How to download / install and activate Windows Server 2019 Standard

Downloading and installing Windows Server 2019 Standard might seem like a daunting task, especially with limited IT skills. But don’t worry, this guide breaks down all the steps you need to download, install, and activate Windows server 2019.

The process is relatively simple and can be completed by most people with a medium amount of IT knowledge. The following steps walk you through the process.


Step 1 – Downloading your copy of Windows Server 2019

The first step is to download your software.

The following link will take you to the Microsoft download page:

Once on the page, scroll down until you see the heading - Get started for free. You will see a link that says Download the ISO – click this link and follow the instructions to download the ISO file.


Step 2 – Prepare your ISO file

An ISO file contains all the files and programs required to install your copy of Windows Server 2019. However, to install the software, you will need to move the files to some form of removable media. The most practical and easiest to use is a thumb drive. For this purpose, it needs to be at least 8GB and formatted as FAT32.

To check whether a thumb drive is FAT32 formatted, see the following instructions:


1. Plug your thumb drive into a Windows Computer and open a File Explorer window

2. Find the Thumb Drive under the “This PC” listing and right-click on it

3. Select Properties from the context menu that pops up

4. On the General Tab, you will see the File System type listed. Most thumb drives are already formatted as FAT32.


Copy the ISO File


The next step is to copy the ISO file you downloaded in Step 1 onto your FAT32 formatted pen drive. Once this is complete, you are ready to begin the installation.


Step 3 – Installing Windows Server 2019

This step is where some users may experience some minor difficulties.

Basically, the procedure involves plugging your Thumb Drive with the ISO into the target server and letting the server boot up using the setup files on the thumb drive. Once this is achieved, the rest of the process is a matter of following the steps in the installation wizard.

The main problem that users encounter is getting the server to boot from the thumb drive. If there is no existing Operating System on the server, then the bootup procedure should default to the thumb drive. If that is the case, then you are well on your way to installing Windows Server 2019! Just follow the wizards to complete the installation and then jump to the Activate Windows Server section.


Changing the boot order

If there are problems at this stage, then you will have to manually force the server to boot from the thumb drive. Unfortunately, how this is achieved differs from server to server, so it is impossible to dictate precise instructions for this step. However, the steps are all fairly similar, covered below is a fairly typical procedure.


Intel-Based Server

The following instructions describe how to change the boot order on a server that uses an Intel Server board.


1. With the server turned off, plug in your prepared thumb drive

2. Turn the server on and press the F2 key to enter the system BIOS

3. Navigate to the Boot Maintenance Manager option and select the Change Boot Order option to enter the boot menu

4. Use the up and down arrows to navigate to the device you want to boot from (you should see the thumb drive listed as an option)

5. Use the Enter key to select your device and confirm your selection

6. Press the F10 key to save your changes and reboot the machine


If everything worked as expected, your Windows Server 2019 installation should now begin. Follow the installation wizards to complete the installation process.


Step 4 – Activating Windows Server 2019

The final step is to activate your copy of Windows Server 2019. For this you will need  your Genuine Microsoft Product Key in hand.

The following steps take you through the process of activating your copy of Windows Server 2019 Standard:


1. Run a command prompt as an administrator. To do this, type CMD into the search bar. The Command Prompt app should be listed

2. Right-click on the Command Prompt app and select Run as administrator from the context menu that appears

3. Enter the following command (replacing the Xs with your product key):

Dism /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /AcceptEula /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

(Replace the "X" with your product key)


Your copy of Windows Server 2019 should now be activated!