In order to achieve this firstly follow the instructions for installing a role and select the Active Directory Domain Services role. Once the installation is complete there will be an option to Promote this server to a domain controller below the progress bar. Select this and follow the instructions below.

1. Select the option to Add a new forest (if this is your first or only Windows Server), type in your domain name, and click Next. Note, Domain names should be simple without any special characters. Include a `local’. Eg mydomain.local. You can avail Dell PowerEdge Rack & Tower Servers in your needs.

2. On the Domain Controller Options Screen: 

  • Leave the Forest Functional Level, Domain Functional Level, and domain controller capabilities as the default options.
  • Enter a DRSM password. Keep this safe as you will need it in the event of an emergency. 
  • Click Next.

3. On the DNS options screen ignore the warning, leave the tick box unchecked and click Next 4. On the Paths screen leave the default settings and click Next
5. Click Next on review options.
6. The server will now check the prerequisites. There may be a few warnings but these should be ok as long as you have the option to click Install. Review and click Install.
7. The server will reboot once the install completes and you can then sign in to your new domain.

You can check that it has installed correctly by opening the Server Manager and ensuring the AD DS role is listed. You can also go to ‘Tools’ at the top right of the Server Manager Screen and open Active Directory Users and Computers from there.

Active Directory users and computers

Active Directory is used to store and group user accounts, computers attached to the domain, and other peripherals such as printers, these are known as objects. The objects are stored in folders known as Organisational Units. For example, you may have 4 organizational units such as Staff Computers, Student Computers, Staff Accounts, and Student Accounts. Different settings and rules can then be applied to different organizational units.

Groups can also be created and objects can be added to the Group. An example where this would be used is for shared folder security. Within the Student organizational unit, groups could be setup up such as ‘Year 1’, ‘Year 2’, and ‘Year 3’. Shared folders can then be configured that only allow specific groups access to them. You may, for example, have a folder called ‘Year 1 documents’ that you share with the group ‘Year V. This way only user accounts that are members of the ‘Year 1’ Group can access the ‘Year 1 documents’ folder.

In this example, we will create an Organisational Unit (OU) and name it ‘Office Staff’. We will then add a user object to this OU. Lastly, we shall create a Group called ‘Office Staff Shared folder security group’ and add the user to this Group.

Create an Organisational Unit

1. From Server Manager select Tools from the top right and scroll down to Active Di-rectory Users and Computers.

2. Click the domain name in the top left to expand the drop-down menu and view the Organisational Units.

3. Right-click the domain name and go to New to open the sub-menu and select Or-ganisational Unit.

4. Name the OU ‘Office Staff’ and remove the tick to Prevent Container from Accidental Deletion. Only remove this tick if you are following along for learning purposes and wish to remove the OU at a later date. The best practice is to leave this box checked. Click OK.

Create a user or Object within your OU

1. Right-click the newly created OU. Scroll to New and select User from the sub-menu.
2. Enter a name and a user login name. Click Next.
3. Create and confirm the password for the user. Select the options in the tick boxes that best suit your organization. Click Next and Finish.

Create a Group

1. Right-click the newly created OU. Scroll to New and select Group from the sub-menu.
2. Name the group ‘Office Staff Shared folder security group’ or something relevant.
3. Select Global for the group scope and Security for the group type if not already default. Click OK.

Add a member to the Group 

1. Open the Group Properties page by double-clicking the group or right-click and select Properties.
2. Click the Members tab.
3. Click Add.
4. Enter the User’s name that was created earlier and click Check Names. Once the name is underlined indicating that it has been located click ok.

In this tutorial, we have created an OU, a Group, and a User Object. Bear in mind that as you add more to Active Directory (AD) it can rapidly become very untidy. Create a structured plan of how you wish to organize it. Individual preference usually dictates how your AD is organized but the tips below may help.

  • Use separate OUs for different types of Ob-jects. For example, ensure Users are stored in a different OU to Computers. 
  • Create a separate OU for Groups. That way they are easy to locate and don’t get lost in a huge list of Users. 
  • Remember that OUs are just like folders and OUs can be created within other OUs. Using a school as an example you could have the OUs ‘Office Staff’, ‘Teaching Staff’, `Teaching Assistants’, and ‘Management’ all within the OU ‘School Staff’.

User Profiles

In order to understand what settings are required for your user accounts, it is important to understand the different types of user-profiles and their purposes.

In basic terms, a user profile is a folder containing a user’s personal files and settings. Every user that logs on will have their own individual profile containing things like desktop icons, internet favorites, and their files and documents.

There are 3 types of Windows profiles for you to consider when implementing a Windows network. Local Profiles, roaming profiles, and mandatory profiles. 

Local Profiles

Local profiles are created and stored directly to the computer and are the default setting in Win-dows. You will have likely used this type of profile many times when logging onto a home Windows computer.

As the settings and documents are stored locally they can be accessed when disconnected from the network and any network issues will not affect a user’s ability to log in and access their documents. 

Local profiles are specific to the computer so if the same user logged onto another computer the set-tings and documents would not be available.

Local profiles would typically be used where the same user is logging onto and using the same computer on a regular basis. For example, an office worker may be the sole user of a computer at their desk. Another example would be a user that requires access to their computer when it is not attached to the network such as a laptop that some-one takes home.

Roaming Profiles

Roaming profiles are created on the server in Active Directory. When a user is logged on with a roaming profile and saves a file to their Documents folder it appears to the user as if they are saving to the computer on which they are logged on. How-ever, the Documents folder is actually located on the server and this is where the file will be stored. This way when the user logs off and logs back onto another computer within the domain the same file will be accessible in their Documents folder.

Roaming profiles allow the user to login to any computer within the domain with the same set-tings, features, and access capability regardless of which computer they use. It is primarily used so that whatever computer the user logs into, they get the same desktop, mapped drives and saved documents.

Roaming profiles are extremely useful in situations where a number of users require access to computers and their files but they do not have access to the same computer each time. For example, imagine a school situation where different groups or classes intermittently use a computer suite. A roaming profile would mean that any stu-dent could log on to any of the computers and be presented with the same desktop experience.

