Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4 was released in November. While the general availability release date of Windows Server 2016 is still unknown, this brings us one step closer to that final version. TP4 brought some changes to the operating system which will introduce changes for the Windows system administrator. Server 2016 Core, the version of the operating system without a graphical user interface is the default option and you are no longer able to install the GUI from the command line once you have made your decision at the time of install.
The Core option is described during install as:
This option (recommended) reduces management and servicing by installing only what is needed to run most server roles and applications. It does not include a GUI, but you can fully manage the server locally or remotely with Windows PowerShell or other tools. For more details see “Windows Server Installation Options.”
The Desktop Experience option is described during install as:
This option is useful when a GUI is required – for example, to provide backward compatibility for an application that cannot be run on a Server Core installation. All server roles and features are supported. For more details see “Windows Server Installation Options.”
The core version of Server 2016 cannot support all roles like Windows Deployment Services but those that it can support require less resources and are easier to service.
To install Server 2016 Technical Preview 4, you boot from the iso downloaded from the Microsoft Evaluation Center. You will be presented the option to install or repair the computer. Choosing install, you will be given the Core or Desktop Experience options above. The next step of the wizard will allow you to choose which drive and partition to install to. After that, the install proceeds.
When the install completes with the Server Core option, you have minimal user interface. A command prompt greets you to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to unlock.
Your first step will be to set a new password that meets credentials (8 characters or longer, uppercase and lowercase letters, and a number).
Once you set the password, you are taken straight to a command prompt. You can enter the command sconfig in order to get to a Server Configuration interface, allowing you to easily change the computer name, join a domain, and control other settings like remote management, Windows Updates, the network settings, and the date and time.
You can also launch PowerShell from the command prompt with ‘start powershell’. This will give you an Administrator-elevated PowerShell window to work from, such as installing Windows roles and features. The command ‘install-windowsfeature web-server’ will install IIS on the server. You can use ‘get-windowsfeature’ to see which roles are available and others that are removed from Server core.
I created a video running through the installation of the core and desktop experience versions of Server 2016 Technical Preview 4. You can check it out embedded below to see the process.