Server 2016 and the GUI

Trying to install Server 2016 with a GUI, but not getting the option to install the GUI? Samesies. It took me a few hours and installs to finally figure out what’s going on. It’s not hard to resolve. Just annoying.

The gist is that Microsoft released Server 2016 v1709 which has a semi-annual release cycle and only Server Core to install. For whatever reason this was the only version showing up in my Open License account. The resolution I’ve found is to download the Server 2016 eval which gives you v1607 and has the GUI option. Then convert the eval into server standard.

  1. Download the Windows Server 2016 Eval
  2. Install the 2016 eval
  3. After install open a PowerShell prompt with Admin privileges
  4. Run DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula to convert 2016 from an eval to server standard (I found the command here)
  5. Verify Server 2016 is activated
  6. If Server 2016 says that it can’t activate Windows, then click Troubleshoot

“That’s it”. You should have an activated Server 2016 v1607 Standard with a GUI.