When a user logs on with a roaming profile the profile is copied from the server to the user’s com-puter and when they log off the profile is copied back to the server. This can become a drawback as it can increase network latency as profile sizes grow.

As more or larger files are saved by the user login times will increase. The solution is to use folder redirection. Folder redirection allows the admin-istrator to specify folders that are not to be copied across during the login process. The folder and files remain on the server but appear to the user as though they are stored on the computer they are using. 

I would recommend using folder redirection as it will significantly improve log on and log off times. Instructions are provided in the section ‘Set rules for users and computers in group policy’ as folder redirection is configured in Group Policy Management.

Mandatory Profile

A mandatory profile is similar to a roaming profile. However, it prevents users from making any changes to settings or from saving anything. This is because the profile is copied to the computer during the login process but it is not copied back to the server when the user logs of An example where this might be used is with a guest or temporary account. You may wish to provide a user internet access only for example. The easiest way to create a mandatory profile is to create an Active Directory User object and apply rules to it using Group Policy Management.

Group Policy Management The Group Policy Management role requires installation. Follow the tutorial on Installing Roles and Features on Windows Server and select the Group Policy Management Role.

Group Policy Management primarily allows you to manage settings for users and computers that are within the domain. When a setting, or group of settings, are configured in Group Policy Manage-ment they are called a Group Policy Object or GPO. Note that more than one setting can be configured within a single GPO.

Group Policy Management automatically syn-chronises with Active Directory and will display the Organisational Units created. GPO’s can then be applied to specific Organisational Units. Note that a GPO cannot be applied to single Active Directory Objects.

Imagine a scenario where you have a number of computers in a specific location or room. Within that room is a single printer and you would like these computers only to connect to that printer. The computers could be placed in their own Organ-isational Unit within Active Directory. A GPO could then be created to install the printer and the GPO could then be applied to their Organisational Unit. 

In this tutorial, we shall create a GPO that spec-ifies how much time must elapse before the screen saver is launched. We shall then apply the GPO to the OU that we created in the previous article.

1. Once the installation is complete open Group Policy Management.
2. In the left pane click the domain name and open the drop-down list.
3. Right-click Group Policy Objects and se-lect New. The New GPO window will open.
4. Give the GPO a suitable name such as `Screen saver timeout’.
5. Click the arrow to the left of Group Policy Objects to expand the drop-down list and browse to the GPO that you just named.
6. Right-click the GPO and select edit to open the Group Policy Management Editor Window. This is where various settings can be configured for your GPO.
7. By expanding the drop-down lists in the left pane navigate to User Configuration I Policies I Administrative Templates I Control Panel I Personalisation.
8. In the right pane double click Screen saver timeout to open the settings page.
9. Click Enabled and set the number of seconds to your desired duration, eg 900 seconds for 15 minutes.
10. Click Apply, click Ok and close the Group Policy Management Editor window. 

The GPO has now been created and can now be applied to Organisational Units. To do this follow the steps below.

1. In the left pane of the Group, Policy Management click the domain name and open the drop-down list.
2. Locate the Organisational Unit to which you would like to apply the GPO.
3. Right-click the Organisational Unit and select Link an Existing GPO…
4. Select the Group Policy Object that you would like to apply by its name eg ‘Screen saver timeout’.
5. Click Ok.

As you may have already noticed there are a huge number of potential settings that can be config-ured in Group Policy Management. It is beyond the scope of this article to list and explain every setting and their uses. I would advise you to familiarise yourself with Group Policy by browsing through the settings and getting to know how they are organised.

The easiest way to implement them is to list what you would like to achieve such as; prevent access to C drive; Map a shared folder; Force the web browser to open with a specific web page; prevent access to Control Panel. If you can’t find them in Group Policy Management go on to utilize a search engine as the solution will almost certainly be on the web. For example, the search ‘prevent access to C drive using group policy management’ will highly likely provide you with instructions on where to find the settings to create the correct GPO.

Implementing Folder Redirection

Folder redirection can significantly improve system performance and login speeds. See the previous article for further information on user profiles and folder redirection. 

Follow the steps below to configure folder redirection. Firstly we need to create a shared folder on the server so that User files can be stored and retrieved from it.

1. Open a root drive on the server by clicking the File Explorer on the taskbar. Select the root drive where you would like the data to be stored by double-clicking it. Note that a root drive is the uppermost drive of a partition. If you do not have any partitions then it will be C drive.
2. Select the Home tab at the top of the pane and click New Folder.
3. Name the folder appropriately such as `Folder Redir’ and press enter.
4. Right-click the folder, click Share with and then click Specific people.
5. In the File Sharing box click the drop-down arrow and select Everyone, then click Add.
6. Click the drop-down arrow for the Every-one group and select Read/Write.
7. Click Share and then click Done.

We now need to create a GPO to redirect the folders.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Group Policy Management.
2. In the left navigation pane right-click Group Policy Objects and select New.
3. In the New GPO box input a name such as `Folder Redirection’ and click Ok.
4. In the navigation pane right click your newly created GPO and select Edit.
5. In the Group Policy Management Editor window navigate to User Configuration I Policies I Windows Settings I Folder Redirection.
6. Right-click Documents and select Proper-ties.
7. In the Document Properties box, on the Target tab, click the Setting drop-down arrow, and then select Basic-Redirect ev-eryone’s folder to the same location.
8. In the Target folder location box select Create a folder for each user under the root path.
9. In the Root Path text box you need to enter the server name and the shared folder cre-ated earlier. For example, \ \ myservername \my shared folder.
10. Click Yes in the warning box.

The Folder Redirection GPO can now be applied to the OUs. 

Installing Software on Computers Using Group Policy Management 

Group policy management along with Active Directory enables you to deploy software packages from the server. In an environment that has a large number of devices, it is extremely useful as it means that you do not have to install the software locally on each PC. The software can also be removed via Group Policy management.

