Running Hyper-V on a Minimal Server installation

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It has always been our recommendation that Hyper-V be installed on Windows Server Core in production environments (for performance and security reasons).  In Windows Server 2012 we have done a lot of work to make Hyper-V on Windows Server Core an easier option for people to use, through improved PowerShell support and continued investments in remote management.

During my recent presentations at TechED I used a number of different configurations for my various demonstrations.  Some of my demos were done using Windows Server Core systems that I managed remotely from a installation of Windows Server with a GUI.  Other demos were done using a Windows Server Minimal Server Installation:


In this configuration you do not have Windows Explorer (and many other graphical elements) but you do have access to the graphical server management tools.  To open the Hyper-V Manager you just need to type in virtmgmt.msc at the command prompt.  You can read more about how to configure a Minimal Server installation over at the Server Core Blog.

This option is handy, as it gives you a reduced management operating system (though not as small as a Server Core deployment) but you still have access to all the graphical tools that you are used to.  I used this option for my demonstrations so that I had a nice user interface to show to people when I was on stage, but I still gained some benefit from a reduced management operating system.  Interestingly enough, just prior to going to TechED US there were some updates provided for the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate.  All of my systems that were running Server Core or a Minimal Server installation only received one update – and did not need to reboot.  But my installations of Windows Server with a GUI received two updates, and needed to reboot afterwards.


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  • Thanks for this, handy to know.

  • Sounds great. But it seems it isn't supported on standalone Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 (RC)? Or is it?

  • MikeH -

    You are correct that this mode is not available for the standalone Microsoft Hyper-V Server - it only has a core deployment option.



  • Is it possible to manage a minimal 2012 hyper-V from win 7? I get the hyper-v remote manager to work but will get random RPC failures. This is the thread in the HyperV forum (

  • hi ben,

    i am trying to manage standalone hyper-v 2012 RTM from a guest server 2012 but:

    i can not select the hyper-v manager gui from the add-remove features wizard of the guest; you select the whole hyper-v which includes gui and ps but since it is already virtualised the hyper-v role raises error (a hypervisor already running...).

    so is there a way i can install virtmgmt.msc to a guest (full not server core) server 2012 which is running on standalone hyper-v 2012?

  • Free Windows Server Core 2012 does not have a GUI and nothing you can do from microsoft will give you a GUI, Unless you use the full version 2012. However if you want a GUI and have $119US to spend get vtUtilities from vt technologies. Worth it at 3 times the price. Also check out my blog to see how to get a GUI start menu of sorts and to find other creative work arounds to get the most of the Free OS microsoft is just giving away.

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Running Hyper-V on a Minimal Server installation