Windows Server 2012 is the sixth release of Windows Server and succeeds Windows Server 2008 R2. At the time of writing, Windows Server 2012 R2 is the latest server operating system released by Microsoft, with Windows Server 2016 currently being available as a technical preview.
1. Download Oracle Virtual Box
Oracle Virtual Box is a free piece of software that facilitates the creation of virtual machines. Virtual Box can be installed on any Windows, Linux or Mac based systems.
You can download Oracle Virtual Box here.
2. Download Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2012 has a feel of Windows 8 about it but anyone that has used Microsoft server operating systems since 2003 should be able to install and configure server roles without any issues.
If you do not have a copy of Windows Server 2012, you can download a 180 day evaluation version here.
3. Install Windows Server 2012 as a Virtual Machine
- Open Oracle Virtual Machine and click the ‘New’ icon.
- Type a name, choose type as ‘Windows’ and version as Other Windows (32 or 64 bit).
- Enter the memory size (4096 or greater).
- Create a virtual hard drive and select the ‘VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk)’ option.
- Confirm ‘Dynamically Allocated’ and click ‘Split files of less than 2GB’.
- Confirm the file location and increase the size to around 50GB then click ‘Create’.
- Once the machine has been created, select the ‘Machine’ menu and choose ‘Settings’.
- Click on ‘Storage’ on the left hand side and click on ‘Empty’ under ‘Controller: IDE’.
- Click on the disc icon on the right and select the ‘Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file’ option. Find the Windows Server 2012 image and click OK to close.
Once the above is done, click Start to boot up the machine. This will then go through the installation and initial configuration of the virtual server.