How To Remove And Add GUI From Server 2012

Seems like Microsoft keeps taking ideas from Linux, which is a good thing as now we can install and remove the Graphical User Interface or add it on a server core installation.

You may want to do this if when you installed your server you installed the Graphical version and now you no longer need it. This will make your server run lighter then it does with the GUI enabled. If you have a server core you can also install the GUI with a simple PowerShell command.

There are two ways to remove the graphical user interface from your Server 2012 or Server 2012 R2 installation. You can do it from both by  the shell using Powershell and graphically by using Server Manager

Removing GUI From Server 2012 R2 Using Server Manager

  • Open Server Manager
  • Select “Manage” (on the top right hand corner)
  • Select “Remove Roles and Features”
  • Then you will need to select your server and click “Next”
  • Then you will be greeted by the Remove Roles page since the GUI is not a Server Role you can just select “Next”
  • Now you are on the Remove Features page. Unselect the “User Interfaces and Infrastructure” and hit the “Next” button
  • The next page you can select the server to reboot automatically. If you want it to reboot automatically then leave it checked, if you want to reboot your server manually then uncheck the check box.
  • Once your server boots up you will be in Windows Server 2012 R2 Core version

 Removing GUI From Server 2012 R2 Using PowerShell

  • Run PowerShell as administrator
  • Run the command Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
  • Now reboot your server (You can do this from PowerShell by running the command Shutdown –r -t 0)
  • Once your server boots up you will be in Windows Server 2012 R2 Core version


Adding GUI In Server 2012 R2 Core Installation

  • Run the command powershell that will open powershell in server core
  • Run the command Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
  • Reboot the Server by running the command Shutdown –r -t 0
  • Once your server boots up you will be in the graphical version of Windows Server 2012 R2

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