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Install Server Roles and Features on a Server Core Server


Applies To: Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012

When Windows Server 2012 is in Server Core mode, the following server roles are supported:

  • Active Directory Certificate Services

  • Active Directory Domain Services

  • DHCP Server

  • DNS Server

  • File Services (including File Server Resource Manager)

  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)

  • Hyper-V

  • Print and Document Services

  • Streaming Media Services

  • Web Server (including a subset of ASP.NET)

  • Windows Server Update Server

  • Active Directory Rights Management Server

  • Routing and Remote Access Server, including the following sub-roles:

    • Remote Desktop Services Connection Broker

    • Licensing

    • Virtualization

When Windows Server 2012 is in Server Core mode, the following server features are supported:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5

  • Windows PowerShell

  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption

  • BitLocker Network Unlock

  • BranchCache

  • Data Center Bridging

  • Enhanced Storage

  • Failover Clustering

  • Multipath I/O

  • Network Load Balancing

  • Peer Name Resolution Protocol

  • Quality Windows Audio Video Experience

  • Remote Differential Compression

  • Simple TCP/IP Services

  • RPC over HTTP Proxy

  • SMTP Server

  • SNMP Service

  • Telnet client

  • Telnet server

  • TFTP client

  • Windows Internal Database

  • Windows PowerShell Web Access

  • Windows Process Activation Service

  • Windows Standards-based Storage Management

  • WinRM IIS extension

  • WINS server

  • WoW64 support


This topic includes sample Windows PowerShell cmdlets that you can use to automate some of the procedures described. For more information, see Using Cmdlets.

Installing and uninstalling server roles and features

To discover the server roles and features on your computer, run the Windows PowerShell cmdlet Get-WindowsFeature.

To install a server role or feature, make a note of the role or feature name in the output from Get-WindowsFeature and then run Install-WindowsFeature <featurename>.

You can install (or uninstall) more than one feature at a time by separating feature names with commas. For example, to install both Server Graphical Shell and Windows PowerShell ISE (and its dependencies), if you run Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell,PowerShell-ISE, the server is converted to Server with a GUI mode.

Appending the –WhatIf parameter to either Install-WindowsFeature <featurename> or Uninstall-WindowsFeature <featurename> displays any dependent features that will be installed or uninstalled along with the feature you have specified.

To uninstall a server role or feature, run the Windows PowerShell cmdlet Uninstall-WindowsFeature <featurename>


When you uninstall a role or feature with this command, the binary files for it remain on the disk. This allows you to add the role or feature later without having to access an installation source (such as an installation DVD or WIM image). To completely remove the files for the role or feature from the disk or to reinstall a role or feature that has been completely removed, see “Working with Features on Demand” in this topic.

Working with Features on Demand

In previous versions of Windows, even if a server role or feature was disabled, the binary files for it were still present on the disk, consuming space. In Windows Server 2012, not only can you disable a role or feature, but you can also completely remove its files, a state shown as “removed” in Server Manager or “disabled with payload removed” in Dism.exe. To reinstall a role or feature that has been completely removed, you must have access to an installation source.

To completely remove a role or feature, use –Remove with the Uninstall-WindowsFeature cmdlet of Windows PowerShell. For example, to completely remove Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, and dependent components, run the following Windows PowerShell command:

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell -remove

To install a role or feature that has been completely removed, use the Windows PowerShell –Source option of the Install-WindowsFeature Server Manager cmdlet. The –Source option specifies a path to a WIM image and the index number of the image. If you do not specify a –Source option, Windows will use Windows Update by default.

To install a removed role or feature using a WIM image, use these steps and Windows PowerShell cmdlets:

  1. Run Get-windowsimage –imagepath <path to wim>\install.wim, and make note of the index of the image for the Server with a GUI version of Windows Server 2012.

  2. Install-WindowsFeature <featurename> -Source wim:<path>:<index>, where:

    Featurename is the name of the role or feature from Get-WindowsFeature

    Path is the path to the WIM mount point

    Index is the index of the server image from Step 1.

For example, if the Server with a GUI image is in D:\sources: Install-WindowsFeature <featurename> -Source wim:d:\sources\install.wim:4

You can also specify a source for servers that are domain members using Group Policy. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > “Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair”


Permissions might affect the system’s ability to access Windows features for installation over a network. The Trusted Installer process runs within the machine account. If you encounter network access issues, try issuing a net use command (for example, net use * \path\to\network) to connect to the network source and then copy the source locally. Then use the local copy as the installation source.

See also