Export (0) Print
Expand All

Desktop Experience Overview

Published: February 26, 2014

Updated: March 5, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



This topic includes information about Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure, Server Graphical Shell, Desktop Experience, and Media Foundation.

Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure is the set of features that comprises the difference between a Server Core installation and the Minimal Server Interface option of a Full server installation. Uninstalling this feature will convert a Full server installation to a Server Core installation.

Server Graphical Shell is the same user interface that is installed by default when you choose the “Server with GUI” installation option during Setup. To decrease the servicing requirements of your server while still being able to use Microsoft Management Console (MMC) locally, you can uninstall the Server Graphical Shell using Server Manager, which leaves you with the Minimal Server Interface. The Minimal Server Interface requires Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure to be installed. For more information about the server installation options, what is included with each, and how to switch between them (as well as information about the Minimal Server Interface and Features on Demand), see Windows Server Installation Options.

The Desktop Experience feature allows you to install a variety of applications and features that are provided in the Windows client operating system on your server that is running a Windows Server operating system. If you are running Windows Server 2012, the following Windows 8 features are installed when you install Desktop Experience:

  • Windows Media Player

  • Video for Windows (AVI support)

  • Windows SideShow

  • Disk Cleanup

  • Sync Center

  • Sound Recorder

  • Character Map

  • Snipping Tool

  • Support for desktop apps

  • Windows Store

If you are running Windows Server 2012 R2, the following Windows 8.1 features are installed when you install Desktop Experience:

  • Windows Media Player

  • Video for Windows (AVI support)

  • Windows SideShow

  • Disk Cleanup

  • Sync Center

  • Sound Recorder

  • Character Map

  • Snipping Tool

  • Support for desktop apps

  • Windows Store

  • PC settings (adds Change PC settings to the Settings charm)

  • The ability to play a slide show on your lock screen

  • Integrated search (searches through the Search charm integrate results from the local computer and the Internet through Bing)

ImportantImportant
When you install Desktop Experience in Windows Server 2012 R2, the integrated search is on by default. This feature sends information to Microsoft. You can turn off the integrated search feature with the following steps:

  1. Open the Windows charm bar (WINDOWS+C)

  2. Click Settings, click Change PC Settings, and then click Search & Apps.

  3. In the Use Bing to search online section, move the slider to Off. Alternately, in the Your Search Experience section, select Don’t get personalized results from Bing.

noteNote
The Desktop Experience feature requires that you also install the Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure and Server Graphical Shell features.

Media Foundation, which includes Windows Media Foundation, the Windows Media Format SDK, and a server subset of DirectShow, provides the infrastructure required for applications and services to transcode, analyze, and generate thumbnails for media files. You can install Media Foundation separately with Server Manager—but if you install the Desktop Experience feature, you must install the Media Foundation feature as well.

There are no special hardware or software requirements for using these features.

noteNote
The following server features and roles require the Server Graphical Shell—they will automatically be disabled if you uninstall the Server Graphical Shell:

  • Fax Server

  • Internet Printing user interface

  • Remote Desktop Session Host

  • Windows Deployment Services

Remote Desktop for Administration is supported with or without the Server Graphical Shell.

There is only partial functionality if the Server Graphical Shell is not installed:

  • Help content is not available.

  • In Event Viewer, the Details view is not available.

  • Graphical management tools for Windows Firewall are not available.

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption must be managed from the command line.

To install Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra

To install the Server Graphical Shell with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell

To install Desktop Experience with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Install-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience

To install Media Foundation with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Media-Foundation

To uninstall the Server Graphical Shell with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell

All of these features are relevant to a single server at a time.

These features function normally on virtual machines with no changes required.

It is possible to run any of these features in a clustered environment, but it is not recommended.

After installation, these features are designed to be secure by default.

These features are not supported on Server Core installations.

Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft