Since windows Server 2008 R2, there has been no 32 bit versions of Windows Server.

There are only four Windows Server 2012 R2 editions to choose from:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 DataCenter: Designed for large and powerful servers with up to 64 processors. It is only available via Volume licensing.  UNLIMITED windows server 2012 virtual machines.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard:  Differs from data center edition only in the number of virtual machines instances permitted (2)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: Same as standard. Missing Server core, Hyper  V , Active Directory Federation ServicesONE virtual server, 25 Users
  • Windows Server Foundation: Designed for small business that required basic server features. No virtualization and 15 users.

Licensing sources: Data center: VLK, or OEM. Standard: Retail, VLK, OEM. Essentials:Retail, VLK, OEM. Foundation: OEM only.

Three GUI interface levels: Core, Minimal Server Interface and Full GUI- It is possible to switch between these with easily. Using powershell, of course.

Minumum Requirements:

1.4 GHZ Processor (64 bit)

512 GB of RAM

32GB of disk space



Internet access


Maximum Requirements:

640 Processors

4TB of RAM

64 Failover Cluster nodes

Server Core:

When a server is performing a single role, it does not make sense to have so many other processes running on the server that contribute little or nothing to that role. Windows server 2012 r2 provides installation options that enable administrators to keep the unnecessary resources installed on a server to a minimum.

NO start menu, explorer, MMC and virtually no graphical applications.

it is the default way to install, and you can switch to full gui after if needed.

Supports 12 of 19 roles


  • Active Directory Certificate services
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File and Storage Services
  • Hyper – V
  • Print and Document Services
  • Remote Acess
  • Web Server (IIS)
  • WSUS

Does not support:

  • Active Directory Federation Services
  • Application Server
  • Fax Server
  • Network Policy and Access Services
  • RDS Services
  • Volume Activation Services
  • Windows Deployment Servers (WDS)

Minimal Server Interface:


middle ground of core and full gui.

Does not have Internet Explorer, Desktop, File explorer and windows 8 desktop apps.

Also missing are control panel items.


Whats left is : Server manager, MMC, Device Manager, entire powershell.

You get to Minimal Server interface by uninstalling “Server Graphical shell feature” by using powershell or Remove roles and features wizard.


Features on Demand:

Features on demand provide a third installation state for each of the features in Windows Server 2012 R2.

There are three states for features: Enabled, disabled and disabled with payload removed.

To remove the payload you must run powershell:


Adding the “-remove” will delete the source files from the WinSxS folder. This reduces the footprint of necessary features. You can always add them back via the internet (wsus) or an onsite media area.


Upgrading Servers:

Microsoft  always recommends doing a clean install.

W2k12R2 does not support:

  • Upgrades from Windows Server prior to WS2k8
  • PRE RTM versions of 2k12R2
  • Workstaion OS(es)
  • 32bit to 64bit
  • Itanium editions (itanium is not supported on 2k12r2)
  • Cross Language

Migrating Roles:

Use Windows Server Migration Tools and migration guides.

In a server migration you can migrate roles or role services individually.



Juan Recently took delievery of a new server with windows server 2012 r2 datacenter edition already installed with the full GUI option. Ralph wants to configure the system as a web server using the absolute minumum of hardware resources. His first step is to use Server Manager to install the Web Server (iis) role.


1.) What Windows Powershell command should Juan use to convert the full GUI installation to server core.



2.) What Windows powershell command should Ralph use to completely remove the GUI installation files from the system.