We just got our dedicated server from Rackspace. It was loaded with W2008 on it. I decided to put the most recent OS on it so I wouldn't have to upgrade it later. Apparently during the installation, I selected the no gui option.

I tried to install the gui from powershell that I've seen reference on other website.

For example:

Install-WindowsFeature Server-GUI-Shell -Restart

When I run this, I get the following error:

PS C:\> Install-WindowsFeature Server-GUI-Shell -Restart
Install-WindowsFeature : ArgumentNotValid: The role, role service, or feature name is not valid: 'Server-GUI-Shell'.
The name was not found.
At line:1 char:1
+ Install-WindowsFeature Server-GUI-Shell -Restart
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (Server-GUI-Shell:String) [Install-WindowsFeature], Exception
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NameDoesNotExist,Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.Commands.AddWindowsFeatureCommand

Success Restart Needed Exit Code      Feature Result
------- -------------- ---------      --------------
False   No             InvalidArgs    {}

I cannot seem to figure out how to get a gui installed on this server.

All references I've seen to installing the gui say to use the Server-GUI-Shell.

Anyone have any suggestions?


1 Answer 1


It's no longer possible to switch from Server Core to the full GUI or vice versa in Server 2016 - either through Server Manager, PowerShell, or DISM. You must make the choice initially at install time. From TechNet:

Unlike some previous releases of Windows Server, you cannot convert between Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience after installation. For example, if you install Server Core and later decide to user Server with Desktop Experience, you should do a fresh installation (and vice versa).

A good community article on the topic: https://superwidgets.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/windows-server-2016-gui-options/

The capability to convert from one to the other via Server Manager and the Install/Remove-WindowsFeature cmdlets existed in Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2.

  • 1
    existed in Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 - It existed, but it didn't work at all reliably after you had applied security updates to the system. You either needed to maintain a patched wim, or just re-install.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 27, 2017 at 20:02
  • 1
    @Zoredache, that's mostly the case if you started with Server Core and then tried to convert up. If you started with the Server with a GUI, converted down, then back up - it should work more smoothly. Part of the design idea was that people would start with a GUI and use it to get their server configured the way they liked. Then they could convert down, and do Remove-WindowsFeature -Remove to get rid of the SxS content. Feb 27, 2017 at 21:01
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    Also mentioned on Microsoft site as well. Source > We prioritized consistency with the Windows client desktop over the > ability to switch between Server Core and Server with Desktop. > Replacing the legacy desktop in Server with the Windows 10 desktop > experience resulted in our inability to support the Windows Server > 2012 R2 behavior. Nov 3, 2017 at 0:30

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