How To Install Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Or Datacentre Edition On A VMware ESXi 6.0 Virtual Machine.

Windows Server 2012 R2 is the 6th release of the windows server fleet of operating systems. It offers a very wide and diverse range of features which include virtualization, storage, software-defined networking among many other. With Windows Server you do not need in-depth technical knowledge for you to setup a HYBRID private / private cloud environment as long as if you have the basic technical skills and desire, you can do it. Continue reading this tutorial to learn how to install Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Datacentre edition on a VMware ESXi 6.0 virtual machine. Click on the button below to watch the video tutorial


In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following items are required. Please ensure to have these items available before taking
implementation action on this tutorial:
1) Authorised access to a server with VMware ESXi 6.0 installed.
2) A windows, MacOS or linux desktop /  laptop with a web browser
3) Windows Server 2012 R2 disk image file (ISO) (evaluation ISO also works) or physical install disk.
4) An internet connection.


1) Download the Windows Server 2012 R2 iso file from open the VMware ESXi web console, browse to the datastore and upload the ISO file. If using a physical install disk this step is not necessary.
2) Create a virtual machine in VMware ESXi, attach the Windows Server installation media to the CD / DVD drive and power on the virtual machine.
3) Install Windows Server and once install process is complete, set a password for the administrator account, set a computer name and download the latest windows updates.
4) Install VMware tools for the Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machine.

Step 1: Download The Windows Server R2 ISO file or purchase a physical install disk online.

1) Click HERE to go to the official Microsoft download page for windows server 2012 evaluation edition. Once installed it is possible to simply purchase a license key to activate windows from a physical brick and mortar store near you or from an online store.

Select the ISO radio button and click on CONTINUE. Please note that the evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 gives a 180 day grace period before you have to purchase and install a license key,

2) To get the ISO download link you will first have to fill out some details such as your name, email address and company details on the START YOUR EVALUTATION section. Once you have entered these details click on the CONTINUE button to proceed.

3) Proceed by choosing the 64 BIT or 32 BIT option on the “PLEASE SELECT YOUR PLATFORM” section and also select the default language you would like on the “PLEASE SELECT YOUR LANGUAGE” drop down menu.

Click on the “DOWNLOAD” button to proceed.

4) Windows Server 2012 R2 can also be installed from a physical installation disk. If you do not have the WS 2012 R2 install disk you may proceed to purchase a disk online. A good place to buy is on as they offer same day delivery if you are an amazon.

Click HERE to visit the official amazon online store and simply server for Windows Server 2012, you will get many search results for an WS install disk from many amazon sellers.

Make a purchase for an install disk and it will just be a matter of waiting for the shipment of the disk to be delivered to your location.

5) If amazon is not a great option for you you can also check for online reseller that are in your area or close to where you live or just to go a purchase an installation disk fro the closest computer shop in the area where you live or work. Start by doing a simply google search to get detailed information on Windows resellers available in your area.

Step 2: Upload The Windows Server 2012 ISO File To ESXi And Create The VM

6) Open the VMware ESXi web configurator on a new web browser tab and enter your login credentials on the LOGIN page.


On the “DATASTORE” browser create a folder to store the ISO image file by clicking on the “CREATE DIRECTORY” option.

On the “NEW DIRECTORY” dialogue box, type in a descriptive name for the folder on the “DIRECTORY NAME” text field then click on the “CREATE DIRECTORY” button.

7) To proceed, select the folder you have just created and click on the “UPLOAD” button. A FILE UPLOAD dialogue box will be opened, go to the folder where the Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO file is located, select it and click on OPEN.

8) You will see a file upload progress bar indicating the progress of the file upload process. Please do not close your browser tab and refresh the page until the file upload process is complete.

Once the file upload completes click on the CLOSE button.

