Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mounting an Image to Convert Windows Server 2012 R2 Core to Full Installation

PowerShell is proving more and more to be an Administrators right hand in handling many task. Converting a Core Installation to a GUI Installation in Windows Server 2012 R2 is one of those task. Many times I have come across a File Server that is running on Core and more roles such as Windows Deployment Services needs to be installed but is not supported. Here starts the story of either backing up the data or migrating the data off to another File Server or Storage resource.

In a Full Install of Windows Server 2012 R2 that has been turned into Core running the PowerShell command
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell –Restart –Source
will install the Gui back on the server.

However, if you run that same command on a Core Install you will get an error message as the screen below shows.

In a Core R2 Install to convert from the CUI to GUI we will have to mount an image of Server 2012 R2. To do this we will need the installation media on which we installed Server 2012 Core R2. Next we will have to make a Directory for our image to be mounted in.

On our Server Core Server we will make a directory called mount-image on the root of C:\ as shown below.

Next we will mount the image to the mount-image folder. Our install media is in the D:\ drive. We will need to see what version of Server we do need to mount. To do this we need to type the PowerShell command Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath D:\Sources\Install.wim as seen below. We installed Server 2012 Standard Core so we will mount Index Image 2 for the Full Server GUI.

To mount the image type the PowerShell Command

Mount-WindowsImage -ImagePath D:\sources\install.wim -Path C:\mount-Image –Index:2 -readonly

This process can take a while as seen below.

The next step is install the image we just mounted by running the below cmdlet.

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell –Restart –Source C:\Mount-Image\Windows\WINSXS


Now the Full Installation of Server 2012 R2 is installed!!!!

Happy Server Administrating. If you need to download Server resources or if you would like to try this lab in Azure visit:

For Server Downloads -

For a free trial of Windows Azure -

Adnan Cartwright



  1. All Steps in one script:
    Import-Module ServerManager
    $ID = (Get-WindowsImage –ImagePath $WIMFile | where { $_.ImageName –eq "Windows Server 2012 SERVERSTANDARD" }).ImageIndex
    New-Item c:\Mountdir –ItemType Container -force
    Mount-WindowsImage -ImagePath $WIMFile -Path C:\mountdir –Index $ID -readonly
    Install-WindowsFeature -Name User-Interfaces-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell,Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra –source "c:\mountdir\windows" -Restart

    1. PowerShell Automation! Well Done Sylvio! Please check out Sylvio's automated script to change Core Installations to Full.

      This is for Server 2012 R2!

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