 In order to achieve this, a specific type of install file is required. Usually, an install file will be a 4.exe). For this task a 4.msi’ file type is needed. You may need to check with the software supplier that this type of file is available.

To enable the computers to access the MSI file it must first be copied to a shared folder on the server. Read \Write permissions for the correct Active Directory user group must be set. See the article Shared Folders and Mapped Drives for instructions on how to set up a shared folder and assign permissions for a group. When selecting an Active Directory group for this purpose the group Authen-ticated users will suffice. Authenticated Users is a group automatically created and applies to any user that has successfully logged on to a computer connected to the domain. Another option is to create an AD group and ensure that all the computers that you want to deploy to are added to the group.

Once the folder has been shared we can create the GPO.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Group Policy Management.
2. In the left navigation pane right-click Group Policy Objects and select New.
3. Give the GPO an appropriate name and click Ok.
4. In the navigation pane right click your newly created GPO and select Edit.
5. In the Group Policy Management Editor window navigate to Computer Configura-tion I Policies I Software Settings.
6. Right-click Software installation. Navi-gate to New and select Package.
7. Enter the path and name of the install file in the following format \ \ servername \ sharedFolder\filename.msi
8. Select the deployment method: 

  • Published – Makes the package available for the user to install and should be ap-plied to a user OU. 
  • Assigned – Will install the package on computer start-up and should be applied to a computer OU. 

9. Click OK and apply the GPO to the OU -Right Click the OU and select Link an Ex-isting GPO. 


Within a home network, these settings largely go unnoticed as they are managed automatically by the router. Within a larger network, it is essen-tial that these settings are configured correctly. Networks large enough to use AD should consider configuring these settings on the server to allow for centralised troubleshooting, management, and integration with AD.


DNS stands for Domain Name Service and is pri-marily used to link hostnames that are meaningful to users, such as to an IP address. Computers only understand IP addresses and it would be tricky for us to remember or recognise lists of IP addresses. As such DNS is used to translate between the two.

When installed on a windows server, DNS uses a database or file to list domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. When a user types in a domain name or URL into a web browser the browser will attempt to match the domain name to an IP address.

Firstly the browser will check the computer’s own cache and hosts file. If no record is found it will query the DNS server. The DNS server will then provide the client with the IP address so that the browser can contact the web server. If the DNS server does not know, it will query another DNS server and store the new information in its list. In this example, we have focused on opening a web page. A similar series of events are usually followed when requesting access to resources on the local network or Active Directory, with the only differ-ence that the local DNS server is aware of all internal hosts and domains.

DNS servers can perform forward or reverse lookup. Forward DNS lookup is used to convert the domain name to an IP address, reverse DNS lookup works in reverse, converting IP addresses to domain names. Forward lookup is commonly used for web and service access. Usually, reverse DNS lookup is only used for network troubleshooting.

Setup and Configure DNS on Windows Server

To utilise this feature, the DNS Server role requires installation. Follow the tutorial on Installing Roles and Features on Windows Server and select the DNS Server role. Note that there is an option to install this role on the installation of Active Direc-tory Users and Computers so you may already have it installed. Open server manager to see if it is avail-able before proceeding with the installation.

In order to complete the configuration, you may need to contact your internet service provider (ISP) for the IP address of their DNS server and your net-work ID.

1. Within Server Manager click the tools menu and select DNS.
2. Open the Configure DNS Server Wizard by right-clicking the server name in the left navigation pane and select Configure a DNS Server….
3. The next page has 3 options

  • Create a forward lookup zone – This enables the standard function of resolv-ing names to IP addresses. 
  • Create forward and reverse lookup zones – In addition to the standard function, it also enables the function to resolve IP addresses to names. This can be useful when troubleshooting and is the option that I would recommend for most networks. 
  • Configure root hints only – This will not create a database of name records for lookups, but rather will just have the IP addresses of other DNS servers where records can be found. I would not recom-mend this option unless you fully under-stand it. 

4. On the following page select Yes, create a forward lookup zone now and click Next.
5. The next page has 3 options. If this is your 1 and only DNS server select Primary Zone. Click Next.
6. On the next page enter a zone name followed by ‘local’. eg myzone.local. Click Next.
7. Name the zone file. I would advise leaving this as the default setting provided. Click Next.
8. Select Do not allow dynamic updates and click Next.
9. Select Yes, create a reverse lookup zone now. Click Next.
10. Select the Primary zone and click Next.
11. Select IPv4 reverse lookup zone and click Next.
12. Enter the network ID. If you do not this then your ISP may be able to assist. Also, check the IP address of the server or other devices for clues if the network is up and running.
13. Name the zone file. I would advise leav-ing this as the default setting provided. Click Next. 14. Select Do not allow dynamic updates and click Next.
15. Enter your ISP name servers, or use a DNS provider such as OpenDNS. If possible enter more than one server listed in case a DNS server is unreachable for some reason. The order forwarders are listed in is the order they are tried, so place your faster and most reliable forwarder at the top of the list. Forwarders are used if your DNS server ever gets a query for which it has no record, it can forward that request on to another DNS server to see if it has the answer.
16. Click Next and Finish. The DNS server is configured and ready to use. 

DHCP DHCP stands for dynamic host configuration protocol. In order for computers to access the net-work and the internet, an IP address is required.

DHCP is used to provide IP addresses to clients au-tomatically as opposed to entering an IP address on each device manually.

The DHCP role running on a server provides centralised easy to manage flexibility for tasks that may be more difficult to administer if using a network router or switch for DHCP. DHCP also provides the client with additional IP addresses such as a subnet mask, DNS server, and the default gate-way address. In addition to providing IP addresses, the DHCP role can be used for other tasks such as reserving IP addresses for specific devices including servers and printers.

DHCP Configuration

In order to utilise this feature, the DHCP Server role requires installation. Follow the tutorial on In-stalling Roles and Features on Windows Server and select the DHCP Server role.

You will require the network IP address range, subnet mask and the IP address of the default gate-way (router). If you do not know these your ISP may be able to assist you.

