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How to Convert Windows Server 2012 Core to Full GUI OR Full GUI to Core-using Powershell

Windows Server 2012 introduced with many new features and one of that in Core OS. 
Core OS boasts many enhancements which include reducing the installation footprint, attack surface and management overhead. One of the good option is Features on Demand it allows the administrator to remove roles which are not needed to help reduce the disk size required for the installation.  By default, all features are stored in the %windir%\winsxs directory, but administrators can use the uninstall-windowsfeature <featurename> –remove command to delete the files associated with that feature from the winsxs directory. 

Windows 2012 Core OS come with windows feature called Server-Gui-Shell feature, which can be install and uninstall as required and this feature only provide the flexibility to jump from Windows Core to Windows Full GUI and Vice Versa.

How to convert from Full Gui To Core
Please follow below steps to convert Windows server 2012 Full GUI to Core 
  • Run PowerShell as administration.
  • Execute the command uninstall-windowsfeature server-gui-mgmt-infra,server-gui-shell –restart as showed in below snap, it will start removing Gui shell from windows feature.
  • Once feature uninstall complete server will reboot and you will able to login in to Windows server Core OS.
     How to convert from Core to Full Gui
      If you have removed the Server-Gui-Shell feature from Windows Server 2012 or you install Server Core edition and want to convert to full GUI, you must perform few extra steps tasks that prior to execute the actual PowerShell command to convert Core to Full Gui.
  • Mount the Windows Server 2012 ISO/Media to the server.
  • Run the command prompt as administrator.
  • Make Directory called source on C: using “mkdir c:\soruce” command.
  • To check your image wim file index using command “dism /get-imageinfo /ImageFile:d:\sources\install.wim”.

  • Mount wim file using command “dism /mount-wim /wimfile:d:\sources\install.wim /index:4 /mountdir:c:\soruce /readonly”
  • Once image mounting is completed 100%, run PowerShell command on came command prompt.
  • Execute PS command “install-windowsfeature server-gui-mgmt-infra,server-gui-shell –restart –source c:\source\windows\winsxs” to convert Core OS to Full GUI.

  • It will start installing windows Shell gui windows feature on server using required dll files from mounted imange wim file.

  • Once all installation completed 100% server will reboot automatically and you will be able to login in to Full Gui mode once server is online.

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