Windows Server 2016 Installation Option Changes

Last week, we released Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3. If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new preview, you can download it here and read more about the preview in this blog post from Mike Schutz. One thing you’ll notice in Technical Preview 3 is an update to the installation options. We’ve made some adjustments based on feedback to ensure that you get the experience you expect when installing Windows Server.

After the release of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2 in May, we heard from many of you about a change we made to the Server installation options. In Technical Preview 2, we made Minimal Server Interface the default and renamed the Server installation option to “Server with local admin tools”. The feedback was loud and clear that there are customer segments, most notably small and medium businesses, which require both the full graphical shell on their servers, and also a consistent experience with their Windows client desktops.

Based on your comments, we made the following change in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3. The Server installation option is now “Server with Desktop Experience” and has the shell and Desktop Experience installed by default. This provides a more client-like experience on Windows Server for those that want a full local graphical experience on the server as well as for Remote Desktop Services Host.

As part of this work, some other changes have been made to the installation options. Because of the structural changes required to deliver the Desktop Experience on Server, it will not be possible to convert from Server with Desktop Experience to Server Core. It will also not be possible to convert Server Core up to Server with Desktop Experience.

We’ll have more to share on the installation options, including Nano Server, later this year. Thank you for all the feedback, please use Windows Server User Voice to keep it coming!