How to create a Windows VPS on Hetzner

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In this tutorial you will learn how to create a Windows VPS on Hetzner.

What is Hetzner?

Hetzner is a server/ cloud hosting company just like Vultr, DigitalOcean, OVH  and others.

However, server prices on Hetzner are much more affordable than other companies, this comes from my personal experience, and so far I'm happy with the servers I get from Hetzner, and that's why I decided to write this tutorial today.


Step 1 - Login to your Hetzner account

If you don't have an account on Hetzner, sign up via our link and receive $20 free credit.

Note: $20 cloud credits gets added to your account only when you sign up via our link, so make sure you sign up under the link below.

https://hetzner.cloud/?ref=m4JUULSLJowC

So if you buy a server that costs 3.49eu/month, $20 means +5 months of free hosting, plus considering that hetzner is pay as you go so you can use the credit for anything you want.

Step 2 - Create a Server

Creating a server on Hetzner is very easy, all you have to do is click the "Add server" button as shown on the image below

Select your preferred location. Remember always choose the nearest server to your location if you want to avoid lag issues.  

Next you have to choose the OS image you want to install on your VPS, you can choose any image you want on this step because the image will be needed only to create the server. I went with Ubuntu

Select the type of Server

Hetzner offers standard VPS and Dedicated servers, in this tutorial i'm going with standard VPS, so make sure you are on Standard type section, then simply choose the specs of the server.

Since we are going to install Windows Server 2012 R2 we need at least 512MB ram and 32GB of space.

The CPX11 Server offers you 2 vCPUs, 2GB of Ram , 40GB of space (ssd) and 20TB of bandwidth which is more than enough for installing windows server.

I chose CPX11 for this tutorial

Before you click the button "Create & Buy now" you'll see these sections, these are optional features so you don't have to add anything else for this tutorial to work.

Section 4 - Allows you to add more space to your Server

Section 5 - Allows you to create a Network

Section 6 - Add your Firewall if you have already one

Section 7 - Allows you add additional features such as :User Data, Backups , Placement Group

Section 8 - Allows you to add your SSH key

Now simply go ahead and create your server by clicking the "Create" button

Once the server has been created you'll be redirected to this window

This means the server got created successfully and we can move to the next step

Step 3 - Add Windows Server 2012 Image

To add windows server 2012 image to your server, Click over the server name, in this case the server name is "Owlhowto.com"

Next go to "ISO IMAGES" section , and look for Windows Server 2012 R2 image as shown on the image below and click the mount button.

This action will mount the image to your server, that means the server is ready to boot up from the mounted image but it needs to be restarted first, we can do that easily via console, open console by clicking the console button

Once console is connected, check "Gui-mode"  and click to the button " CTRL + ALT + DEL" this will restart the server

Next you'll see the window loading files screen, this means server booted with Windows server 2012 image

Next, choose your favorite Language, select time zone and set keyboard input method and then proceed with Next button

Click Install Now and give it some time for the setup to fully load

Once the setup has loaded, you need to choose the OS you want to Install, go with "Standard server with gui" and click next

Accept the license terms and click "Next"

Next click to "Custom: Install Windows only(advanced)" type of installation

You'll see this window, as you can see the SSD is not showing up because the virtio drivers are not loaded yet

so now you need to go back to "Iso images" section and mount virtio drivers

Next Click to Browse and go to CD Drive (D:)where it says "virtio-win-0.1.215"

Go to folder "Vioscsi" , double click to 2k12R2 and select folder amd64 and click the ok button.

Note: Make sure to load the correct drivers on this step, the reason why we are selecting 2k12R2 drivers is because we are installing Windows server 2012 r2.

So if you choose let's say to install Windows server 2016, then you won't be installing drivers from 2k12 but from 2k16, same rule applies for other versions of Windows server

Once you have selected the correct driver, proceed by clicking Next button

Now on this step you need to delete all 3 partitions and create a new partition.

Then select the partition with 37.8GB space to install windows

If the next button on the image above is greyed out which means you can't continue installing Windows, you need to mount again Windows server 2012 r2 image from your server dashboard and then simply click refresh and the Next button should work, and the installation should start.

Once the installation has been completed, you need to set your Administrator password, then click Finish

And it should take you to the login screen, login with the same password you set above

Now you need to click the button "CTRL + ALT + DEL" and login to your server

Now that server is set up and running we need to install network drivers and enable remote desktop so you can access it through any rdp software, these settings are disabled by default,  follow the steps below to enable them.

Step 4 - Install Network drivers

If you pay attention to the ethernet icon you can see that there's no internet connection, so we need to install network drivers in order to be able to use internet.

  1. Right click over the start button and Go to "Device Manager"

2. Once you are on Device Manager window, go to "Other devices" and right click over "Ethernet controller" and click to "Update Driver Storage

3. It should take you to this window, now simply click Browse button

4.Next go to virtio drivers, Click the arrow at the side of the folder NetKVM

Open 2k12R2 folder and select amd64 as shown on the image below, then click OK

5. The confirmation window will show up, click the Install button on this window to install network drivers

Now you should have internet access!

Step 6 - Enable Remote Desktop

This option allows you to remote control your server without having to use the console option from your server dashboard, or if you want to access your server simply from other devices.

  1. Launch Server Manager
  2. Go to "Local Server"
  3. Enable Remote Desktop option by clicking the "Disabled" text

4.Check "Allow remote connections to this computer" and save the settings by clicking Apply

5 . Allow remote desktop option on Windows firewall so it is accessible from outside of local network

Go to Windows Firewall

Right click over the start button and go to control panel

Once you are in control panel search for "firewall" at the search bar at the top right and then click "Allow an app through Windows Firewall"

Now scroll down slowly and look up for "Remote Desktop" once you locate it, check the box on the Public column and then click ok to save the configuration.

Now Windows Firewall is allowing connections on port 3389 and you should be able to connect to your server via rdp by using the default software on Windows and remmina for Linux. You can also connect to your server from Android/IOS/Tv or any other device as long as it supports the rdp protocol.

Note: Windows server is not licensed as Hetzner doesn't offer licenses , so you'll have to activate your system with your own license key after 180 days.

Conclusion

By now you should know how to create a windows vps on Hetzner, install network drivers and enable remote desktop.

Author

Endrit Qerreti

Web Development, IT, Linux System Administration, Security Researcher, Computer Technician

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