Minimal Server Interface Option windows server 2012

Another Windows Server 2012 configuration option, Minimal Server Interface, allows you to remove some of the graphical components installed with a Server with a GUI installation. The components that are removed include:

  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Windows Explorer
  • Desktop
  • Start Screen
  • Control Panel
  • Taskbar

The Microsoft Management Console, Server Manager, and some Control Panel applets remain on the server.

Converting to a Minimal Server Interface from a Server with a GUI Installation

Both the Server Manager and Windows PowerShell can be used to convert a Server with a GUI installation to a Minimal Server Interface configuration.

You can use the steps in the following procedure to convert a Server with a GUI installation to a Minimal Server Interface Configuration using Server Manager:

  1. On the Windows Server 2012 system, open Server Manager as shown in Figure 24.
Figure 24: Windows Server 2012 – Server Manager Console

2. As shown in Figure 25, click Manage and select Remove Roles and Features.

Figure 25: Server Manager Console – Remove Roles and Features Selection

3. In the Remove Roles and Features Wizard (Figure 26), on the Before You Begin page, select Next.

Figure 26: Remove Roles and Features Wizard – Before You Begin Page

4. On the Select Destination Server page (Figure 27), select the server and click Next.

Figure 27: Remove Roles and Features Wizard – Select Destination Server Page

5. On the Remove Server Roles page (Figure 28), click Next.

Figure 28: Remove Roles and Features Wizard – Remove Server Roles Page

6. On the Remove Features page (Figure 29), scroll down to the User Interfaces and Infrastructure feature, click to expand it, unselect the Server Graphical Shell option, and then click Next.

Figure 29: Remove Roles and Features Wizard – Remove Features Page

7. On the Confirmation Page (Figure 30), click Remove.

  1. After the removal process completes (Figure 31), click Close and restart the server.
Figure 31: Remove Roles and Features Wizard – Removal Progress Page

9. As shown in Figure 32, after the restart the Minimal Server Interface is enabled, and the Server Manager and a command window are displayed.

Figure 32: Windows Server 2012 – Minimal Server Interface Configuration

If you prefer, you can use the steps in the following procedure to convert a Server with a GUI installation to a Minimal Server Interface Configuration using Windows PowerShell:

  1. On the Windows Server 2012 system, type Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell in a Windows PowerShell window with elevated privileges (Figure 33).
Figure 33: Windows Server 2012 – Uninstall-WindowsFeature Cmdlet
  1. When the removal process completes, restart the server using the Restart-Computer PowerShell cmdlet.

With a Minimal Server Interface configuration, you can continue to use the Server Manager to manage the server or use Windows PowerShell.

It is also possible to achieve a Minimal Server Interface configuration by adding the Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure feature to a Server Core installation.

You can use the steps in the following procedure to convert a Server Core installation to a Minimal Server Interface Configuration using Windows PowerShell:

  1. On the Windows Server 2012 system, type Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra in a Windows PowerShell window with elevated privileges (Figure 34).
Figure 34: Windows Server 2012 – Install-WindowsFeature Cmdlet

2. When the installation process completes, restart the server using the Restart-Computer PowerShell cmdlet.

In this configuration, you can benefit from a Windows Server 2012 installation with a minimized attack surface, and smaller operating system footprint on disk while still being able to perform management tasks using the GUI management tools like Server Manager.

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