Microsoft released a new build 17709 of Windows Server vNext LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) yesterday, July 10th 2018. Regarding this server core, the changes vis-à-vis the previous preview are minor. The biggest change is that it is now possible to install both Standard and Datacenter server versions with the GUI / desktop experience Previous WS 2019 preview versions only allowed server core installation.
WS 2019 improves the scalability and reliability of containers that use Group Managed Service Accounts (GMSA) for accessing network resources. Common authentication errors from previous WS 2019 builds are mostly gone, and it is now possible to use GMSA with Hyper-V isolated containers.
Another new feature is the Windows base image which has been added to the WS container collection. This new Windows image contains more components than previously available in the NanoServer and ServerCore images, and supports applications that rely on additional APIs.
WS 2019 Build 17709 is available in 18 languages and should activate automatically. In my tests, however, it did not activate until I entered the generic key manually. Both Standard and Datacenter keys allow unlimited activations using generic MAK keys that Microsoft provides for each edition:
- Standard: MFY9F-XBN2F-TYFMP-CCV49-RMYVH - Datacenter: 6XBNX-4JQGW-QX6QG-74P76-72V67
WS 2019 Build 17709 expires on December 14th, 2018.WS 2019, its all four versions, is ready for WAC (Windows Admin Center) straight out-of-the-box. Just check the randomized server name or rename it as you wish and add the server without any additional action: After a clean install on a Hyper-V virtual machine, I had a demo domain controller set up in just few minutes. Personally, I like the way Windows Server has evolved and how easy it now is to set up and manage. I also tested an in-place upgrade from a physical WS 2016 domain controller. Although the upgrade took its time (over 3 hours on an i5 laptop!), it worked without issues and the domain controller continued working as before.
For those of you using on-premises AD domain controllers, I wholeheartedly recommend giving WS 2019 a trial run. It is quick to install, and build 17709 has taken care most of the bugs from previous previews. And, for those like me who prefer the GUI version over the core server, it is now possible to install WS 2019 with desktop experience (and the GUI) enabled.
To download Windows Server 2019 visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windowsinsiderpreviewserver
Author: Kari Finn
A Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.