How to Setup Active Directory Domain With VirtualBox and Join Computers – Part 1

In this step by step, I will teach you how to setup active directory directory services with a domain using VirtualBox. The demos are based on  Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10.

We’ll cover the following in this part

  1. Install VirtualBox and add Virtual Machines
  2. Install Windows Server 2019 on the new Virtual Machine
  3. Configure Active Directory Directory Services
  4. Create the Domain and Configure the Domain Controller


1. Install VirtualBox and add Virtual Machines

Step 1 – Download and install VirtualBox VM. Get it free from here.

Step 2 – Download Windows Server 2019  and Windows 10 Enterprise. I’m using the 90 days trial version. I think this is enough time to  get used to it.

Make sure the download the ISO files. Save them in a folder

Step 3 – Open the VirtualBox and click on the New button

Step 4 – Enter the name. Then choose the type and version as shown below.

Creating New Virtual Machine in VirtualBox
Creating New Virtual Machine in VirtualBox

Step 5 – Set the Memory Size to 2048 MB

Step 6 – Ensure the ‘Create a virtual hard disk now‘ is selected under disk. Click Create.

Step 7 – Choose VDI(VirtualBox Disk Image) in the ‘Hard disk file type’ and also select ‘Dynamically allocated’

Step 8 – Set the Hard disk size to 30GB


2. Install Windows Server 2019 on the new Virtual Machine

Now we would use the ISO file we downloaded to install Windows Server 2019 in the new virtual machine we created. Follow the steps

Step 1 – Start the new Virtual Machine (Right-click > Start)

Step 2 – Select the ISO file you downloaded and click Start

Selecting the disk image
Selecting the disk image

Step 3 – Follow the onscreen prompt to install windows. Ensure to choose ‘Windows Server 2019 Standard Evaluation(Desktop Experience)”

Also ensure to choose Custom Install from the next screen. Then wait for the installation to complete

Step 4 – Choose an Admin password in the Customize setting window as shown. Click next to complete the installation

Step 5 – Now you can log on to Windows. The Server Manager Dashboard opens up as shown below.

Step 6 – First install ‘Virtual Box Guest Additions’. This would allow you to set the VM screen to full screen. See the video.

Server Manager Dashboard
Server Manager Dashboard


3. Configure the Active Directory Directory Services(AD DS)

Now we would set up this computer as a domain controller. We do this by installing the AD DS role to the server.

Step 1 – Click on Add Role and Features in the Dashboard. This opens the Add Roles and Features Wizard.

Add Roles and Features Wizard
Add Roles and Features Wizard

Step 2 – Click on Next > Next until you have a list of Features

Step 3 – In the list, check Active Directory Directory Services as shown below

Step 4 – Then complete the installation by clicking on Next > Next until the installation completes.


4. Create a Domain and Configure the Domain Controller

To complete the process of creating a domain, we need to promote the sever to a domain controller. Follow the steps below to do that.

Step 1 – Click on the yellow triangle at the upper right and click ‘Promote this server to domain controller’. The ‘Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard’ opens up as shown below

Step 2 – Click on ‘Add a new forest’ and  enter a name for the domain and add .local suffix. For this example, I’m using KTG.local

Creating a new Forest
Creating a new Forest

Step 3 – Click on next and then enter a password. Click Next

Don’t worry about DNS because it would choose it’s own

Step 4 – Allow the default Netbios domain name which is the same same but without .local suffix.

Click on Next to complete the installation. Allow the system to restart.

Step 5 – You can now login with KTG\Adminstrator. Enter the password you set.

At this point, you have created a domain as well as  a domain controller. Congrats!

But we are not done yet. We’ll proceed to Part 2 where we would then create user,  set up the network and join computers to the domain.



Kindson Munonye is currently completing his doctoral program in Software Engineering in Budapest University of Technology and Economics

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