1 of the 3 IP address range classes shown below will likely apply depending on the size of your or-ganisation and the configuration of the network. 

Class IP Address Range Subnet Mask Mask Length A to 8 B to 12 C to 16 

In this example, we will use a class A IP address range. We shall designate the first 200 available IP addresses for DHCP. We shall then reserve the first 30 addresses from DHCP for devices such as servers, printers, and routers that require a static IP address. We shall use a default gateway or router address of

Note that there is more than 1 method for excluding IP addresses from the DHCP scope. They can be omitted from the scope specified for DHCP or addresses within the scope can be reserved. Also, note that a Scope is simply a range of IP addresses.

1. Within Server Manager click the tools menu and select DHCP.
2. In the left pane select and right-click the name of the server and select Authorize.
3. Right-click the server name again and select Refresh. The icons next to IPv4 and IPv6 will change to green.
4. Select and right-click IPv4 and select New Scope.
5. Click Next on the welcome page.
6. Enter a scope name and click Next.
7. If you are following the example enter a start IP address of and an end IP address of Enter Length: 8 and Subnet Mask Click Next
8. On the Add Exclusions and Delay page enter a start IP address of and End IP address to exclude the first 30 address from DHCP. Click Add. Leave the subnet delay in millisecond as 0 if this is your only DHCP server. Click Next.
9. Review the default lease duration limit which should suffice in most cases and click Next. This is the length of time that a client will be given an IP address.
10. Click Yes, I want to configure these options now on the Configure DHCP options page and click Next.
11. On the Router (Default Gateway) page enter the IP address. In some cases, this will be the first usable address in the network so in this example we will use Click Next.
12. On the following page if you have config-ured the DNS server the IP address should already be listed under the IP address col-umn. Check the address and click Next.
13. Click Next on the WINS Server page. This is for older Windows versions and should not be required.
14. On the next window select Yes, I want to activate this scope now and click Next.
15. Click Finish. 16. Right-click the server name in the left pane and click refresh.

In the left pane under the server name and IPv4 the newly create scope should be listed. The options previously set can easily be modified by right-click-ing the scope and selecting properties.

Click the drop-down list to show the available settings. 

  • Address Pool – The IP addresses available for leasing will be displayed here along with any exclusions that have been set. Addi-tional exclusions can be added by right-clicking Address Pool and select New Exclusion Range. 
  • Address Leases – Displayed here are the clients that have been assigned an IP clients that have been assigned an IP address by the server. The client can be assigned/reserved an IP address by right-clicking it and selecting Add to Reserva-tion. Clients can also be added to a filter to deny them access in the future by right-clicking the client and selecting Add to filter. The lease can also be deleted if required. 
  • Reservations – Listed here are the clients and their IP addresses that have been re-served as above. Reservations can be made from here if you have the device’s MAC address.
  • Scope Options – The settings that are ap-plied to the clients from this scope. If you have a very large environment you may have more than 1 scope.
  • Policies – Rules can be applied to types of users or clients for example.

You are now ready to configure the clients for DHCP.

Shared Folders and Mapped Drives

Shared folders are usually located on a server and provide a central location for users to access files and documents. Along with Active Directory, you can control which users can and cannot access spe-cific shared folders. Mapped drives allow the user to access the shared folder as if it were a locally in-stalled drive.

In this example, we will create a shared folder and share it with an Active Directory group. We shall then provide access to the shared folder by creating a GPO in Group Policy Editor that maps a drive on the client machine.

In order to share folders, the File Server role is required which is installed by default on Windows Server 2016.

Firstly we will create a shared folder and allow an Active Directory group to read and write to the folder.

1. Open file explorer and navigate to the drive or folder that you would like to store the shared folder.
2. Select the Home tab at the top of the pane and click New Folder.
3. Name the folder appropriately and press enter.
4. Right-click the folder, click Share with and then click Specific people.
5. In the File Sharing box type the name of the Active Directory group that you would like to grant access, then click Add.
6. Click the drop-down arrow for the group and select Read/Write.
7. Click Share and then click Done. 

Shared folders can also be created via Server Manager. Navigated to Server Manager I File and Storage Services I Shares. Click the drop-down arrow next to Tasks, select New Share and follow the wizard.

We shall now create a GPO to install the mapped drive.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Group Policy Management.
2. In the left navigation pane right-click Group Policy Objects and select New.
3. In the New GPO box input an appropriate name and click Ok.
4. In the navigation pane right click your newly created GPO and select Edit.
5. In the Group Policy Management Editor window navigate to User Configuration I Preferences I Windows Settings I Drive Maps.
6. In the Drive Maps pane right click in the white area and select New and select Mapped Drive. 7. In the New Drive Properties window:

  • In the Action dropdown list select Create. Enter the location of the shared folder in the following format \ \ servername \ shared folder name. To find the location navigate to the shared folder, right-click it, select properties, click the Sharing tab and the location will be displayed under Network Path. 
  • In the Label as box you can enter the name. This is the name that will appear on the client. You can leave this empty and the folder name will be used as default if you prefer. 
  • Select Use in the Drive Letter box and specify a drive letter. Avoid using C, D or anything else that is likely to be in use.

8. Click Apply and click Ok. 

The GPO can now be applied to an Organisation Unit.

1. Locate the Organisational Unit to which you would like to apply the GPO within Group Policy Management.
2. Right-click the Organisational Unit and select Link an Existing GPO….
3. Select the Group Policy Object that you would like to apply.
4. Click Ok.

Shared Printers Windows server enables you to set up and con-figure printers that can then be shared. This allows for centralised management and troubleshooting. Once a printer has been shared it can be accessed by multiple clients across the network. For this tutorial, I have made 2 assumptions. The first assumption is that a printer capable of connecting to your local network is to be installed. Nearly all modern printers have the ability to con-nect to a network. The second assumption is that you have the necessary drivers for the printer. The drivers may have been provided with the printer on a disk or may be available to download online. Consult your printer documentation if you are unsure.

