Windows Server 2019 – The Sconfig utility

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Now we are going to take a step backward and check out a tool that is available inside Server Core, but one that is generally only useful when working on the console of your server. As you have seen, any time that you boot a Server Core, you land inside a Command Prompt window from which you can flip over into PowerShell and then use traditional Windows cmdlets in order to configure your new Server Core instance.

Alternatively, you may employ the Sconfig utility. This is a set of tools, kind of like command-line shortcuts, for implementing the basic items needed in order to bring your new server online and get it connected to the network. The purpose of Sconfig is to be step 1 after installing the operating system, taking care of the initial configurations on the new server so that you can then jump over to start using one of the more robust administrative interfaces, such as Server Manager or Windows Admin Center.

Immediately after spinning up a new Server Core instance, you find yourself at the Command Prompt, which is awaiting input. Inside this screen, simply type Sconfig and press Enter; you should experience a quick change from black to blue, and see the following screen:

The options available inside Sconfig are fairly self-explanatory, but we’ll cover the common tasks performed here. Again, these are all things that you could instead accomplish via PowerShell cmdlets, but I find it easier to take the Sconfig approach. The most common uses of this interface are to configure initial networking settings by pressing 8, or to configure the server hostname and domain membership by using options 2 and 1.

I will go ahead and press 2 on my keyboard, and then press Enter, and I am immediately presented with a prompt asking me to specify a new computer name. This is an extremely fast way to configure the hostname of new Server Core servers. Since I don’t actually want to rename WEB4, I will leave the selection blank and press Enter to return to the main screen.

Now I want to check out networking settings. Pressing 8 and then Enter brings me into Network Settings, where I can see that my current IP address on WEB4’s NIC is 10.10.10.12. This is correct, but let’s change that address for the sake of walking through a real Sconfig setting change.

I first selected my network adapter index, which was number one. I am now shown additional information about what is already configured on this NIC, and have options to change this information. Selecting option one again will allow me to Set Network Adapter Address:

Input the letter S, which tells Sconfig that you want to enter a Static IP address, and then input the new IP address that you want configured on this NIC. I will change WEB4 to be 10.10.10.30, just to prove that this works. After inputting the IP address, I must also define a new subnet mask and gateway address:

WEB4’s NIC has been immediately updated to a new IP address of 10.10.10.30, as seen in the resulting output. While it may not be a common occurrence to visit the Sconfig tool after the initial configuration of a Server Core instance, this tool can be a real time-saver when used for the initial configuration of network and naming settings of any new Server Core.

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