Configure Windows Server Core to use PowerShell by Default

Beginning with Windows Server 2012, the core installation mode is now the default and preferred installation mode. For workloads that are supported on Windows Server core, which includes the remote access role and DirectAccess, server core should be used to provide the highest levels of security and availability.

When installing Windows Server 2012/R2 core, the operating system defaults to using the old DOS command prompt. I find this particularly annoying since the majority of administration I do on a server core installation is in PowerShell. Also, most DOS commands can be run from the PowerShell console anyway, so why not have PowerShell as the default shell? Well, that’s easy enough to fix. To begin, at the command prompt enter start powershell.

DirectAccess Windows Server Core PowerShell

In the PowerShell window enter the following command:

Set-ItemProperty -Path ‘HKLM:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon’ -Name Shell -Value PowerShell.exe

DirectAccess Windows Server Core PowerShell

Log off the computer and when you log back in, PowerShell will be the default shell! If you need to execute DOS commands that don’t seem to work in PowerShell, simply enter cmd and you’re good to go.

DirectAccess Windows Server Core PowerShell

DirectAccess Webinar on October 3, 2013

Are you interested in learning about Microsoft DirectAccess, the always-on, seamless and transparent remote access feature in Windows Server 2012? Then join me on Thursday, October 3, 2013 for a webinar where I’ll describe in detail what DirectAccess is, how it functions, what the benefits are for deploying DirectAccess in terms of security and ease of use, and much more. I’ll also provide you with information about how Iron Networks can assist you with deploying DirectAccess quickly and effectively by leveraging our advanced hardware appliance platform and professional services. You can register for the webinar here.


Windows Server 2012

What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2 DirectAccess

What's New in Windows Server 2012 R2 DirectAccess

Nothing! That’s right, there are no new features or functionality included with DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 R2. Just a few bug fixes and some small cosmetic changes in the management console. Carry on! 😉

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