Update Windows Server Core Edition

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The Windows Server Core Edition is a really good option because there aren’t that many binaries as there would be in a full installation. Due to the smaller number of objects you more stability, simplified management, reduced maintenance and a reduced risk to get attacked.

So you have a Windows Server Core Edition installed but want to update the server manually. Maybe this is a virtual machine on your local PC that needs updating and you don’t have WSUS running.

About everything you previously managed using the GUI in Windows is now done with the sconfig. You can edit your server’s name, the domain, network settings, date/time, shutdown the server but also manage the updates.

Connect to the server and you get this screen:

Windows Server 2012 Core

Enter the command “sconfig” an you get the following screen:

update in sconfig

Enter the number “6” and the following screen appears:

update option selection

Enter either “R” for recommended updates or “A” for all. I enter “R” because I don’t every update.

After some time, Windows will return a list of all the updates found. You can enter “A” to install all of these updates, “N” to not do anything or supply a specific number.

After you made your choice Windows will start downloading the update(s). Windows will automatically start the installation after the download(s) is completed.

After the installation you’re likely to get a message that you need to reboot server.

 

Open a Command Screen in Windows Core

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What to do when your only possibility to manage your Windows Server Core, the command screen, is gone and you have to get it back. I had this a few times because I was too quick to click the screens and had to get used to the fact that there was no GUI.

The Problem

When you connect to the core server you see this:

Windows Server 2012 Core

For some tasks I used the command “sconfig” to alter my installation because there is no longer any visual aspect in this edition.

Windows Server 2012 Core-sconfig

In my enthusiasm I clicked the “X” on the top right corner. So this happened:

Windows Server 2012 Core-blackscreen

Mayhem! How do I get my command screen back? Reboot?! NO WAY!

The Solution

I don’t want to reboot my server just to have a command screen back. The solution is quite simple in the end.

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to open the following screen:

Windows Server 2012 Core-ctrlaltdel

Click “Task Manager” and you get the following screen:

Windows Server 2012 Core-taskmanager

Click “File” -> “Run new task” to open the following window:

Windows Server 2012 Core-newtask

Enter “cmd” and click “OK”.

Now you have your command screen back and you can resume you work.