Turn on GUI from command line in Windows Server 2012

In the installation process of Windows Server 2012 you are given a choice  would you like to install the Server Core Installation or the Server with the GUI.

A great feature is that we are given a possibility to revert back and forth between a GUI and the non GUI…


We have to use Powershell for this and I recommend that you get pretty comfortable with it – I am also trying:)

We will start with the GUI edition and convert it to a full Core version without the GUI.

In Powershell type:


Wait a moment…



After the completion a restart will be needed.




After restart and a successful login only a command line prompt window will show. Type “Powershell” to start Powershell.





To revert to full GUI edition just type “Add-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra” and restart server!

This is also all possible with the famous DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool. This is the command:

“Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer /featurename:Server-Gui-Shell /featurename:Server-Gui-Mgmt”


If you don’t like the core or the GUI version maybe you could meet with the “Minimal Server Interface” concept in the middle. In short, the only thing that you remove is the “Server-Gui-Shell”.

Line from technet: “This is similar to a Server with a GUI installation, but Internet Explorer 10, Windows Explorer, the desktop, and the Start screen are not installed. Microsoft Management Console (MMC), Server Manager, and a subset of Control Panel are still present.”

More details  about Minimal Server Interface and the rest of the implementations you can find here –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831786.aspx

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1 Comment

  1. Hi,

    When i entered cmd i have received below error, Can you please help out on this

    PS C:\Users\Administrator> Add-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgm
    Add-WindowsFeature : The request to list features available on the specified
    server failed.
    A DISM session could not be opened.
    An error occurred accessing the temporary folder
    Ensure that the path to the temporary folder exists and that you have
    Read/Write permissions on the folder. Error: 0x80070070
    At line:1 char:1
    + Add-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (@{Vhd=; Credent…Name=localh
    ost}:PSObject) [Install-WindowsFeature], DeploymentProviderException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DISMAPI_Error__Failed_Opening_Dism_Session,Micro


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