Windows Server 2016 Installation Options

The Windows Server 2016 Setup wizard offers these two high-level options for configuring the installation.

  1. Windows Server 2016. This is the default option. Choosing this option (which is recommended) reduces management and servicing by installing only what is needed to run most server roles and applications. This configuration does not include a GUI, but you can fully manage the server locally or remotely with Windows PowerShell or other tools. This configuration is also known as Server Core.
  2. Windows Server 2016 (Desktop Experience). Choosing 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. This configuration is the equivalent of Server Graphical Shell on Windows Server 2012 R2.

You can also configure an option called Nano Server. The Minimal Server Interface option of Windows Server 2012 R2 is not available.

In this section

Topic Description

API surface not in Server Core

This topic lists the Win32 functions that are available to applications running on Windows Server 2016 with Desktop Experience, but that are not available to applications running on Windows Server 2016 (also known as Server Core).

Using Nano Server

The lightweight nature of Nano Server may require different access patterns for common operations.

Nano Server APIs

Nano Server APIs, listed by DLL.