Windows Server 2012 – converting between core, gui and minimal interface versions

Windows Server 2012 – converting between core, gui and minimal interface versions

In Windows Server 2012 is now possible to switch between various install options (Gui, Core) through simple PoweSshell commands, installing/uninstalling features.

Core Minimal GUI Desktop Experience
File And Storage Services
FileAndStorage-Services
File And Storage Services
FileAndStorage-Services
File And Storage Services
FileAndStorage-Services
File And Storage Services
FileAndStorage-Services
Storage Services
Storage-Services
Storage Services
Storage-Services
Storage Services
Storage-Services
Storage Services
Storage-Services
.NET Framework 4.5 Features
NET-Framework-45-Features
.NET Framework 4.5 Features
NET-Framework-45-Features
.NET Framework 4.5 Features
NET-Framework-45-Features
.NET Framework 4.5 Features
NET-Framework-45-Features
.NET Framework 4.5
NET-Framework-45-Core
.NET Framework 4.5
NET-Framework-45-Core
.NET Framework 4.5
NET-Framework-45-Core
.NET Framework 4.5
NET-Framework-45-Core
WCF Services
NET-WCF-Services42
WCF Services
NET-WCF-Services43
WCF Services
NET-WCF-Services44
WCF Services
NET-WCF-Services45
TCP Port Sharing
NET-WCF-TCP-PortSharing42
TCP Port Sharing
NET-WCF-TCP-PortSharing43
TCP Port Sharing
NET-WCF-TCP-PortSharing44
TCP Port Sharing
NET-WCF-TCP-PortSharing45
Ink and Handwriting Services
InkAndHandwritingServices
Media Foundation
Server-Media-Foundation
Media Foundation
Server-Media-Foundation
Media Foundation
Server-Media-Foundation
Media Foundation
Server-Media-Foundation
User Interfaces and Infrastructure
User-Interfaces-Infra
User Interfaces and Infrastructure
User-Interfaces-Infra
User Interfaces and Infrastructure
User-Interfaces-Infra
Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure
Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure
Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure
Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
Desktop Experience
Desktop-Experience
Server Graphical Shell
Server-Gui-Shell
Server Graphical Shell
Server-Gui-Shell
Windows Powershell
PowerShellRoot
Windows Powershell
PowerShellRoot
Windows Powershell
PowerShellRoot
Windows Powershell
PowerShellRoot
Windows Powershell 3.0
PowerShell
Windows Powershell 3.0
PowerShell
Windows Powershell 3.0
PowerShell
Windows Powershell 3.0
PowerShell
Windows PowerShell ISE
PowerShell-ISE
Windows PowerShell ISE
PowerShell-ISE
Windows PowerShell ISE
PowerShell-ISE
WoW64 Support
WoW64-Support
WoW64 Support
WoW64-Support
WoW64 Support
WoW64-Support
WoW64 Support
WoW64-Support

(Click here for a nicer version of the above in .pdf format)

I couldn’t find a command for checking the current install option on the server, so I used this:
# list all INSTALLED Windows Server features
Get-WindowsFeature | where {$_.Installed -eq "True"} | ft DisplayName, Name, Installed
credit goes here

the presence of [-Source] variable determines if local binaries are to be used or if they will be downlodaded from ‘Windows Update’

In order to convert between the install options of Windows Server 2012 run one of the following in PowerShell as appropriate:

Core -> Gui
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -Restart -Source C:mountdirwindowswinsxs
or
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

Core -> Minimal Interface
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra -Restart -Source C:mountdirwindowswinsxs
or
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra -Restart

Gui -> Core
Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra -Restart

Gui -> Minimal Interface
Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

Minimal Interface -> Core
Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra -Restart

Minimal Interface -> Gui
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -Restart -Source C:mountdirwindowswinsxs
or
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

This is how technet recommends moving between install options, however I found that the above is sufficient.

To reach the installation state in each row… Run the Windows PowerShell install/uninstall commands with these values for the Name parameter: Or, select these features in Server Manager:
Server Core installation option none none
Minimal Server Interface Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure
Server with a GUI installation option Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,
Server-Gui-Shell
Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure,
Server Graphical Shell
Desktop Experience feature installed Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,
Server-Gui-Shell,
Desktop-Experience
Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure,
Server Graphical Shell,
Desktop Experience

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831786.aspx

 

UPDATE (08/04/2013) – install-windows-feature may give errors talking about non-existing sources. Hence the DVD source may need mounting (see http://p0w3rsh3ll.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/switch-from-windows-2012-core-to-gui-mode-hands-on/)

# 1. Create an empty directory             
mkdir c:mount            
# 2. Mount the Standard image            
Mount-WindowsImage -Path C:mount -ImagePath D:sourcesinstall.wim -Index 2 -ReadOnly

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