First steps with VPS WINDOWS

This is another guide which will help you manage your virtual servers. Based on the feedback received from our customers, the previous article first step with VPS was very popular and helpful. Because the installation and administration of virtual servers running on the Windows operating system is a little bit different, we have decided to create a detailed manual to help you handle virtual servers running on MS Windows Server.



The login process and installation of the operating system is the same as the procedure published in the previous article Getting started with VPS, therefore we will start with the step when you launch the VNC console either through an external application or through the HTML 5 console under the client section.


In the default setting for all VPS Windows servers, the MS Windows Server 2016 EN is the default operating system used for installation.


Select language, time and keyboard


If you wish to install a different version of the MS Windows Server Standard operating system, a different language of the operating system, or if you simply wish to reinstall the server, you may do so under the System tab. Select the Installation type under the Install virtual server module and then select the Installation from ISO image option and choose the desired operating system under the Install tab. You have the following options:


  • MS Windows Server 2012 Standard ed. EN
  • MS Windows Server 2012 Standard ed. CZ
  • MS Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard ed. EN
  • MS Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard ed. CZ
  • MS Windows Server 2016 Standard ed. EN
  • MS Windows Server 2016 Standard ed. CZ


Select OS



Confirm your selection by pressing Install.


System Installation


In this guide, we will proceed with installing the default version of the operating system, which is the aforementioned MS Windows Server 2016 Standard ed. EN. The process and options are, however, identical to those for other OS versions.


Click on the Next button on the initial screen of the installation.


Installation screen


The next screen will give you an option to divide the assigned space into partitions or to leave everything unchanged; you can proceed by clicking on the Next button once again.


Partition division


Now the installation has started and everything should be completed within a few minutes.


Installation is processing


The installation is completed with an automatic reboot. No other input from your side is required at this stage.


Installation will be finished by restart


After a restart and completion of the installation...


System will be ready after restart


...you will see a login page which will take you to the operating system environment. First, you need to enter the administrator’s password.


Password settings 1


Click OK and enter identical passwords on both lines of the administrator account and click on the right arrow on the second line to confirm.


Password settings 2


The password will be saved...


Password was saved


... and you will receive a notification.


Password notification


Now press the Sign in button…


Click on Sign in


...and you will log into the environment of your newly installed server.


Logging into server


Because your server is connected to a public network, disable the option to detect your computer immediately after login by clicking on the No button.


Click No to disable detection of public network


Sending Ctrl+Alt+Del through the Console in the Control panel

It may happen that instead of the Windows login dialog, you will see the introductory page with a message asking you to press the Ctrl+Alt+Delete key combination to unlock.


Introductory page


Using the Crtl + Alt + Del key combination in the right upper corner of the console will send it to the server.


Use Crtl + Alt + Del


The system will immediately display the dialog window to enter your username and password.


Enter your username and password


Setting up the remote desktop protocol (RDP)

Access to the server through a remote desktop is not active in the default setting. You may turn it on using the Server Manager, menu Local Server, item Remote Desktop, by clicking on the Disabled option.


Unactive default setting


In the newly opened window...


New opened window


...check the Allow remote connection to this computer option and confirm the pop-up notifying that the service has been activated…


Allow remote connection


...and because you will not connect to the server (at least not immediately after installation) from a network supporting authentication at the network level, it is necessary to uncheck the Allow connection only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network level Authentication (recommended).


Allow connection only from computers running Remote Desktop


Confirm by pressing Apply and OK.


Apply and OK


Static IP address configuration

By default, the IPv4 and IPv6 server address is assigned through DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). However, this protocol is not suitable for server environment and therefore a static IP addresses should be used. Go back to the Server Manager, open the Local Server menu and select the Ethernet option by clicking on IPv4 address assigned by DHCP, IPv6 enabled.


Configuration of static IP


The virtual server has one network interface (several interfaces may be available, but these lie in the realm of advanced VPS settings).


Set of Ethernet


Right-click on the selected network interface and select Properties.


Click on the Network interface


In the next IPv4 address setting window use the left mouse button and select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties. This will activate the window.


Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties


In the newly opened window...


New opened window


...click on Use the following IP addresses and Use the following DNS server addresses.


IP and DNS server addresses


The assigned network setting may be found under the client section in the Control panel, under service details.


The list of assigned network settings in the CP


The same process applies when configuring the IPv6 address.