9) Next, click on the VIRTUAL MACHINES option and click on CREATE / REGISTER VM. A NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE wizard will be displayed and ask how the virtual machine should be created.Select the “CREATE A NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE” option and click on “NEXT”

10) On the “SELECT A NAME AND GUEST OS section type in a descriptive and meaningfull name for the virtual machine, select a ESXi compatibility of the COMPATIBILITY drop down menu. Set the GUEST OS FAMILY as WINDOWS and  GUEST OS VERSION as MICROSOFT WINDOWS SERVER 2012(64 BIT).

Click on “NEXT” to proceed.

11) On the “SELECT STORAGE” page select a datastore where the virtual machine’s virtual hard disk and configuration files will be stored. ESXi will automatically create a folder with the same name as that of the virtual machine and this makes it easy when you need to look up virtual machine files in the datastore.

Click on “NEXT” to proceed.

12) On the “CUSTOMIZE SETTINGS” section of the “NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE wizard set the number of processors for the WS 2012 R2 virtual machine on the CPU dropdown menu and specify the amount of memory to allocate to the virtual machine on the MEMORY text input box.

Type in the the size of the virtual hard disk on the HARD DISK text box. Expand the HARD DISK option and set DISK PROVISIONING to “THIN PROVISIONED” this will make the virtual machine creation process faster and also easier when you have to move the virtual machine from one ESXi host to another.

13) Scroll down to the CD / DVD dropdown menu and set it to DATASTORE ISO FILE. If using a Windows Server installation disk choose theHOST DEVICE option and insert the disk into the optical disk drive.

Click on the CONNECT AT POWER ON check box then on the CD / DVD MEDIA selection box click on the browse button. Open the folder where the Windows Server ISO file was uploaded to, select it using the mouse and click on the “SELECT” button.

14) Scroll back to the top of the CUSTOMIZE SETTINGS page and select the VM OTIONS TAB. Expand the BOOT OPTIONS and set the firmaware to EFI. It is also possible to set a boot delay time frame on the BOOT DELAY text box by simply typing in the  number of milliseconds to delay system boot up.

Click on “NEXT” to proceed.

15) On the READY TO COMPLETE section a detailed summary of the virtual machine will be displayed and you can use it to verify your configuration before virtual machine is created. If all is in order click on the “FINISH” button however if you would like to make any changes simply click on the “BACK” button to return to previous sections of the “NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE WIZARD”

Step 3: Power On The VM And Install Windows Server 2012 R2.

16) You will see the newly created virtual machines on the VIRTUAL MACHIES section of the ESXi web configurator.

Download the vmware remote console that will allow to interact with the virtual machine. However if downloading VMRC is not possible, the virtual machine console can be viewed in the web browser by clicking on the OPEN BROWSER CONSOLE option

Tick on the check box next to it then click on “ACTIONS > CONSOLE > DOWNLOAD VMRC”

The virtual machine console can also be viewed using VMware Workstation player / pro or VMware Fusion.

17) Once VMRC is installed tick on the check box next to the Windows Server 2012 virtual machine and click on “POWER ON” Notice how the icon of the virtual machine changes to a green play button icon to indicate that the VM is now ON.


18) You will be prompted to by the Windows Server 2012 install disk to press any key to boot from CD / DVD if you do not do so the EFI boot menu will be displayed. Select the EFI VMWARE VIRTUAL SATA CDROM DRIVE option and press enter.

19) The virtual machine will now boot up using the Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO file or install disk. On the Windows Setup select a language to install, time and currency format and the keyboard input method.

Click on NEXT to proceed.

20) At this stage Windows Server 2012 R2 is now ready to be installed click on the INSTALL NOW button to start the installation process. This will allow Windows setup will start copying and installing system files and software onto the virtual hard disk.

21) On this page of the Windows Setup select the version on Windows Server 2012 R2 to install. The are four versions that are available which are Windows Server 2012 R2 (Standard Server Core Installation), WS 2012 R2 Standard (Server With GUI) , WS 2012 R2 Datacentre (Server Core Installation) and WS 2012 R2 Datacentre (Server with GUI).

The key difference between the Windows Server 2012 R2 standard and datacentre editions is that each is licensed on a per-processor basic whereby the standard edition license only permits two virtual machines to run whereas a datacentre edition license permits the running of an unlimited number of virtual machines.

