Changing your Windows Server 2012 from Server Core to GUI and back again! #windows

Image representing Windows as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

With the update to the Server Core functionality in Windows Server 2012 – it is now possible to switch from Server Core to the GUI and also from the GUI to Server Core. It does involve a restart but this is something that wasn’t possible in the first edition (Server 2008) without completely reinstalling Windows.

I like the Microsoft approach to this kind of new technology – release something – listen to the customers/technical implementers – improve the product

It’s a system that has worked well for Microsoft for years, yes there are some issues (Vista/ DRM on Xbox One) – but at least there isn’t a dictatorship like with some fruity products we know. Who in the technology industry wants to be told that a certain feature you like, isn’t in fact likeable, not because they have a solid reason, just simply because it interferes with the pretty colours of the GUI.

I digress –

Here is a little run through of how to get from Server core to the GUI and back again (by Bilbo Baggins 😉

Run the following command in Powershell (requires a restart)

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-GUI-Shell -Restart


To convert from Server Core mode to a GUI mode, follow these steps when the server is initially  configured for Server Core mode;

  1. Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath path to wim\install.wim
  2. Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-GUI-Shell -restart – Source wim: path to WIM\install.wim: (Index # from step 1)
  3. For Windows Update as the source use – Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

After this point you can switch he server back to Server Core mode whenever it is convenient

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server0Gui-Mgmt-Infra -restart (Restart required)


Hope this helps for your practicing with Server Core 🙂

About apoth0r
IT Professional and Cloud Evangelist! & Streamer! Managed Services | Solutions | Procurement | Support Services | Cloud | Fujitsu

One Response to Changing your Windows Server 2012 from Server Core to GUI and back again! #windows

  1. vdinotes says:

    Reblogged this on vdinotes and commented:

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