Windows Server 2016: Switch from Server Core to Desktop Experience

I tried to install Windows Server 2016, I got the dialog that ask me to select the operating system that I would like to install as shown below:

Windows Server 2016 without desktop experience

You may be also interested to check Windows Server 2016: Expand Virtual Machine Hard Disk & Extend the Operating System Drive.

Actually, I have confused which option should I use

  • Windows Server 2016 Standard or,
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard (Desktop Experience).

Unfortunately, I selected the first option “Windows Server 2016 Standard“, After taking a long time to install the windows server 2016, it was the shock, I got the console interface, not the normal GUI interface as shown below:

Install Windows Server 2016 core

Convert from Windows Server 2016 core to Windows Server 2016 GUI

In previous releases for Windows Server, we were able to add the GUI functionality to the Windows Server core!

Unfortunately, In Windows Server 2016 and later, it’s not longer doable to convert from Windows Server 2016 core to Windows Server 2016 with Desktop experience and vice versa!

Note: Windows Server 2016 Standard option refers to the core!

Unfortunately, there is no solution else performing a fresh installation!


Install Windows Server 2016 with GUI (Desktop Experience)

Windows Server 2016 Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements for Windows Server 2016 with desktop experience is differ from Windows Server 2016 Core.

Below is the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Server 2016 with desktop experience

  • CPU: 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor.
  • RAM: 2 GB, (512 for core)
  • Disk: 32 GB as absolute minimum value, (4 GB for core).

Windows Server 2016 Installation Steps

  1. Mount your Windows Server 2016 ISO image.
  2. Run Setup file.
  3. Select your language, time, currency format and input method.
Switch from Server core to GUI in windows server 2016
  • Click on “Install now” button.
Install windows server 2016
  • Select, “Windows Server 2016 Standard (Desktop Experience)“, then click “Next”.
Install Windows Server 2016 with GUI (Desktop Experience)
  • Accept the license terms and click “Next”.
Windows Server 2016 license terms
  • Select “Install Windows Only“.
Type of installation in Windows Server 2016

It’s highly recommended to perform a clean installation for Windows Server 2016.

  • The windows installation will start!

Finally, the Windows Server 2016 has been installed with desktop experience, instead of getting the console interface as shown below

Windows Server 2016 core cmd

I got Windows Server 2016 with desktop experience as shown below!

Windows Server 2016 with GUI desktop experience

Conclusion

Unlike previous Windows Server releases, you can’t convert from Windows Server 2016 core to GUI and vice versa, the only solution is performing a fresh installation!

See Also

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