Q: How can I enable the Minimal Server Interface in Windows Server 2012?

A: You can enable or disable the Minimal Server Interface through the GUI or from the command line using Windows PowerShell. To configure a Windows Server 2012 machine to use the Minimal Server Interface from the Windows GUI, you must use the Remove Roles and Features Wizard, which is accessible from Server Manager. As Figure 1 shows, you make the configurations in the User Interfaces and Infrastructure section of the Features list on the wizard's Remove features page. You need to select the Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure check box and clear the Desktop Experience and Server Graphical Shell check boxes.

Figure 1: Using the Remove Roles and Features Wizard to Configure Windows Server Management Interfaces

To switch from the full GUI to the Minimal Server Interface using PowerShell, you must use the Remove-WindowsFeature cmdlet:

Remove-WindowsFeature -Name Server-GUI-Shell -Restart

To switch from the Minimal Server Interface to the full GUI, you can use the Get-WindowsFeature and Install-WindowsFeature cmdlets:

Get-WindowsFeature Server-GUI-Shell |
  Install-WindowsFeature -Restart

Both operations require a computer restart to complete them, which is why the -Restart switch is appended at the end. For more information about using PowerShell to switch between the different management interfaces, check out the Server & Tools Blogs entry "Use PowerShell to Remove the GUI on Windows Server 2012."