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Seems like this should be easy, but I am not finding any information on how to remotely identify a Windows Server "core" installation as such, via WMI, Powershell or other method that can query lots of machines relatively quickly. I am trying to report on the percentage of servers we have running a core versus a full installation. Any ideas?

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Get-WmiObject -Query "Select OperatingSystemSKU from Win32_OperatingSystem"

You'll need to convert the response to Hex to compare:

  • 0C Datacenter (core installation)
  • 27 Server Datacenter without Hyper-V (core installation)
  • 0E Server Enterprise (core installation)
  • 29 Server Enterprise without Hyper-V (core installation)
  • 2A Microsoft Hyper-V Server
  • 0D Server Standard (core installation)
  • 28 Server Standard without Hyper-V (core installation)
  • 1D Web Server(core installation)

Table is based on info from

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This doesn't seem to work anymore. The result is always 7. – idon'twearsuits Apr 19 '14 at 16:45
There is an updated question with a better answer posted here: – Dmart Oct 7 '15 at 19:51
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Since this question was last answered, the previous technique no longer works. Based on another post here, the quickest and most reliable technique to identify core installations is to look for the presence of Windows Explorer executable. It will be missing on server core instances:

Test-Path "$env:windir\explorer.exe"
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