Windows Server 2012 – Convert your Server from the “Full Version” (with Graphical Interface) to the Core Server Version and Vice-Versa

Expertise Level: Medium 

Related information:  http://iweb.com/dedicated-server/windows

In production environments where server security and the efficient use of resources are essential, it is strongly recommended to build a server by installing only the required components (strict minimum). 

In the Core Server version, you will have no graphical interface to manage your server and all management tasks will have to be carried out in the Powershell command utility. If you are unable to manage your server by using Powershell commands only, remain on the full version with graphical interface. 

In the older versions of Windows Server, users were able to install the Windows Server with graphical interface (full installation) or without the graphical interface (Core Server). However in Windows Server 2012, the process of moving between the Core Server and full versions is simplified. 

In this article: 

Convert a Windows Server 2012 from the full version (with graphical interface) to the Core Server version (without graphical interface)

Convert a Windows Server 2012 from the Core Server version (without graphical interface) to the full version (with graphical interface) 

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1- Convert a Windows Server 2012 from the full version (with graphical interface) to the Core Server version (without graphical interface)

 Note that the steps in this tutorial can be executed on a physical server (dedicated) or a virtual server running Windows 2012 Server. 

  1. Connect remotely to the physical or virtual server you wish to convert.
  2. Open the Powershell interface.
  3. Execute the following command: Dism /online /disable-feature /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer
  4. Wait for the process to complete (this might take a couple minutes).
  5. Once the percentage of completion is at 100%, wait until a confirmation message is displayed (this might take a couple minutes). 

Once the confirmation message telling you the operation was successful is displayed, you will need to restart your server. Only reply Y (“yes”) to proceed with the server reboot. 

       6.The server will restart and the specified functions will be deactivated. Wait until the server restarts (this might take a couple minutes).

       7.Unless you are connected through a console (Hyper-V or KVMIP), you will have to reconnect to your server via Remote Desktop once the server has restarted. Log in to your server with the appropriate credentials.

       8.Your server is now converted to the Core Server version.

2- Convert a Windows Server 2012 from the Core Server version (without graphical interface) to the full version (with graphical interface) 

Note that the steps in this tutorial can be executed on a physical server (dedicated) or a virtual server running under Windows 2012 Server. 

  1. Connect remotely to the physical or virtual server you wish to convert.
  2. The command window will be displayed.
  3. Execute the following command:  Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:Server-Gui-Mgmt /featurename:Server-Gui-Shell /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer
  4. Wait for the process to complete (this might take a couple minutes). Once the confirmation message telling you the operation was successful is displayed, you will need to restart your server. Only reply Y (“yes”) to proceed with the server reboot.
  5. The server will restart and the specified functions will be activated. Wait until the server restarts (this might take a couple minutes).
  6. Unless you are connected through a console (Hyper-V or KVMIP), you will have to reconnect to your server via Remote Desktop once the server has restarted.
  7. Log in to your server with the appropriate credentials.
  8. Your server is now converted to the full version with graphical interface.

 

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