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Setting Up a Windows Server

Set up a Windows Server on Equinix Metal, including provisioning, remote desktop access, SSH configuration, OOB console access, and networking adjustments.

Setting Up a Windows Server

Looking to run Windows on bare metal, either for a specific use-case or just for fun? Equinix Metal™ offers Windows Server on many of our standard servers for a licensing fee per core. This guide covers basic set up for configuring access to your Windows Server, as well as an introduction to configuring the networking in Windows to use Equinix Metal features.

You Will Need

  • An Equinix Metal Account
  • A VLAN in the Metro where you are provisioning your Windows Server. This guide uses a VLAN with VNID 3400.
  • Another server connected to the VLAN to test connectivity with. In this example, the server is using IP address on VNID 3400. (Optional, but handy).

Deploying the Server

Deploy a fresh Windows server On Demand from the Equinix Metal console. Select the Location, Plan, and Windows as your Operating System.

Provisioning a Server with Windows Server

This guide uses Windows Server 2022 on a c3.small.x86 named "windows-server-setup" in its examples. The networking, SSH, and user data settings were all left as default.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Access

Microsoft Remote Desktop is a common way to access remote Windows servers and is available for many platforms. It is also the default experience for accessing a Windows server on Equinix Metal.

While your server is provisioning, grab the appropriate Remote Desktop client for your system from Microsoft.

After your sever finishes provisioning, check out its Overview page.

Example Server Overview Page

At the top, click RDP Access which will pop up the information that you need to enter into your Remote Desktop client to connect to your server.

Example RDS Information from the Overview Page

The password will be available in the Equinix Metal console for the first 24 hours after provisioning. It will be automatically redacted from the console after that time.

In Remote Desktop, entering the server's IP Address and server name.

Adding a PC in Remote Desktop

Double-click on the server entry in Remote Desktop and enter the User Account information from Equinix Metal.

Entering User Account Information in Remote Desktop

You will probably encounter a certificate warning when trying to connect; your server uses a self-signed certificate. You can verify that the certificate is coming from the Equinix Metal server with the expected hostname, and continue.

Once a connection is established, you should be at the Server Manager Dashboard of the Windows server.

Example Server Manager in Windows

SSH Access

Unlike our Linux servers, SSH access to your Windows server is not automatically enabled or configured. If you want to use SSH, you'll have to enable and configure it in Windows yourself. Following the Microsoft documentation, install the OpenSSH server components.

First, run PowerShell as an Administrator. Note: if you are using Remote Desktop on a Mac, you can simulate right-clicking with a two-finger click on the trackpad. Check to see which OpenSSH components are already installed.

Get-WindowsCapability -Online | Where-Object Name -like 'OpenSSH*'

Which should return:

Name  : OpenSSH.Client~~~~
State : Installed

Name  : OpenSSH.Server~~~~
State : NotPresent

Typically, Equinix Metal's images have the client component installed, but in order to reach this server via SSH, you'll also need the sever component.

To install OpenSSH.Server run:

Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name OpenSSH.Server~~~~

When it's finished, it'll return:

Path          :
Online        : True
RestartNeeded : False

To enable SSH for just this session, start the SSH server.

Start-Service sshd

Upon enabling, you should be able to SSH into the Windows server with the User Account.

The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
ED25519 key fingerprint is SHA256:3eSZ.......
This key is not known by any other names
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (ED25519) to the list of known hosts.'s password:
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.20348.643]
(c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

admin@WINDOWS-SERVER- C:\Users\Admin

More detailed documentation on OpenSSH for Windows Server is available from Microsoft, and includes things like configuring firewall rules, SSH configuration files, and uninstalling.

OOB Console Access

Similar to just general SSH, the Out-of-Band (OOB) Console is not enabled automatically on Windows. The purpose of the OOB console is to enable you to potentially recover your server should it become otherwise unresponsive or inaccessible.

In order for it to work with your server, you have to enable Windows Emergency Management Services (EMS), which allows the OOB console to access Windows when something goes wrong.

First, connect to your Windows server with Remote Desktop, and run PowerShell as an Administrator. Then, run the bcdedit command to turn EMS on.

bcdedit /ems ON

Another thing to note about connecting with the OOB console. When you open the channel, Windows defaults to an SAC shell, and you can create a command prompt channel using the cmd command.

~ ssh
[SOS Session Ready. Use ~? for help.]
[Note: You may need to press RETURN or Ctrl+L to get a prompt.]

The Command Prompt session was successfully launched.
EVENT:   A new channel has been created.  Use "ch -?" for channel help.
Channel: Cmd0001

Once you have created the channel, press Esc then Tab to bring up the channel description.

