A few weeks ago Microsoft Released Server 2016 Technical Preview 5. With this update also came a newer update to Nano Server.

The process for creating Nano Server has been improved somewhat by Microsoft. The PowerShell module now covers far more scenarios than it did before.

· There are now two SKUs for Nana Server, Standard and Datacenter
· Some new roles have been included for Nano Server including boot from Wim.
· Reverse Proxy is now a default and built in feature.
· Host and Guest scenarios are now treated separately
· Online Domain Joins are NOT yet a part of the Deployment scenario
· Secure Startup is supported
· Shielded VM is supported (only with the Datacenter SKU)

I will now introduce you to the process from Microsoft to create

· A Nano Server image Deployment folder
· A NanoServer VHD or WIM file

Creating the Nano Server Deployment Folder

To create the Nano Server image Deployment folder you will need to mount the Server 2016 TP5 Media. In this case I have mounted the ISO file and it has been assigned Drive Letter E:

Our first task is to launch Windows PowerShell as Administrator (Elevated) as the functions with manage the WIM file require elevated access.

Once you are in the prompt Copy the Nano Server folder to your local drive. Remember in our case it was mounted to drive E: and in this particular scenario I am going to drop it on to Drive C: for building my images. This can actually be any drive including an external USB device.

Copy-Item -Path E:\NanoServer\ -Destination C:\NanoServer\ -Recurse

We will now move in the new folder we have created and import the new NanoServerImageCreator module.

Set-Location –Path C:\NanoServer
Import-Module .\NanoServerImageGenerator\NanoServerImageGenerator.psd1

Having done this we can now access the three Cmdlets within

Get-Command –module NanoServerImageGenerator

Our next task is to actually populate our local NanoServer folder with files needed to generate a bootable image. This is identical to the normal image generation process with one except, we need to provide the parameter –MediaPath which points to the mounted ISO or DVD of Server 2016 TP5.

To do this we will be using New-NanoServerImage to create both the Image and the Image Deployment folder.

For this particular machine we will assume

· Target filename of C:\VM\NanoTest.vhd
· No Roles
· A NanoServer which will be hosted in Hyper-V (Guest)
· Server SKU of Standard
· Password of ‘P@ssw0rd’ (Yes our tried and not-so trusted dummy password)

Even those this image really can’t do anything the purpose is REALLY just to generate the .\Base folder and pull in all of the needed files to create future NanoServers, so it CAN be a useless VHD.

New-NanoServerImage -MediaPath E:\ -BasePath .\Base -AdministratorPassword $Password -DeploymentType Guest -Edition Standard -TargetPath C:\VM\NanoTest.vhd

This process (depending on your system of course) should not take much more than 2 minutes as it copies files over and creates a single NanoServer in a VHD file called NanoTest.VHD

Once you have completed this process you can now Dismount the DVD / ISO file for Server 2016 TP5 and create other Nano Servers.

Creating a NanoServer VHD

Going forward the trick is to understand the various parameters offered up to you by the New-NanoserverImage Cmdlet when creating images. But here’s a simple script you can use to build a VHD file you can attach to a Virtual Machine

# Host or Guest

# Standard or Datacenter

# Location of boot media and temporary files

# Name of Nanoserver

# Folder for Completed file

# Media type VHD or WIM

# A little PowerShell to Build it all together

# Maximum size if building a VHD file

# Administrator Password

$SecurePassword=(ConvertTo-Securestring –asplaintext –force $Password)

# The magic to tie it all together
New-NanoServerImage -DeploymentType $Type<br>-Edition $Edition
-BasePath $Base <br>-TargetPath $TargetPath
-MaxSize $MaxVHDSize <br>-Storage -Defender
-ComputerName $Computername <br>-AdministratorPassword $SecurePassword </strong> <p>*or if you prefer you can read the Cmdlet like this without the Backticks ()

New-NanoServerImage -DeploymentType $Type -Edition $Edition -BasePath $Base -TargetPath $TargetPath -MaxSize $MaxVHDSize -Storage -Defender -ComputerName $Computername -AdministratorPassword $SecurePassword

Another great way if you prefer is to use the Show-Command Cmdlet to get a free GUI interface to build out that line in PowerShell.

Show-Command New-NanoServerImage

This will present you with a nice GUI interface with which you can select the options for the Cmdlet and have it built out the results.


At this point you can click on Copy to copy the Cmdlet and its parameters to your clipboard.

If you’d like a breakdown of the various parameters in this Cmdlet just read up on http://aka.ms/NanoServer

There is also an alternate Community developed module called DeployImage you can pull down from the PowerShellGallery.com. You can use it if you’d like to play with a different way of creating the Windows Image file for Nanoserver or would like some pre-created PowerShell Windows PE media

I highly encourage for you to check out the new Nano Server in Server 2016 TP5. You can download the current trial version at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-technical-preview

Cheers and enjoy the Powers of Nano Server!