13) Uncheck the box “Automatically activate Windows when I am online” and DO NOT enter your 25 character Product Key. There are two reasons for this 1)In case your install does not go the way you had intended this will save you from having to re-activate your WHS 2011 if you end up having to re-install it again or 2) You are planning to use this installation for evaluation purposes only. Either way the production key can be entered later in the computer management properties . click “Next”.


14) When you get to the “Personalize” your Server window you will have two options. 1) Continue on to step 23 or 2) Change the default workgroup name from “WORKGROUP” to a name of your choosing as demonstrated in steps 15 thru 22.


15)  Press “Shift + F10” which will bring you to the command prompt

16)  Type “control system” and hit enter “This will bring up the Windows Server 2008 R2 computer properties


17) In the computer properties on the  right hand side of the box under “Computer Name, Domain, and workgroup settings” click on “Change Settings”


18) In the “System Properties” box in the “Computer Name Tab” click the “Change” Button”


19) Now proceed to change the Workgroup name and ONLY the workgroup Name to your desired workgroup name (Example – UWHS), Once you have changed the workgroup name click on “Ok”.


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John has been in the IT profession for over 20 years along with being certified in both Comptia Security + (2008 edition) and a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) on Both Windows XP & Server 2003 Administration, He currently works as an Windows System Administrator for Northrop Grumman in the Greater Los Angeles Area and manages 3 Windows Active Directory Private Networks (Two 2008 R2 and One 2012 R2) along With 2 VMware EXSI 5.5 Servers in the US. He has been an avid fan and follower of Windows Home Server (Now the Essentials Role of Windows Server) and Visualization Since 2009. He is currently trying to exploit the full potential of Microsoft's Windows Server Operating System to the Home & Small to Medium Business Community along with the power of Visualization. When not being a Nerd and a Geek he likes to watch Movies, Read Comic Books, and most importantly spend time with his family.
  • John (ITBeast) Keller

    Just FYI, This How To Guide also works for Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 installations as well. Just got done doing one this weekend using this guide as well.

  • Aswoc

    Will this instruction work if I already have WHS 2008v3 installed and running?
    Do I just follow this instruction and overwright existing WHS Software? I’m at witts end.thanks

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Hi Aswoc

      This instruction will work with both Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials only.

      If you follow the instructions per the how to guide The Windows Home Server 2011 Installer will reformat and repartition your primary hard drive and destroy all Data that maybe on your primary hard drive, therefore you may want move any data that is currently on there.

      If you have any further questions please let me know.

  • sicknote

    A great instruction set but what about the next steps – do you have a guide for connecting other PC’s & XBOX around the house to the server….?

  • Franksredhot1

    Awesome, article. FYI, I tried this and forgot to remove one of the larger hard drives and it started to install on that one. I shut it down and tried again but couldn’t get it working. After some time I opend the cfg.ini on another computer and saw that it was modified by the install. I removed the added line “processed=true” and then it worked. I spent about 30 minutes in the bios messing with boot priorities thinking there was something there.

    Thanks for all the work.

    • thanks Andy 🙂

    • ITBeast

      I’m glad I was of help

    • ITBeast

      I’m glad I was of help