1. Insert the Windows Server 2008 installation media (bootable DVD / USB) into your DVD drive or USB port.
2. Reboot the computer.
3. When prompted for an installation language and other regional options, make your selection and press Next.
4. Next, press Install Now to begin the installation process.
5. Product activation is now also identical with that found in Windows Vista. Enter your Product Key in the next window, and if you want to automatically activate Windows the moment the installation finishes, click Next.
If you do not have the Product Key available right now, you can leave the box empty, and click Next. You will need to provide the Product Key later, after the server installation is over. Press No.
7. If you did provide the right Product key, select the Full version of the right Windows version you’re prompted, and click Next.
8. Read and accept the license terms by clicking to select the checkbox and pressing Next.
9. In the “Which type of installation do you want?” window, click the only available option – Custom (Advanced).
10. In the “Where do you want to install Windows?”, if you’re installing the server on a regular IDE hard disk, click to select the first disk, usually Disk 0, and click Next.
If you’re installing on a hard disk that’s connected to a SCSI controller, click Load Driver and insert the media provided by the controller’s manufacturer.
If you must, you can also click Drive Options and manually create a partition on the destination hard disk.
11. The installation now begins, and you can go and have lunch. Copying the setup files from the DVD to the hard drive only takes about one minute. However, extracting and uncompressing the files takes a good deal longer. After 20 minutes, the operating system is installed. The exact time it takes to install server core depends upon your hardware specifications. Faster disks will perform much faster installs… Windows Server 2008 takes up approximately 10 GB of hard drive space.
The installation process will reboot your computer, so, if in step #10 you inserted a floppy disk (either real or virtual), make sure you remove it before going to lunch, as you’ll find the server hanged without the ability to boot (you can bypass this by configuring the server to boot from a CD/DVD and then from the hard disk in the booting order on the server’s BIOS)
12. Then the server reboots you’ll be prompted with the new Windows Server 2008 type of login screen. Press CTRL+ALT+DELto log in.
13. Click on Other User.
14. The default Administrator is blank, so just type Administrator and press Enter.
15. You will be prompted to change the user’s password. You have no choice but to press Ok.
16. In the password changing dialog box, leave the default password blank (duh, read step #15…), and enter a new, complex, at-least-7-characters-long new password twice. A password like “topsecret” is not valid (it’s not complex), but one like “T0pSecreT!” sure is. Make sure you remember it.
17. Someone thought it would be cool to nag you once more, so now you’ll be prompted to accept the fact that the password had been changed. Press Ok.
18. Finally, the desktop appears and that’s it, you’re logged on and can begin working. You will be greeted by an assistant for the initial server configuration, and after performing some initial configuration tasks, you will be able to start working.