Installing Nano Server

Installing Nano Server

What is Nano Server?

Nano Server is a new installation option for Windows Server 2016 that is similar to Windows Server in Server Core mode. However, although it has a significantly smaller hardware footprint, it has no local sign-in capability and supports only 64-bit apps, tools, and agents. Setup is significantly faster, and after installation, the operating system requires far fewer updates.

Nano Server is not available for selection through the Windows Server 2016 setup wizard. Instead, you must create a virtual hard drive by using Windows PowerShell. You can then use this virtual hard drive on a virtual machine to support a virtualized Nano Server in Hyper-V, or you can configure your server computer to start from a .vhd file for a physical Nano Server deployment option.

Use scenarios

Nano Server is ideal for use in the following scenarios:

  • Hyper-V host for virtual machines, either in clusters or not (compute host).
  • As a storage host for a scale-out file server, either in clusters or not.
  • As a DNS server.
  • As a web server running Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).
  • As a host for applications that are developed by using cloud application patterns and run in a container or virtual machine guest operating system.

In this demonstration, you will see how to install Nano Server.

Demonstration Steps

On your 2016 Server, open an elevated command prompt.

Open Elevated Command Prompt

Change to the root directory of drive C, and then create a folder named Nano.

Create Nano Directory

Copy all the files with a .ps* extension from the D:\NanoServer\NanoServerImageGenerator folder to C:\Nano.

Copy Files to C:\Nano

The Windows Server 2016 install media needs to be in the D:\ drive or the ISO mounted. D:\ can be substituted for whichever drive is being utilized in your server.

Open an elevated Windows PowerShell window.

Open an Elevated PowerShell Console

Run Import-Module c:\nano\NanoServerImageGenerator.psm1. This command imports the required Windows PowerShell module for Nano Server.

Import Nano Server Generator Module


new-NanoServerImage -Edition Standard -mediapath D:\ -Basepath c:\nano -targetpath c:\nano\nano-svr1.vhdx -DeploymentType Guest -computername NANO-SVR1 -storage -package Microsoft-NanoServer-IIS-Package

Type in a password when you receive a prompt. This command creates a VHDX file for your Nano Server with the following options:

  • Mediapath identifies the source of the installation files.
  • Basepath indicates where to create the VHDX file and supplemental files.
  • Targetpath identifies the name and location of the VHDX file.
  • Computername identifies the name of this instance of Nano Server.
  • Storage installs the File Server role.
  • Packages enables the additional installation of other roles—in this case, the IIS role.
  • DeploymentType configure the VHDX for use as a guest.

Create the Nano Server

In C:\Nano, you can see the files that were created, including the Nano-svr1.vhdx file. Ordinarily, you now copy this file to a Hyper-V host, and then create a virtual machine to use the virtual hard drive. You can also reconfigure startup settings on your host so that it can start from this VHDX file. A virtual machine is preconfigured with the VHDX file.

View the Created Files

For this demonstration, the nano-svr1.vhdx was already imported into Hyper-V. The next steps are from that Nano VM

Sign in as Administrator
By using this console, you can perform basic administration of Nano Server, including making basic changes to IP configuration and firewall settings, enabling the computer to be managed remotely.

Sign into Nano

Observe that the computer name is Nano-SVR1, and that the computer belongs to a workgroup.

Observe Settings

In Network Adapter Settings, notice that DHCP is providing the IP configuration.

Check Network Settings

Published by

Jason Robinson

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