Converting from a Server Core to Server with a GUI in Windows Server 2012 R2
In Windows Server 2012/ 2012 R2, you can convert Server Core to Server with a GUI or Server with a GUI to Server Core without reinstalling the entire operating system as in the previous version in Windows Server 2008 R2. With this features, administrators can easily switch between Server Core to Server with a GUI or vice-versa within few steps. In this article, you are converting from a Server Core to Server with a GUI install. For this, we need to create a folder to mount a Windows Imaging File (WIM). WIM files are images of the operating system which is located in the sources folder in Windows Server 2012 R2 Installation media. An image file that gets mounted is the install.wim file, which is located in the sources folder of installation media. As you know that installation files are located inside the /sources/install.wim file.
To convert a Server Core install into a Server with a GUI install, perform the following steps:
1. From the command prompt, create a directory named mountdir (mkdir c:\mountdir).
2. To get the correct index number associated with the Server with a GUI image you want to install. For this, you use Dism (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) command-line tool. For example, you are converting from Server Core with the Windows Server 2012 SERVERSTANDARD as shown in figure.
dism /get-wiminfo /wimfile:d:\sources\install.wim, where d: is the installation source drive.
3. Mount the required image file with the following command, shown in figure.
dism /mount-wim /wimfile:d:\sources\install.wim /index:2 /mountdir:C:\mountdir /readonly
“The operation completed successfully” displays on screen, the image mount is complete
4. Open PowerShell, in the command line, type PowerShell.
5. Finally, use the following Windows PowerShell command from the mounted image as shown in figure.
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell -Source C:\mountdir\windows\winsxs
6. Restart computer by simply typing Restart-Computer.
7. After the server restart, the Ctrl-Alt-Delete screen is displayed, and then login. The Server Core interface is replaced with the full GUI Windows Server 2012 R2.
I hope this article is useful during converting from Server Core to Server with a GUI in Windows Server 2012/ 2012 R2.