Microsoft has always been recommending the Server Core Installation for its servers over the full server installation. As is well known, Server Core Installation which is the minimal install of the server version reduces the space for attack vector by hackers. It also reduces the usage of resources. But the Server Core Installation makes administration intimidating as it requires the administrators to be a powershell expert.
With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has introduced a new feature that would allow switching from Server GUI to Server Core Installation and vice versa. This enables administrators to install and configure the server in GUI and then switch to Server Core installation. Although there are many ways to switch from Server GUI to Server Core installation, the easiest way to perform this switching is by simple powershell commands. I am gonna show you how. For this, I have installed Windows Server 2012 standard GUI installation in Vmware workstation.
Then open powershell and type the command
“Remove-windowsfeature Server-gui-shell,Server-gui-mgmt-infra” and hit Enter.
The process of disabling the GUI starts and the display is as same as below.
After a short time, the process is completed and it prompts you for a restart.
Restart the machine by typing “shutdown –R –T 0″ and hit ENTER.
After the reboot, the system asks for administrator passwordon entering which it switches to Server Core Installation.
To enable back the GUI, enter into powershell by typing command “powershell.exe” in the cmd and hit ENTER. In powershell, type the same command as above replacing Remove with Install and hit ENTER.
After completing the process, the system prompts for a reboot. Reboot the system by typing command “shutdown –r –t 0″ and hit ENTER.
The system successfully switches over to Standard GUI installation.
Although the Server Core Installation is the preferred deployment, it does not support all roles. The roles supported by the server core installation are,
- Active Directory Domain Services
- Active Directory Certificate Services
- DHCP server.
- DNS server.
- AD LDS
- Streaming Media services
- Print and Document Services
- Web server
- Windows update server
- Active Directory Rights Management Server
- Routing and Remote Access Server.