properties area, next to IE Enhanced Security Configuration, click On to open the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration dialog.


Attempting to use the ThinkVantage System Update tool bombed out (not Win8/Server2012), so it’s down to manually installing drivers and system software…

Bits to download (for a ThinkPad T61p and likely most ThinkPads)

Intel Chipset Support (WW)
1.52 MB
Thu, 10 May 2012 12:00:00 EST

Management Engine Firmware
1.26 MB
Thu, 21 Apr 2011 12:00:00 EST

NVIDIA Display Driver
149.2 MB
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 12:00:00 EST

SoundMax Audio Software
4.5 MB
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 12:00:00 EST

Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver
488.67 KB
Windows XP,
Windows Vista,
Windows 7
02 Oct 2009

EasyEject Utility
5.04 MB
Fri, 02 Apr 2010 12:00:00 EST

Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver
488.67 KB
Fri, 02 Oct 2009 12:00:00 EST

Power Manager
29.39 MB
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 12:00:00 EST