Windows Small Business Server 2011 essentials must be a domain controller!

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Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 essentials is a very nice server solution for small businesses.  At the core it is Server 2008 R2 with essential add-ons that are set to install and be configured at installation.  Server 2011 sbs grants 25 licenses automatically which makes it very appealing considering that the price tag is much lower than Server 2008 R2 or Server 2012.

Please do note that SBS server is designed to be installed as a stand alone ( one stop shop) server for small Business networks with up to 25 pc’s.

If you attempt to install Small Business Server in your environment it must be configured to be the Domain Controller.

If you do not install and configure the SBS 2011 essentials as the domain controller the computer will crash with an installation error on start up. The only way to continue on to the operating system is Ctrl+Alt+Del and terminating the installation process.

This action will allow you to get into the operating system and install programs and add it to the network with file sharing and limited functionality.

wpid-dsc_0089.jpgWhich would have some people limping along and thinking they have found a nasty work around. But that is where the fun starts.

If you run SBS 2011 essentials this way it will run a DNS network check at the same time once a week and when it sees that it is not the Domain Controller it will SHUT COMPLETELY DOWN.

I hope this post helps anyone looking to implement SBS essentials 2011 in a business environment.

Moral of the story: Install SBS essentials as the Domain Controller or plan on showing up once a week to boot the machine.




Sterling Atkinson

Technologist, IT Director, Communicator. I have served as an IT professional since 2000. My first computer job was working for Creative Labs, Inc. supporting Sound Blaster Live! and other products. I have owned my own technology consulting firm and have been employed full time as the IT Director since 2006. I write for as a way of collaborating with others, documenting challenges and projects and promoting my career as an IT professional. I come from a belief that IT is as much a science as it is an art. Taking a project from conception to completion takes an array of skills which includes critical and creative thinking as well as excellent communications skills. It is my goal to constantly shape and refine these skills and help others develop and improve their skills.

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1 Comment

  1. Martin Lehner June 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Interesting, I didn’t realize you could ‘end task’ the process and force a boot into the OS. Obviously not a good idea because of the auto-shutdown, but still interesting none the less. Great write-up!

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