In past versions of Windows Server, after using the GUI to add the Active Directory binaries to your server, you would use DCPromo to promote your server into a Domain Controller. However, DCPromo was deprecated with the release of Server 2012.

Installing Active Directory on Server 2012

You can still add the binaries through the GUI, but underneath the hood even that is using PowerShell. For that reason we will keep the whole article in PowerShell. To add the binaries simply open a PowerShell Console and run the following:

Add-WindowsFeature -name ad-domain-services –IncludeManagementTools –Restart

Once the installation is complete your computer will reboot. We are now ready to install a new domain controller in a new forest, so open a new PowerShell Console. There are three PowerShell commands you can use to promote your server into a DC:

  • Install-ADDSDomainController – Creates a new domain controller in an existing domain.
  • Install-ADDSDomain – Creates a new domain in an existing forest.
  • Install-ADDSForest – Creates a new forest.

Since we don’t already have a forest we will need to use the Install-ADDSForest cmdlet.

Install-ADDSForest –DomainName “”

You will then be prompted for the Restore Mode password and asked to confirm that a server reboot is OK.


Now you can go grab a cup of coffee while it sets up your new Domain Controller.

Once your server is back up you’re good to go.

That’s all there is to it folks. It’s easier than ever with PowerShell!

Profile Photo for Taylor Gibb Taylor Gibb
Taylor Gibb is a professional software developer with nearly a decade of experience. He served as Microsoft Regional Director in South Africa for two years and has received multiple Microsoft MVP (Most Valued Professional) awards. He currently works in R&D at Derivco International.
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