Windows Server 2016 Essentials as a simple webserver



I have a ThinkServer with an Intel Xeon E2-1226 v3 processor and 32 gigs of RAM running Windows Server 2016 Essentials. I've been hosting .asp and .php based forums on my own Windows based servers since Windows 2000 Server and have a working knowledge. My last server was Windows Server 2008 but now I've upgraded to Windows Server 2016 Essentials. I've done a recent install and Windows Server is trying to force me to install Active Directory (it runs the wizard with each reboot). I just want a simple webserver and see no need to set the server up as a Domain Controller. The sole purpose of this machine is to serve simple forum pages and I really don't need anything installed other than MS SQL Express and .php (which I've already done). On my first installation I had it set up as a Domain Controller and I could not get MS SQL to install properly as shown below:



So after multiple failed attempts to install multiple versions of MS SQL Express, research said that MS doesn't recommend running SQL Server on a Domain Controller. I demoted the server but it never prompted me for a local Administrator password which effectively locked me out of the machine. Instead of trying to crack it with a Linux boot disk password cracker, I opted to format and reinstall the OS without Active Directory. After the reinstallation I did not install Active Directory and had no problem installing MS SQL Express 2014 With Tools (I don't know if it was related to Active Directory or not, only that it worked). At this point I'm preparing to rebuild my forums but I don't want to waste at least a dozen man hours rebuilding everything if Windows is going to force Active Directory implementation after 21 days and risk losing forum function.

Can Windows Server 2016 Essentials be ran as a simple server without Active Directory? I was perfectly happy running on 2008 but now that I've spent the money to upgrade, I'd really like to make this work.


Nathan In Montana

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