Server Core for Windows Server 2008


Server Core is a minimal server installation option for the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Server Core provides a low-maintenance server environment with limited functionality.

Where applicable

Server Core is an installation option that is capable of five well-known server roles: File Server, DHCP Server, DNS Server, Media Services, and Active Directory. Server Core is not a development platform for new server applications. Although Server Core is not an application platform, it does support the development of management tools, utilities, and agents.

Server Core management tools, utilities, and agents fall into two categories: those that manage a server remotely, and those that run locally to manage the server or return data to a centralized management tool. Remote management tools should not require any changes to support Server Core, as long as the tool uses one of the remote protocols supported in Server Core, such as RPC. Local management agents and utilities may require changes to run properly on Server Core.

The minimal nature of Server Core creates limitations:

  • There is no Windows shell and very limited GUI functionality (the Server Core interface is a command prompt).
  • There is no managed code support in Server Core (all code must be native Windows API code).
  • There is limited MSI support (unattend mode only).

Developer audience

Server Core is designed for use by network and file service infrastructure developers, server management tool and utility developers, and IT Planners.

Run-time requirements

Server Core requires Windows Server 2008 or later.

In this section

Topic Description

About Server Core

General information about Server Core.

Using Server Core

Information about using Server Core.

Server Core Reference

Reference documentation for Server Core.


Server Core Blog

About Windows Server Installation Options

Server Core for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012

Server Core for Windows Server 2008 R2