GUI or no GUI !?


The GUI (Graphical User Interface) is just a Windows feature in Server 2012. You can add it and remove it as needed. This also applies to Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 10TP.

Server 2012 comes with 4 levels of GUI:

  1. No GUI = Core
  2. Minimal GUI = Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra feature
  3. Regular GUI = minimal + Server-Gui-Shell (default if you install as GUI)
  4. Full GUI = regular + Desktop-Experience Core04

In Powershell the GUI options are displayed as:

Core03

If the server ever had the GUI installed, then the bits are there (under C:\Windows\WinSxS by default). If this a Core install and has never had a GUI before, then the bits are likely to be missing as well.

To check whether the bits are there or not:

$ComputerName = "MyCoreServer"
$Session = New-PSSession -ComputerName $ComputerName
Enter-PSSession -Session $Session
Get-WindowsFeature | Where { $_.Installed }

These commands will enter a remote PS session with the Core server, and list installed features.

This command will check for the 2 features we need to have the GUI:

Get-WindowsFeature | 
    where { $_.Name -eq "Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra" -or 
            $_.Name -eq "Server-Gui-Shell" }

If the result looks like:

Core05

Removed = not installed AND the bits are missing.

We need the install.win file from the WS 2012 media. Mount the install CD.

Next, identify which drive letter is your DVD drive, run:

Get-Volume

Next, identify the index number of the installation media needed, run:

Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath D:\sources\install.wim

This should display:

Core08

The server version I’m working with in this example is DataCenter, so the media I need is index #4, run:

Install-WindowsFeature -Name "Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra","Server-Gui-Shell" -source:wim:d:\sources\install.wim:4 

Core09Reboot, and you got GUI.

Restart-Computer

To remove the GUI later, run:

Remove-WindowsFeature -Name "Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra","Server-Gui-Shell"

 

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One response

  1. Pingback: Windows Server 2016 GUI options | Sam's Corner

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