Windows Server 2012 introduces the ability to change between the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the Character User Interface (CUI). There are different ways in which you can do this. Of course you can use PowerShell to add and remove the features to go between Core and Full installation.
We will use the Remote Server and Administration Tool (RSAT) for Windows 8 to add and remove the GUI and CUI. To do this first install a Windows Server 2012 machine and promote it to a domain controller with all of the proper configurations and prerequisites already taken into measure. (It does not need to be a DC in your lab environment.)
The next step is to join a Windows 8 client to the Domain and then install the RSAT tool which can be downloaded by clicking here. By default all Roles, Features and Server Manager are enabled in the Windows 8 RSAT as shown below.
Our next step is to open Server Manager from the Windows 8 Client and add other servers to manage.
Select the DC to manage to import the server and its roles and features to manage.
Our next step is to remove a role and feature to the DC. Remember we started out with a full installation of Server 2012. Click Manage at the top of the Dashboard and select remove Roles and Features.
Click Next twice and Select the DC as this is the server where you want to deploy or remove roles and features from.
Click Next to arrive at the remove features page of the wizard. Scroll down to the User Interfaces and Infrastructure Option. Uncheck both the Server Graphical Interface and Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure to turn the Server into the Character User Interface (CUI) also known as Server Core.
Click Next to confirm the removal of the features and check the box at the stop to restart the server once done.
Click remove and the process will start to remove the Graphical User Interface (GUI) from the server. Upon login you will be greeted with Character User Interface (CUI).
To add the Graphical User Interface (GUI) back to the server from the Windows 8 Client select add Roles and Features and head to the add features page of the wizard and check the boxes under the User Interface and Infrastructure.
By: Adnan Cartwright