I have a clean install of Windows Server 2012, and another server where I upgraded to 2012 from 2008.

I noticed that on the upgraded machine, when I type "Windows Update", an item for it appears in the start menu named "Windows Update", and when clicked a Metro-style full-screen UI appears for windows update.

Meanwhile, on the clean install of Windows Server 2012, there is no match for "Windows Update", although I can reach it indirectly by clicking the "View Update History", then clicking the breadcrumb in the address bar for Windows Update, all of which is a standard window that looks like it did in Windows 7.

So why are there two completely different looks for Windows Update on what is basically the same operating system? Could it have something to do with the fact that on the upgraded machine I had "Windows Desktop Experience" installed?


Yes, the Windows Desktop Experience feature converts your Windows Server 2012 into something that looks exactly the same as Windows 8.

Hint: Use control panel (the classic one) and run Windows Update there instead.

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  • I see. Something else strange I noticed is that when logging in with remote desktop, the start screen is open and stuck. It's not frozen; I can interact with it, but I can't dismiss it in any of the usual ways. Pressing escape has no effect and hovering to the corners (difficult b/c it's on a multi-monitor setup where the screens meet) also has no effect. The only way to escape the start menu is to press the start button to reactivate it or to click the "desktop" panel. It's very strange behavior, and the start menu shouldn't even be visible by default upon connecting to the session. – Triynko Jul 30 '13 at 20:41
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    No, if you enable "desktop experience" then the metro start menu is default. It's the same for everyone, feature-by-design according to Microsoft. One of the reasons why using 2012 for terminal services blows. Waiting for 2012 R2... – pauska Jul 30 '13 at 20:44
  • No, in my comment I was talking about a clean install of 2012. Both machines, with and without desktop experience, use the metro start screen. The "stuck in start screen" issue is occurring on the machine without the desktop experience installed. In any case, going through control panel completely defeats the purpose of the accelerated start screen, where you can press Windows Key, type a few letters of what you want, then press enter to go there. The "Windows Update" item should be present in both configurations. – Triynko Jul 30 '13 at 20:46
  • The advantage of the new start screen isn't it's pretty icon layout, that's basically useless. The advantage is being able to press start, start typing something, and seeing a full-screen view of results with descriptions... something that was impossible with the old tiny start menu. And it's great for terminal services too. I'm just tripping up on some unexpected inconsistencies, like the missing "Windows Update" result (present in Windows 7 too), and the strange stuck behavior of the start screen. – Triynko Jul 30 '13 at 20:48
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    @Triynko All these comments are suited better to Microsoft directly (their technet forums). Nobody at Microsoft is going to read this and then fix the stuff you find buggy :) – pauska Jul 31 '13 at 13:29

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