These tasks I do for every Windows 2012 server that I setup.
1) Change the time zone
2) Enable remote management
3) Enable remote desktop
4) Turn off Windows Firewall
5) Verify the time is correct
6) Give server a descriptive name following the standard naming convention
7) Join the domain
8) For app servers, add appropriate domain app group to the local administrator’s group
9) Turn off IE Enhanced Security Configuration for Administrators
10) Install Microsoft Update Services and patch, patch, patch!
You may need to add these sites as trusted sites in Internet Explorer:
11) Download and install BgInfo from technet Sysinternals
You may need to enable downloads from the Internet zone in Internet Explorer.
Internet Option, Security, Internet, Custom level…
Scroll down to Downloads / File download
In addition, you should use company wallpaper.
12) Change folder viewing preferences
13) Update PowerShell
Set shortcut to run as administratior
Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned (Need to run once for both 32 bit and 64 bit)
14) Install Remote Server Administration Tools
Server Manager / Manage / Add Roles and Features
Role-based or feature-based installation
Select your server, skip roles, and go to features.
Scroll down to Remote Server Administration Tools
From here, you can select what you need based on the server. I usually add Active Directory module for WIndows Powershell, Active Directory Administrative Center, AD DS Snap-Ins and Command-Line Tools. If this is a host machine, I also add Hyper-V GUI management Tools and Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell.
15) Pin common tools to the taskbar such as Active Directory Users and Computers and SQL Management Studio