By setting a static IP address, you will avoid many connection-related problems of your virtual server!



Internet Explorer Enhanced Security configuration

If you want to use MS Internet Explorer on your server to browse through websites, you might not appreciate the high level of security provided by the Enhanced Security feature. You may turn this function off in the Server Manager, menu Local Server, under item IE Enhanced Security Configuration, which is set to On by default.


Turn off security configuration


Click on the On button, and the system will open the settings for this option…


Choose options


...there, you can set both options (Administrators and Users) to Off. Confirm your selection by clicking on OK. Please be aware that harmful code may enter your server (among others) through an unsecured browser!


Option Off means unsecured browser


Date and time settings

Server time is important in particular when working with logs or when downloading updates, and therefore it is suitable to have the date and time as well as the time zone set based on the location of the server. You can rest assured that all Coolhousing virtual servers will always be located in the Czech Republic, in Prague at Vinohradská 190.


To select the time, open the Server Manager, go to the Local Server menu and open the Time zone, where the default value is (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada).


How to select time and date


Click on (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) and the system will open up a new window with additional settings.


Click on Pacific Time


You may set the current date and time by selecting the Change date and time option...


Select Change date and time


Set the time zone by clicking on Change time zone.


Change time zone


The correct time zone for the Czech Republic is (UTC+01:00) Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague.


Select time zone for Czech Republic


You may further complement the above settings by activating time synchronization with Internet servers.


Time synchronization with Internet servers


Click on the Internet Time tab and then on Change settings.


Change Internet time


Time synchronization is usually set to time.windows.com.


Time is set according Windows


However, you may select any NTP server – perhaps one closer to Prague. A list of available and, most importantly, public NTP servers may be found at http://phoenix.inf.upol.cz/~bazgierv/ntp.html. We used the tik.cesnet.cz server, which we simply entered in the Server field.


Change Internet time


Always confirm your selection by pressing the OK button.



Operating system activation

After the operating system is installed in the virtual server environment, the server is automatically activated. No action is required from you. You may verify this fact in the Server Manager, Local Server menu and under Product ID. The Server ID is always a unique string of characters but the attribute in the parentheses (activated) is important.


System activation


If your virtual server is not activated, please contact customer support at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



System update

Server security should be your top priority, and therefore operating system updates should not be avoided. Immediately after installation, the system should display in the Server Manager, menu Local Server, under Last installed updates with the value Newer.


How to update the system


This situation needs to be changed, and therefore click on Newer and in the next window on the Check for updates.


Check for updates


This will initiate the update process, which usually needs to be completed with a restart.


System is updating


The server usually waits for the administrator to confirm the restart. However, it is possible to plan the restart after the update is completed or when the server is not active. Open the Settings window, and under Windows Update scroll down to Update Status, where you will find the Change Active hours option.


Change time of restart


Here you may set a time interval when the server is busy and automatic restart is not allowed.


Set a time interval




Automatic Windows Login configuration

Usually after a restart and based on system updates, you may appreciate the option to automatically log into Windows. Setting up automatic login is very easy. Go to the Taskbar and click on the Magnifying glass icon (Search)…


Click on Taskbar and Search


... enter the following command: “netplwiz” (without quotation marks) in the field, and confirm.


Insert netplwiz


The system displays the User Accounts window where you can uncheck Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.


Uncheck Users must enter


Click on Apply...


Apply


...the system will ask you to enter the user account password where the system will log in automatically. In our case we have only one account on the server called the Administrator; however, if you have several user accounts on the server, you may select any of them.


Set user name and password


Confirm all settings by pressing the OK button. Now, after each restart the selected user is automatically logged in Windows. Keep in mind that this setting directly impacts the security of your server!



Program initiation after startup

You may find this setting useful when the automatic login feature is activated, but it is not necessary. There are other benefits as well. Open the Start menu and select Windows System and then Run.


How to initiate programs


Enter “shell:startup“ (without quotation marks) into the newly opened Run window and confirm your selection.


Insert shell: startup


The system will open Windows Explorer in the Startup menu, which you can get to through a cumbersome path and through hidden files at “C:\\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup“ (the path is valid for Administrator). In this folder you may use the context menu to create a program shortcut, which you want to launch after startup, or you may simply drag-and-drop this shortcut to this folder either from the desktop or from the Start menu.


You can create program shortcut


After the user is logged in, the system automatically launches all programs (and possibly also scripts) from the Startup folder.



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