In order to utilise this feature, the Print Server role requires installation. Follow the tutorial on Installing Roles and Features on Windows Server and select the Print Server role. Note that this role is a sub-role of Print and Document Services. On the server roles page, you first need to select Print and Document Services. Following this, you can select the Print Server role for installation.

I would highly recommend using a static IP address for the printer. This can be done one of two ways. DHCP can be used to provide the printer with an IP address which can then be reserved using the DHCP server role. Or, an IP address can be manually entered into the printer using a valid IP address that has been excluded from your DHCP scope. Whichever method you decide to use make a note of the IP address and ensure that the IP address is either reserved or excluded from your DHCP scope.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Print Management.
2. In the left navigation pane under Print Servers right-click the server name and select Add Printer to open the Printer In-stallation Wizard.
3. As we are installing a network printer select Add a TCP/IP or Web Services Printer by IP address or hostname. Click Next.
4. In the Hostname or IP address textbox enter the IP address of the printer. Click Next.
5. The server will attempt to locate the printer and search for the appropriate drivers. If the drivers are not found select Install a new driver, click Next and select Have Disk. Browse to the driver location and select the .inf file after you have extracted it from the zipped folder.
6. If the correct drivers have been found, en-sure the printer name matches the make/ model of your printer.
7. I would advise renaming the printer to something shorter and more meaningful. Eg `Colour-ITsuite’. Click Next and the Server will install the driver.
8. Ensure that the option to Share the printer is selected and enter a share name for the printer. Again, I would suggest something short and meaningful.
9. Click Next and click Finish. 

Group policy can now be configured to share the printer with clients.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Group Policy Management.
2. In the left navigation pane right-click Group Policy Objects and select New.
3. In the New GPO box input an appropriate name, such as the name of the printer, and click Ok.
4. In the navigation pane right click your newly created GPO and select Edit.
5. In the Group Policy Management Editor window navigate to Computer Configu-ration I Policies I Windows Settings I Deployed Printers.
6. Right-click and select Deploy Printer.
7. Enter the shared path to the printer eg \ \ servername\ printer and click Add. Click OK.

The GPO can now be applied to an Organisation Unit. 

1. Locate the Organisational Unit to which you would like to apply the GPO within Group Policy Management.
2. Right-click the Organisational Unit and select Link an Existing GPO….
3. Select the Group Policy Object that you would like to apply.
4. Click Ok. 

Updating Computers Using WSUS

WSUS stands for Windows Server Update Ser-vices and enables you to manage computer updates and hotfixes centrally from your Windows server. The advantages of using WSUS are that you are able to control what gets updated and when; you can check which devices need updating and investigate any issues; you can choose the correct updates for your software; and it reduces internet bandwidth usage as only 1 instance of the update will need to be downloaded from the Microsoft Servers rather than every computer on the network using the in-ternet to download the same file.

In order to utilise this feature, the Windows Server Update Services role requires installation. Follow the tutorial on Installing Roles and Features on Windows Server and select the Windows Server Update Services role. Prior to the installation, you will be presented with the following options. 

  • WID Connectivity – this stores the WSUS database on the same server that you are installing the WSUS role. Choose this option if this is your only server. 
  • WSUS Services – Ensure this is selected. 
  • SQL Server Connectivity – select this option if you have an additional server running an SQL database for WSUS. 

In the next window of the role installation wiz-ard, you will be required to enter a file path for the WSUS files and database. This folder can grow in size quite rapidly. If possible avoid using the same drive as the Operating system (C:). Enter a local file path with an available drive or partition and a suit-able folder name such as F:\WSUS Files.

Leave the role services options required for this role as the default settings. Once the installation has completed follow the steps below to configure WSUS. We shall then go onto creating a GPO to en-able WSUS on the client computers.

1. Start the WSUS Configuration Wizard by selecting Tools and Windows Server Up-date Services from Server Manager. Click Next.
2. Uncheck Yes, I would like to join the Mi-crosoft Update Improvement Program. Click Next.
3. If this is your first or only server select Synchronize from Microsoft Update and click Next.
4. Ensure that you have internet connectiv-ity, click Start Connecting and click Next.
5. Select ONLY the language or languages that you require updates for. Selecting all languages will require a lot of disk space. Click Next.
6. Select the products that you would like to support. Browse the options and choose the relevant products to your environ-ment. Again I would not recommend se-lecting everything. Click Next.
7. On the update classifications page select the desired options. If you are unsure as to what to choose, leave the default options and click Next.
8. Choose Synchronise automatically and enter a time such as during the night when there are fewer users. 1 synchronisation per day should suffice in most cases. Click Next.
9. Check Begin initial synchronization. Click Finish.
10. The WSUS console now opens.

In the WSUS console, select your server to view the options in the drop-down menu.

  • Updates – A view of updates available for install and updates can be approved or declined from here (see below). 
  • Computers – A list of the computers added to WSUS console. 
  • Downstream Servers – A list of any other servers configured for WSUS. In a single server environment, this will be empty. 
  • Synchronisations – View the Synchroniza-tion Status from the Microsoft servers. Ensure that the synchronisation was successful. 
  • Reports – Check the update status of the computers with various reports. 
  • Options – Change settings made in the ini-tial WSUS deployment.

Prior to updates being downloaded, they require Approval in WSUS Console. Navigate to Updates -> All Updates. In the right pane select the updates, right-click and select Approve. 

We shall now create a GPO in order to configure the WSUS settings on the client computers. 1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Group Policy Management. 

the options in the drop-down menu. Updates – A view of updates available for install and updates can be approved or declined from here (see below). Computers – A list of the computers added to WSUS console. Downstream Servers – A list of any other servers configured for WSUS. In a single server environment, this will be empty. Synchronisations – View the Synchroniza-tion Status from the Microsoft servers. Ensure that the synchronisation was successful. Reports – Check the update status of the computers with various reports. Options – Change settings made in the ini-tial WSUS deployment. 

Prior to updates being downloaded, they require Approval in WSUS Console. Navigate to Updates -> All Updates. In the right pane select the updates, right-click and select Approve. 

