Add GUI interface to Server 2016 core installation

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Is there any way of adding the graphical user interface (GUI) to a Server 2016 core installation?
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Senior Network Consultant / Engineer
Commented:
Unfortunately Server 2012 and 2012R2 are the only versions that could switch between core and GUI. For 2016 you'll have to reinstall.
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Nope. This is Server 2016, that option has been retired. You'll need a reinstall.
Fresh from the source:
Install Server with Desktop Experience
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/getting-started-with-server-with-desktop-experience

Applies To: Windows Server 2016
Note:
Unlike some previous releases of Windows Server, you cannot convert between Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience after installation. If you install Server with Desktop Experience and later decide to use Server Core, you should do a fresh installation.
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
On a side note: "Core" doesn't mean "no GUI elements at all". Some GUI elements are still available, just start Notepad, for example.
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Prabhin MPDevOps Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi ,
Please check this out for enabling GUI in server core,
https://4sysops.com/archives/how-to-install-the-gui-on-windows-server-2016/
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
It might help if you outline what tasks you are trying to perform and this way you might be provided with options to achieve your what you need.

core is a minimal environment to allocate more resources to the VM versus running a full blown host OS that will consume unnecessary resources ...
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Just to take away some of those initial reservations:
* notepad is there
* regedit is there
* taskmgr is there
* explorer is obviously not there, but there's, for example, https://explorerplusplus.com/
* You can use notepad's "Open" dialog to paste files while in an RDP session to Core
* Notepad++ works as well (just copied the minimalist version)
The following is a screenshot from a Core 2016. Note that explorer.exe is missing in the Windows folder, and that the "Security" tab is gone from the folder properties.
Server 2016 Core with GUI elements
IT GuyNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
Prabhin MP,

Unfortunately, this has been removed:

"3 years ago
They removed this option in later versions of Windows 2016 preview. No longer it's possible to switch between GUI and core. https://redmondmag.com/articles/2015/08/27/windows-server-2016-preview-3.aspx"

I tried running these PowerShell commands in my Server Core installation for enabling the GUI and I found that they didn't work and received error messages.

If anyone else knows of any ways of enabling or restoring the GUI in a Server 2016 Core installation please let me know.
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
That's what Jeremy and me already mentioned.
I actually posted the wrong direction above; it doesn't change anything, because it's the same for either direction: it's just not possible, unless you reinstall the server, sorry.
The link should have been
Install Server Core
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/getting-started-with-server-core
Note
Unlike some previous releases of Windows Server, you cannot convert between Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience after installation. If you install Server Core and later decide to use Server with Desktop Experience, you should do a fresh installation.
IT GuyNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
Are there any third party utilities that will allow a GUI or a GUI like interface to be installed on used on a Server 2016 Core installation?

I'm already familiar with Explorer++ and am wondering if there are any more advanced utilities available.
Jeremy WeisingerSenior Network Consultant / Engineer

Commented:
THere are none that I know of. What is the function of the server going to be? Most things can be done from another computer using management tools.

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