Learn How To Install Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Or Standard Edition On VirtualBox 6.1​ In Just About 10 Minutes Or Less.

Windows Server 2012 AKA  Windows Server 8 is the fifth version of the Windows Server operating system released with an all new UI, features and functions. According to Microsoft documentation, Windows Server 2012  comes with new, improved features and applications such as an all new user interface (UI), data deduplication, Windows Server cloud backup, Work folders, IP address management (IPAM), SMB version 3, Hyper-V version 3 and more! A good way to learn and start using these new features and apps is to deploy a Windows Server 2012 virtual machine right on your computer. Continue reading this tutorial to learn how to install Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter or Standard edition on a VirtualBox 6.1 virtual machine in just about 10 minutes or less.


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) A desktop or laptop with 4GB of RAM or more, 50GB of free disk space and running an operating system with virtualbox support.
2) Oracle VM VirtualBox 6.1 or newer.
3) Windows Server 2012 R2 disk image file (ISO) or DVD.
4) An internet connection for installing Windows updates (optional)


1) Learn about the minimum system requirements needed to run Windows Server 2012 R2 on a physical or virtual machine.
2) Download and install VirtualBox 6.1 on your computer. Go to the Windows evaluation center and download the Window Server 2012 R2 ISO file.
3) Open VirtualBox and create a new Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machine.
4) Set a  password, Install Windows Server 2012 R2 updates and enable remote desktop access (RDP)

Windows Server 2012 R2 System Requirements

The following are the minimum system requirements for running Windows Server 2012 on a physical or virtual machine:
1) Minimum: 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor.
2) Atleast 1 Gb of RAM.
3) A minimum of 32GB disk space
4) Gigabit (10/100/1000baseT) Ethernet adapter.
5) (1024 x 768) or higher-resolution monitor.

Step 1: Download VirtualBox 6.1 and The Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO file.

1) Click HERE to go to the official VirtualBox download page and just below the VIRTUALBOX PLATFORM PACKAGES sub heading click on the appropriate download link for your Operating System.

When the download process is complete, open the setup file and install VirtualBox on your computer.

2) Next, click HERE to open the Windows Server 2012 R2 product evaluation page. Click on the WINDOWS SERVER 2012 R2 drop down menu, click on START YOUR EVALUATION, click on the ISO radio button and click on CONTINUE.

3) A form will be displayed prompting you to enter details such as your name, company name and job title. Type in your details on the appropriate spaces provided and click on CONTINUE

4) Select the 64 bit option and on the PLEASE SELECT YOUR LANGUAGE drop down menu, select ENGLISH or any other language of your choice and click on DOWNLOAD.  Note that the ISO file is about 4.2GB in size.

Step 2: Create The Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtual Machine.

5) Open Oracle VM VirtualBox and click on MACHINE > NEW. On the virtual machine creation wizard click on the EXPERT MODE button. Type in a name to identify the VM on the NAME text box, choose a MACHINE FOLDER, for saving virtual machine files, set the TYPE to MICROSOFT WINDOWS and select WINDOWS 2012 (64-BIT) on the VERSION drop down menu.

On the MEMORY SIZE input box, type 2048 and click on the CREATE button.

6) A popup window with virtual hard disk configuration options will appear. Click on the FILE LOCATION button to select a folder to save the virtual hard disk and type in the size of the virtual hard disk on the FILE SIZE input box.


Click on the CREATE button to proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Power On The VirtualMachine And Insall Windows Server 2012 R2

7) From the ORACLE VM VIRTUALBOX MANAGER, right click on the newly created virtual machine. Click on START > NORMAL START.

8) Upon first time start up, if there is no virtual or physical startup disk attached to the virtual machine, a popup message will be displayed and prompt you to select a startup disk.

Click on the FILE SELECTION button and select the Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO image file that you downloaded on STEP 1. Once you have selected the file click on the START button.

9) Once the virtual machine completes the boot up process, a windows installation program called WINDOWS SETUP will be opened. On the LANGUAGE TO INSTALL drop down menu choose ENGLISH (UNITED STATES), on the TIME AND CURRENCY FORMAT drop down select ENGLISH (SOUTH AFRICA) or any other time and currency format that matches your location. On the KEYBOARD OR INPUT METHOD dropdown choose US and click on NEXT.

10) Click on the INSTALL NOW button to start the Windows Installation process.

11) On the “SELECT THE OPERATING SYSTEM YOU WANT TO INSTALL” section select the WINDOWS SERVER 2012 R2 DATACENTER EVALUATION (SERVER WITH A GUI)” option and click on NEXT. You can also choose any other option from the list depending on your preference.

12) On the LICENSE TERMS section, click on the “I ACCEPT THE LICENSE TERMS” check box and click on NEXT.

13) Since this is a new Windows Server installation, click on the “CUSTOM: INSTALL WINDOWS ONLY (ADVANCED)” option.

14) Click on “DRIVE 0: UNALLOCATED SPACE” and click on NEXT

15) Windows Setup will start copying Windows system files, install features and updates to the virtual hard disk. The amount of time it takes for the installation process to complete depends on the perfomance of the host computer and the virtual machine however on a virtual machine configured with Windows Server 2012 R2 minimum system requirements it should not take more than 10 minutes.

Step 4: Set A Password, Install Updates And Enable RDP.

16) When the installation process is complete Windows will prompt you to set a secure password for the built in Administrator account. Please note that the password should contain an Uppercase letter, smaller case letter, a number and a symbol.

Type in your desired password on the password fields provided and click on FINISH.

To install Windows updates click on START > CONTROL PANEL > WINDOWS UPDATE > CHANGE SETTINGS.

On the IMPORTANT UPDATES dropdown menu, choose the INSTALL UPDATES AUTOMATICALLY (RECOMMENDED) option and click on OK. Windows will automatically start checking for updates, download and install if any are available.

17) Remote Desktop (RDP) is a common application used by Windows Server administrators for accessing the graphical user interface of a Windows Server.

Imagine you have a server placed on a server rack inside a data center. It would not make sense for you to connect a monitor, mouse and keyboard in-order to interact with the Windows Server.

You can simply enable remote desktop and access the Windows Server from your computer in your office or any other location using an app such as Microsoft Remote Desktop.

To enable remote desktop on Windows Server 2012 R2, click on START > CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM & SECURITY > SYSTEM > REMOTE SETTINGS.

Click on the ALLOW REMOTE CONNECTIONS TO THE COMPUTER radio button then click on APPY and on OK