We shall now create a GPO in order to configure the WSUS settings on the client computers.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Group Policy Management.
2. In the left navigation pane right-click Group Policy Objects and select New.
3. In the New GPO box input an appropriate name, such as WSUS Settings’, and click Ok.
4. In the navigation pane right click your newly created GPO and select Edit.
5. In the Group Policy Management Editor window navigate to Computer Configu-ration I Policies I Administrative Tem-plates I Windows Components I Windows Update.
6. In the right pane double click to configure the following settings. Some of the options for the settings below are suggested for the purpose of this tutorial. Options shown can be changed to your own prefer-ence. Read the settings description for fur-ther information.

a. Configure Automatic Updates -Select Enabled. Set Configure automatic updating to 4 – Auto download and schedule the in-stall. Set Scheduled install day to 0 – Everyday. Set Scheduled install time to your preferred time. Click Apply and click OK.
b. Enable client-side targeting – Se-lect Enabled. In the Target group name for this computer enter the text ‘All Computers’. Click Apply and click OK.
c. Specify intranet Microsoft update service location – Click Enabled and in all the boxes enter the server location in the following format replacing ‘server name’ with your server. http:// servername:8 5 30 Click Apply and click OK.
d. These are the minimum settings required to enable WSUS. Check the other settings to see if your en-vironment would benefit if they were applied.

7. The GPO can now be applied to the desired OU.

I would recommend periodically running the Server Cleanup Wizard. This can be found within the Options menu in WSUS console. 

Backing up your Server

For the purpose of this article, we shall be focusing on the Windows Server Backup feature that is provided at no extra cost with modern versions of the Windows Server Operating System. It can be used to backup the full server, the system state, selected storage volumes or specific files or folders.

There are numerous 3rd party software solu-tions to backup your server in addition to cloud-based solutions. Third-party software may include additional features not included with Windows Server Backup. You may wish to research this option further and some of the more popular choices include:

• Symantec Backup Exec
• Acronis Backup and Restore
• Carbonite
• ShadowProtect
• Backup Assist
• MozyPro
• Veeam 

You may wish to perform both third-party soft-ware and windows server backups alternatively for additional peace of mind. 

Backup data needs to either be sent to an external hard drive connected via a USB cable, local network attached storage (NAS) or cloud storage offsite via the internet. The choice depends on the type and amount of data to be backed up, the budget and your personal preference. Where proprietary or sensitive information is an issue, local storage on external hard drives or NAS is the most secure and usually more cost effective depending on the amount of data. Cloud services usually require a subscription fee but often provide more flexibility and less manual administration.

I would recommend encrypting any external hard drives used for backing up. Windows Bit-Locker can be used to encrypt volumes and drives and is available on Windows 10 and modern win-dows server software.

Windows Backup Server feature requires instal-lation. Follow the tutorial on Installing Roles and Features on Windows Server, select the Windows Deployment Services role and select the Windows Server Backup feature.

Backups can either be run manually at a time of your own choosing or you can set a schedule to run at a specific time on a recurring basis. This guide demonstrates how to perform a single manual backup. However, if you wish to schedule a backup simply select Backup Schedule in the Actions pane rather than Backup Once as described below.

1. Open Server Manager, Click tools and select Windows Server Backup.
2. From the Actions pane on the right-hand side, click Backup Once. This opens the Backup Once Wizard.
3. On the Backup Options page, click Differ-ent options. Click Next.
4. In the Select Backup Configuration page, click Custom and click Next.
5. On the Select Items for Backup page, click Add Items.
6. In Select Items, click the check boxes for the items that you want to back up. To back up just certain folders or files, expand the folder tree and select the items that you want to include. Ensure that you exclude the device that you wish to store the backup on. Click OK.
7. On the Specify Destination Type page, click Local drives. Click Next.
8. On the Select Backup Destination page, select the volume from the drop-down list that you want to use to store the backup. Ensure that it has enough free space.
9. On the Confirmation page, review and click Backup. The wizard prepares the backup set and checks the volume.
10. On the Backup Progress page, you can view the status of the backup 


Follow the steps below to create a local user account.

1. In the search box on the taskbar type settings and select Settings from the results to open Windows Settings.
2. Select Accounts.
3. On the left of the page select Other people.
4. Select the + sign to Add someone else to this PC.
5. Select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
6. Select Add a user without a Microsoft Account.
7. Enter the username, password and security information for the user and click Next.
8. The account will now be listed and can be switched to a local administrator account if required by clicking the account name and selecting Change account type.

The user can now log in to the PC with a local profile and the PC can still access domain services as it is connected to the domain. At the login screen enter the computer name followed by a backslash and the username.

Mapping a Drive to a Shared Folder

Mapped drives allow the user to access the shared folder as if it were a locally installed drive. The two most common methods of configuring a mapped drive are via Group Policy or locally from the PC. Ensure that the user has the correct access privileges set in Active Directory in order to access the shared folder.

See the article Shared Folders and Mapped Drives in the Server section of this article for further information on configuring shared folders and mapped drives.

To install a mapped drive to a shared folder from the PC follow the steps below.

1. Click File Explorer in the taskbar.
2. In the left pane click This PC.
3. At the top of the window click the Com-puter tab to open the menu options.
4. Click Map network drive to open the map network drive configuration window.
5. Select a drive letter from the drop-down list and enter the shared folder name and location in the following format \ \ server-name\ shared folder name.
6. Click finish.

The shared folder will then open and will be listed on the computer as a network drive.

Installing a shared printer

As with mapped drives shared printers can also be configured via the server through group policy or from individual computers.

See the Shared Printers in the Server section of this article for information on setting up and config-uring shared printers.

To install and connect to a shared printer from a PC follow the steps below.

1. Click in the search box on the taskbar and search for Control Panel, press enter to open the control panel.
2. Ensure that the View by drop-down list towards the upper right is set to Category.
3. Click View devices and printers located below the Hardware and sound category.
4. Click Add a printer located towards the upper left.
5. Click The printer that I want is not listed located below the progress bar. 6. Choose Select a shared printer by name and enter the share name of the printer in the following format \ \ servername\ print-ername and press enter.
7. Click Next and click finish. 