Name:                  Cmd0001
Description:           Command
Type:                  VT-UTF8
Channel GUID:          a45c61e9-d210-11ec-8a0a-0c42a17ea21d
Application Type GUID: 63d02271-8aa4-11d5-bccf-00b0d014a2d0

Press <esc><tab> for next channel.
Press <esc><tab>0 to return to the SAC channel.
Use any other key to view this channel.

Press any key from here to bring you to a login prompt for your cmd session. You can leave the Domain field empty.

Please enter login credentials.
Username: Admin
Password: ****************

Once you have successfully authenticated, you will be at a command-line for your Windows Server.

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.20348.643]
(c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


To exit cmd, type exit, which should bring you back to the SAC shell. To close the OOB console type ~. which will close the connection from your local machine to the OOB console.

Configuring Networking Modes

Having taken care of the ways in which you can connect to your Windows server, let's take a look at configuring Windows to use Equinix Metal VLANs.

First, convert your Windows Server to the Hybrid Bonded networking mode and add it to the VLAN. This guide uses a VLAN in the same metro with VNID 3400.

Hybrid Bonded Mode and Adding VLAN in the Console

Then, configure Windows to be able to use the VLAN. Connect to the server with Remote Desktop and open the Server Manager. On the Local Server page, the is an entry for NIC Teaming that should be enabled. Click Enabled.

NIC Teaming in the Server Manager

If your local server doesn't appear in the list as Online, you will have to add it. Click TASKS Add Server

Adding a Server to the NIC Teaming Configuration

On the DNS tab, use the search to find the name of your server, click the arrow in the center, and click OK to add it.

Searching and Adding the Local Server

Now the network interfaces for your server ports, including bond0, should appear on the NIC Teaming page.

Local Server NIC Teaming Interfaces

Now we can add an interface for the VLAN. Select bond0 in both the Teams panel and the Adapters and Interfaces panel. Click TASKS in Adapters and Interfaces, and Add Interface.

Adding an Interface from NIC Teaming

In the New Team Interface panel, make sure the Specific VLAN option is selected and fill in the VNID of the VLAN. Click OK.

Adding the VLAN to a New Interface

Return to the Server Manager, and refresh the view. There should now be an entry for the new interface for bond0.

VLAN Interface in Server Manager

We still need to assign a IP address for this server on the VLAN, so click the IPV4 settings bond0_bond0 - VLAN 3440, which should take you to the Network Connections page in Windows. Right-click on the device for bond0_bond0 - VLAN 3440 and open its Properties.

Selecting Device Properties for VLAN Device

Select Internet Protocol Version4 (TCP/IPv4) from the menu and click Properties.

VLAN Device's IPv4 Properties

Now you can assign the IP address for the server to use on the VLAN. If you already have another server on the VLAN that you want to be able to connect to, give it an IP address in the same subnet. In this example, we already have another server using IP address, so the Windows server is getting

Assigning the IP Address to the VLAN Device

Click OK.

Should now be able to ping both servers from the other at the assigned IP addresses. From the Windows server:


Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

And from the outside server:

root@da-c3-small-x86-01:~# ping

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=128 time=0.753 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=128 time=0.871 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=128 time=0.948 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=128 time=0.789 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=128 time=0.889 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=128 time=0.829 ms
--- ping statistics ---
6 packets transmitted, 6 received, 0% packet loss, time 5028ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.753/0.846/0.948/0.064 ms

Making a Network Configuration Permanent

There is a task in the Windows task scheduler that is set to run at boot that runs the cloudbase-init (cloud-init) function, configuring Windows to use the default Equinix Metal Layer 3 networking configuration.

Since it runs at boot, if you reboot your Windows server, it will also reset the networking back to the default Equinix Metal Layer 3 configuration.

To disable this function the cloudbase-init service needs to be disabled, and the scheduled task needs to be disabled or removed.

Use Windows Services to disable the the cloudbase-init service.

Disabling cloudbase-init in Services

And use the Windows Task Scheduler to disable the Packet-Config-Network boot-time task.

Deleting Packet-Config-Network in Task Scheduler

To disable these through the command line, run PowerShell as an Administrator, and the use commands:

sc.exe config "cloudbase-init" start=disabled
Get-ScheduledTask -TaskName "Packet-Config-Network"
Unregister-ScheduledTask -TaskName "Packet-Config-Network" -Confirm:$false


This has been a quick overview of how to get Windows Server up and running on Equinix Metal with examples of how to access your server and configure some of our networking features. If you're looking to experiment with other operating systems, most of the platform documentation contains Linux examples, and there is also a introductory-level guide on Setting Up an ESXi Server.

Last updated

25 June, 2024


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