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Difference between Server Core and GUI (Desktop Experience)

First point you need to note as a System Administrator is that, a Server computer is existing there to serve you with some services. That may be, DNS, DHCP, Active Directory related services, File or Print server etc. The person who is in control and using those machines is not a layman, but a power user or a System Administrator. A graphical user interface (GUI) is not necessary for a System Administrator to perform his duties. With a command prompt terminal or PowerShell terminal is he can perform his duties.

Second point is that a Graphical User Interface will consume much resources from the computer hardware. That may be Processor cycles, Memory or disk usage.

That is the reason why Microsoft thought about Server Core. When you install Windows Server, as Server Core, the standard Graphical User Interface not installed. That means, you will not get the actual Windows experience, when you install Windows Server 2022 as Server Core.

Please visit following Microsoft page, if you want to compare the differences between Server Core, or Server with Desktop experience

Component Server Core Server with Desktop Experience
Graphical User interface Minimal, command line driven (Command Prompt, PowerShell, SConfig) All traditional Windows graphical user interface, including Windows Explorer
Disk space requirement Small disk space only More disks pace is required
RAM requirement Less RAM requirement More RAM is required
Manage Server Roles and features locally Using PowerShell Using Server Manager or PowerShell
Roles and Features Some roles and features are not available All roles and features are available
Remote management Possible Possible
Attack surface No much attack surface Comparatively more attack surface than Server Core
Microsoft Management Console Not installed - can be installed. Installed
Written by Jajish Thomas.
Last updated on 27th January, 2022.

 

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