Minimal Server Interface for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012
The Minimal Server Interface is a configuration option that does not include significant aspects of the Server Graphical Shell. It enables most local GUI management tasks without requiring the Server Graphical Shell or Internet Explorer to be installed. This reduces the security and servicing footprint of the server thereby increasing safety and uptime while expanding deployment scenarios. For the maximum reduction of security and servicing footprint, consider using Server Core mode instead.
The Minimal Server Interface provides some of the benefits of Server Core for those customers and ISVs that have not transitioned to remote management and Server Core. It also eliminates the risk of a wrong decision by providing a smooth transition between Server Core, the Minimal Server Interface, and Server Graphical Shell.
Just as when Server Core was introduced, some server roles and applications will work without effort and others will require changes to work well a server is configured with the Minimal Server Interface. While it is desirable that no server application require Server Graphical Shell installed to run, it is not a requirement in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
The Minimal Server Interface is designed for use by all applications designed to run on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
The Minimal Server Interface requires Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2. It is not available on Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview. Any applications with a dependency on Internet Explorer, the WebBrowser control, or the Microsoft HTML (MSHTML) Engine, cannot assume those dependencies are available at all times. They can be installed or removed at any time.