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Convert Windows 2012 User Interface between Server Core, Minimal GUI & Full GUI

Posted by Brajesh Panda on January 17, 2013

Windows 2012 brings in another user interface for use; GUI, Server Core & Something in-between called Minimal Server Interface

  1. Server Core – always installed and enabled; the baseline feature for all Windows Servers
  2. Server Graphical Management Tools & Infrastructure – functionality for Minimal Server Interface
  3. Server Graphical Shell – equivalent to Server with a GUI

Key thing is you can change between this interfaces whenever you want.

Complete GUI = Server Core + Graphical Management Tools & Infrastructure + Graphical Shell

We can use powershell to change from Full Graphical to Minimal Interface & Back.

Conversion need server reboot. For minimal server interface we can use below commands to install and uninstall server-gui-shell feature.

Install-WindowsFeature Server-GUI-Shell

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-GUI-Shell

But if we want to convert from Server Core, we need to define the path to server WIM image files, else Features On Demand will be looking for interent to download them; size of data is too large i.e. more than 4GB.

You can set a local path or network path for this and use below command to install.

Install-WindowsFeature <featurename> -Source wim:<path>:<index>,

To find the Index

Here is the full command to install ServerDataCenter, with Index 4

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