22) On the next page of the Windows Setuo the licence terms and conditions will be displayed. Read through the terms and then tick on the I ACCEPT THE LICENSE TERMS check box and click on NEXT.

23) Windows Server 2012 setup will ask which type of installation do you want. Since this is a new Windows Server installation click on the CUSTOM :INSTALL WINDOWS ONLY (ADVANCED) option.

24) Proceed by select the virtual hard disk as shown in the image and click on next. It is not necessary to format the hard disk at this stage since windows will automatically format the disk during installation.

25) Here we see that the installation process has been initiated, Windows Setup will start by copying windows files, install windows features, install windows updates and more. Once installation is complete the virtual machine will be restarted automatically and boot using the virtual hard disk.

26) Windows Server will prompt you ti type in a password for the built in administrator account. Ensure to follow good password practises such as setting a password that has a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters. Setting a good and strong password is essentiall especially if the VM is being used in a mission critical IT environment.

27) It has always been a standard on windows server that when signing in you have to press the CNTRL + ALT +DEL keyboard key combination howwever since Windows Server is running as a virtual machine press CNTRL + ALT + INSERT and then enter the windows administrator login details.

Step 4: Install VMware Tools, Download Windows Updates And Set A Computer Name.

28) Now that Windows Server 2012 R2 is installed and ready to use, proceed by installing VMware tools.  VMware Tools are a set freely available device driver software and applications that improves the performance of a VM and also improves the interaction between the guest and the host.

To install the VMware tools go to the ESXi web based configurator and click on ACTIONS > GUEST OS >INSTALL VMWARE TOOLS. This will mount the VMware tools installer to the virtual machines’s CDROM.

29) Open the virtual machines console and open the windows file explorer. Notice that the CDROM is now labelled VMWARE TOOLS.

Right click and choose the “INSTALL OR RUN PROGRAM FROM YOUR MEDIA” option, then on the VMWARE TOOLS setup welcome page  click on “NEXT” to proceed.

30) On the CHOOSE SETUP TYPE page the TYPICAL option will be selected by default. TYPICAL install VMWARE tools that are needed only when you intend to run the Windows Server on VMware ESXi 6.0. However if you intend to move or use the VM on different ESXi hypervisor choose the COMPLETE option and click on NEXT.

31) On the READY TO INSTALL VMWARE TOOLS section there are no selections or settings simply click on the INSTALL button so install the vmware tools on to the Windows Server virtual machine.

32) Once the installation is complete, you will be prompted to restart Windows Server 2012 so that configuration changes made by the VMWARE TOOLS can be put to effect. Click on the YES button to restart the VM.

33) Once the Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machine powers on again, press CNTRL + ALT + INSERT and type in your administrator account login password. To set a computer name for the server click on the file explorer icon on the taskbar and right click on THIS PC.

Select the PROPERTIES option and click on the CHANGE SETTINGS option. A SYSTEM PROPERTIES window will be open, type in a description for the server on the COMPUTER DESCRIPTION text box then click on the CHANGE button.

On the COMPUTER NAME / DOMAIN CHANGES window type in a name for the windows server on the COMPUTER NAME text box and click on OK.

Windows will automatically ask that you restart the VM for the changes to take effect.

34) The next and final step is to check for and install Windows updates. To do this press the WINDOWS + R keyboard shortcut or search for the RUN application and open it. On the OPEN text box type the word “CONTROL” and press OK. This will open the Windows control panel

35) In the CONTROL PANEL click on the SYSTEM AND SECURITY option.

36) Then proceed by clicking on the WINDOWS UPDATE option. There are also option for turning automatic updates on or off as well as viewed windows update history just below this option.

37) Click on the TURN ON AUTOMATIC UPDATES option to turn on automatic updating to improve security and perfomance on the Windows Server 2012 R2 VM.

38) Windows will automaticall start checking for Windows Updates from the microsoft update server. Wait for WS to finish checking and you will be prompted to install updates once the check is complete.