Windows Server 2012 – Install and Turn on GUI from Command Line
What happens if you install Windows Server 2012 without the GUI features and then realize that you want to turn on the GUI? For those who are used to GUI based Windows Server administration, seeing a command line interface can be daunting. This guide will help you to go from the command line interface, using PowerShell, to installing and turning on the GUI.
Install the GUI on Windows Server 2012
The first step in this is to enter the PowerShell. At the command line prompt, just enter PowerShell and you will see something like the below:
The next step is to type Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra in order to get the
You will see a text based installer. This part of the Windows Server 2012 GUI installation is rather easy and there is plenty of time to grab a drink.
Once this is complete, you do need to reboot the server before the GUI will be turned on. Unless you have something else going on that you need to shutdown first, you can shutdown and reboot immediately with shutdown -r -t 0 as seen below:
The system will then reboot and go through the Windows Server 2012 configuration changes.
When the system boots, you will see that the GUI is turned on. The Server Manager dashboard is present on login and everything works.
If you are accustomed to the Windows Server 2012 GUI, you may be a bit nervous seeing a command line only interface. Fear not, the guide above uses less than 90 characters of typing to install and turn on the GUI. In total this took me only a few minutes to do the run-through. Also, this guide assumed one has a command line only installation. If you already have the GUI installed, you can use SConfig to turn on the GUI easily.