A LAN is a network of computers and other electronic devices that covers a small area such as a room, office, or building. In order for devices to access the server resources, they must be connected via the LAN. The majority of LANs will use Ethernet, Wifi or a combination of both to enable devices to communicate with each other. Ethernet is a network protocol that controls how data is transmitted over a LAN. Wifi uses radio waves to connect computers to Wireless access points.

A LAN network requiring a large wireless coverage will comprise of cabling, switches, routers, WAPs (Wireless access points) and wireless management systems. A physically smaller area or building may only require a single Wifi connection. In this scenario, a wireless management system will not be required.

Ethernet Cabling

Most laptops, desktops, and servers are provided with a standard RJ45 port used for plugging in Ethernet cable connectors. However, the cables themselves can vary. The main variations are the speed of data transmission and whether the cable is shielded. The maximum recommended Ethernet cable length is 100m and the category of cable will usually be printed on the cable.

Twisted pair (TP) refers to the internal wiring inside the cable. Pairs of wires are twisted around each other to reduce crosstalk. Twisted pair copper comes in shielded and unshielded forms. Shielding a cable helps to prevent electromagnetic interference and crosstalk. A shielded copper cable includes a protective conductive coating such as braided strands of copper, copper tape or a conductive polymer.

When looking to install Ethernet cabling con-sider the types of Ethernet cable available. Also, consider whether flame-resistant cabling may be required.

Cat 3 – This was popular in the 1990s and may still be found in some legacy networks. No new net-work installation should use this type of Ethernet cable. It is an unshielded twisted pair cable used for voice and can handle speeds of up to 10Mbps.

Cat 5 – This overtook Cat 3 as the primary choice around 2000. It is used for network speeds of 10 or 100 Mbps. It is unshielded and has largely been replaced by Cat5e as the primary choice. 

Cat 5e – Category 5 cable was revised, and mostly replaced with Category 5 Enhanced. Cat5e is the most widely used Ethernet cable available. It is backward compatible with CatS and Cat 3 so can be used in most upgrades and new installations. It works for 10/100Mb and 1000Mb (or Gigabit Ethernet). Cat5e is unshielded and often used when large quantities of cables are required, such as lots of PC connections back to a single switch. This is because the cabling is economical, it is capable of 1000Mbps and it is easy to work with. Cat5e is suit-able for most LAN installations.

Cat 6 – Also backward compatible with legacy Ethernet networks and is suitable for 10/100Mb and 1000Mb networks. However, Cat 6 has bet-ter transmission performance particularly for 1000Mbps speeds when compared to Cat 5e and is capable of 10Gb speeds when cable lengths are below 55 meters. This is because it is less prone to crosstalk. Cat 6 is suited toward environments where crosstalk is likely to be an issue. This in-cludes areas that have lots of interference from things like power lines, lights, and manufacturing equipment. It may also be used for backend equip-ment such as a router to switch links. It is generally more expensive and more difficult to install when compared to Cat5e as it is thicker. Cat 6 can be shielded or unshielded.

Cat 6a offers 10Gb Ethernet to 100 meters as it has stronger shielding compared to Cat 6. 

Cat 7 – This is a relatively new type of cabling and isn’t used much as yet. It is very stiff as the pairs of internal wires are shielded as well as ad-ditional shielding around the entire cable. The shielding needs to be grounded and special con-nectors are required in order to make use of the cable’s high-performance capabilities. Cat7 can also support 10 Gbps, but laboratory testing has successfully shown its ability to transmit up to 40 Gb at 50 meters and even 100 Gb at 15 meters. It is suited for use in data-centers and large enterprise networks.

Crossover vs Straight – Ethernet cabling is almost always straight through. With a straight through cable, the internal wires all connect to the same pins on the plug at each end of the cable. They are used to connect devices such as computers and printers to the host device (usually a router or switch). With a crossover cable, the wires connect to different plug pins at each end. They are used to connect like for like devices such as a computer directly to another computer, switch to switch or router to router. However, most modern devices have auto-sensing technology that detects the cable and device and crosses pairs when needed. 

Switches and Routers

The primary purpose of both Switches and Routers is to ensure that data being transmitted between computers reaches the correct destination. In order to achieve this, they use MAC and IP ad-dresses respectively.

Switches usually have numerous ports and are used to provide a wired connection to the network devices such as computers, wireless access points, printers, servers and any other devices connected to the LAN. Different models of network switches support varying numbers of connected devices. Consumer grade network switches typically provide eight or fewer connections for Ethernet devices, while corporate switches typically support between 32 and 128 connections. Switches can be connected to each other to add a progressively larger number of devices to a LAN.

Switches are usually unmanaged or managed.

Managed switches are often set up or configured using a command line, or web browser, based interface and have additional features and capa-bilities to ensure optimal network performance and security. An example of such a feature is a vir-tual LAN or VLAN configuration. A VLAN can be used to separate different types of network traffic such as voice or CCTV traffic. Other features may include prioritising certain traffic such as traffic from a particular computer or to a specific server. This means that a correctly configured managed switch can optimise a networks speed and resource utilisation. Unmanaged switches require little to no initial configuration in order to work and are typically used by home consumers or for very small office networks where there are less than 10 computers and wired connections are preferred to wireless. Hybrid switches are also an option for smaller businesses. Their interface is much simpler than what managed switches offer. They are effec-tive for small VLANs but don’t allow monitoring, troubleshooting, or remote-accessing to manage network issues.

Routers are primarily used to connect different networks. So in order to connect to the internet or a separate network within a large enterprise envi-ronment, a router will be required. In the majority of scenarios, the Internet service provider will supply a router for internet connectivity. For many small or home office networks a single wireless router, provided by the ISP, with several ports and wireless capability may suffice. However, no matter how small your organisation it is worth consider-ing business grade routers. They provide increased reliability as they are more robust for heavy usage and have additional features such as guest WiFi access.

