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Unable to convert to Server with a GUI from Server Core on an upgraded Windows Server 2012 machine

Assume you have a full installation of either Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2. You upgrade to Windows Server 2012 and choose option "Server with a GUI".

After the upgrade you convert the Server with a GUI installation to Server Core.
In this scenario, if you try to convert back to Server with a GUI, the operation may fail and rollback to Server Core.

  • The “Server with a GUI” option is the Windows Server 2012 equivalent of the Full installation option available in Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • In Windows Server 2012, An administrator now has the ability to switch between a Server with GUI and a Server Core, as needed. You convert an installation from Server with GUI to Server Core.

This problem occurs due to the following three unused WINEVT registry entries being carried over by upgrade:
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Publishers\{bc2eeeec-b77a-4a52-b6a4-dffb1b1370cb}
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Publishers\{57e0b31d-de8c-4181-bcd1-f70e880b49fc}
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Publishers\{8c9dd1ad-e6e5-4b07-b455-684a9d879900}

Important This section contains information about how to modify the registry. Make sure that you back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:  
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

For converting Server GUI to Server Core, you need to remove the registry keys mentioned above.

To delete the unwanted WINEVT registry keys, follow these steps:

  1. From the Command prompt or Powershell prompt, run the following commands:
    • reg delete HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Publishers\{bc2eeeec-b77a-4a52-b6a4-dffb1b1370cb}
    • reg delete HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Publishers\{57e0b31d-de8c-4181-bcd1-f70e880b49fc}
    • reg delete HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Publishers\{8c9dd1ad-e6e5-4b07-b455-684a9d879900}
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Run the following PowerShell command to add back the GUI management tools and desktop shell to the server and convert it back into a Server with a GUI:

    PS C:\> Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell –Restart

More information
For a more information about the Windows Server 2012 Installation Options, visit the following Web site:

Also see, Server Core and Full Server Integration Overview

Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Article ID: 2775484 - Last Review: 10/23/2012 12:46:00 - Revision: 2.0

  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
  • KB2775484