Updating server core

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Microsoft has created a delicate balance where new Server Core admins can enjoy updated systems by simply performing maintenance tasks in Full installation mode, while also enabling more seasoned Server Core admins to tweak the box further in terms of used disk space.Microsoft introduced the Server Core Installation option in the pre-releases of Windows Server 2008 four years ago.Under the hood, when you apply Windows updates to Windows Server 2012, you update the files in the Side by Side store in the C: Windows Win Sx S folder, which in turn is linked to the C: Windows Servicing Packages folder.Switching GUIs and adding/removing Server Roles and Features simply enables and disables hard links to files in the Side by Side store.

However, when you don’t intend to use the server as a Terminal Server and intend to convert it to a ‘Min Shell’ or ‘Server Core’ installation, you might think these updates are of no use.

Instructions and a downloadable program from Microsoft to check the checksums is available through Microsoft Knowledge Base article 841290.

When you download from Microsoft, always compare the checksums after downloading.

A vanilla Server Core Installation takes up 9 GBs of hard disk space, where a vanilla Full Installation fills up 12 GBs of hard disk space with data.

Freeing up disk space now, more than ever, involves removing the installation files for GUI modes, Server Roles and Server Features.

Since that time, many improvements have been made to the manageability of Server Core installations.

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