Layer 3 switches are also available and blend the internal hardware logic of switches and routers into a hybrid device.

LAN Switch Purchasing – What to Consider

Managed, Hybrid or Unmanaged – This depends on the size and future expansion possibilities of the organisation. A managed switch offers the greatest security, flexibility, and assists in future-proofing the network. Budget permitting a managed switch is always preferable. However, unmanaged and hy-brid switches offer benefits when used in the right situation. 

The number of ports – Consider the number of devices that the network needs to support and consider future developments. It is likely that more devices will be required at some point and it is better to have too many ports. Also, think about ad-ditional devices that may be added to the network such as CCTV cameras and IP phones.

Power Over Ethernet (POE) – Devices such as IP phones, CCTV cameras, and Wireless Access Points may require POE. A POE switch is a network switch that provides electrical power to the device via the Ethernet cable. Some switches have a combination of standard ports and POE ports.

Switch Speed – Gigabit or 1000Mbps interfaces are now standard for most computers and network equipment. Budget permitting a switch capable of 10/100/1000Mbps speeds is preferred for most scenarios. Larger organisations may wish to opt for a 10Gb switch.

Redundancy – Consider the scenario if a switch were to fail. Who and how would it affect the organisation. It may be beneficial to have more switches with fewer ports rather than say a single larger switch. This way if a switch were to fail the network can continue in some capacity. 

Warranties and Support – Consider the length of warranty available. Also, take into consideration the level of support for configuring the device and troubleshooting or monitoring should any issues arise.

Wireless LANs

In a small building or single room office, with only a few wireless devices, a single wireless access point will suffice and will usually be a wireless router that also provides internet access. Where wireless access to a network is required in various areas of a building, numerous wireless access points (WAPs) will be needed. Wireless coverage from a single access point can vary depending on physical obstructions and interference so careful planning is required prior to installation. WAPs typically connect back to a POE switch via an Eth-ernet cable.

Wireless networks with numerous access points can either be managed or unmanaged. A man-aged network is preferable as it provides better connectivity for wireless devices. This is because a managed system automatically moves the device’s connection to the access point with the strongest signal, ensuring that it always has the best possible connection. In an unmanaged system, the devices will remain connected to an access point until it loses the signal completely and only then will it move to the nearest access point. A managed sys-tem also provides other benefits and capabilities such as creating multiple wireless networks or SSiDs (Service Set Identifiers) or providing individ-ual WiFi access accounts for each user. Managed systems require an additional device known as a Wireless Management System. Alternatives include cloud-based systems that enable configuration through a browser over the internet.

WiFi standards ensure compatibility between different manufacturers and devices. The main standards in release order are 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. The newer standards generally offer faster data transfer rates and will be standard on most wireless devices. However, 802.11 ac is relatively new and may not be available on all devices. WiFi products support earlier standards to ensure backward compatibility and will automatically set to the best standard available between the Access point and the device. Multi-standard support will be labeled as some-thing similar to 802.11b/g/n. In order to future proof the network ensure that any new products are capable of 802.11ac.

Wi-Fi networks use radio signals in either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands. 5GHz WiFi connections are generally considered to be faster and share the frequency with fewer devices, such as wireless cameras, microwaves, and mobile phones, so are less prone to interference. However, a 2.4GHz signal has more range and is more effective through walls and other solid objects. WiFi products that support both frequency bands are known as Dual Band. 802.11g uses 2.4 GHz frequency, 802.11n can use either frequency and 802.11 ac uses the 5 GHz frequency band.

 In order to prevent hackers snooping on wireless data as it was transmitted between clients and ac-cess points, encryption is required. During setup of a wireless router, access points or wireless manager there may be a choice of 3 encryption algorithms – WEP, WPA or WPA2. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) was superseded by WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and should not be selected as it has serious security weaknesses. WPA has been shown to have security flaws and has now been replaced by WPA2. Where possible WPA2 should be selected as it is currently the most secure choice, particularly when transmitting confidential personal or business information.

PSK stands for pre-shared key and refers to the WiFi passphrase. This along with the SSiD is used to create an encryption key. PSK would not be found in an enterprise network, instead, a RADIUS server would be used to hand out unique keys.

Within the WPA2 encryption protocol, there are two methods available for encrypting and decrypt-ing information (known as a cipher) – Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). To achieve optimal se-curity AES should be selected as it is newer and the most secure. TKIP should only be used if incorpo-rating legacy equipment is a necessity. 


Most PCs and other devices purchased individu-ally are provided with a single device license for the Operating System. This also applies to most off the shelf software packages. Having a single license per device can prove to be problematic as organisations grow and more devices and software packages are required.

Microsoft offers a Volume licensing subscription option for businesses and educational establish-ments. Volume licensing subscriptions are usually purchased through a reputable third party supplier and are charged annually. Cost is dependent on the number of users.

The advantages of using volume licensing are:

  • Microsoft Software and operating systems can be upgraded to the latest software available at no extra cost. You may wish to upgrade all devices to Windows 10 or the latest version of Office for example. When collaborating or sharing information it is important that users are using the same software across the organisation. 
  • There are different versions of Microsoft operating systems. For example, Windows 10 has numerous versions including Home, Pro, Enterprise, Mobile, and Educa-tion. Depending on the organisation you may require some of the features not avail-able on some of the more basic versions. Volume licensing enables administrators to install or upgrade to, the required version with the necessary features. For example, the ability to join a domain is not available in Windows 10 Home. 
  • Clean’ OS installations can be made that do not contain additional unwanted software.
  • Educational volume licensing offers other benefits such as permission to install Microsoft Office on students home or per-sonal devices and Office 365 accounts.

When looking to purchase third party software or applications be sure to check system compatibil-ity and licensing information.

Single user licenses – Most off the shelf software comes with a single user license that permits the software to be used by a single user on a single computer.

Multiple user licenses – A multiple user license allows more than one person to use the software. The permitted amount of users will be specified in the license. Site licenses – A site license allows anyone on your business premises or establishment to use the software.