How to tell whether it’s a Server Core box

It’s easy to tell whether Windows Server 2008 is installed as Server Core. I know what you’re thinking: “Duh! it only shows a command prompt window after you log on“, but that’s not what I wanted to show you today. What if you wanted to find out programmatically? What if you’re WinRS’ing into a Windows Server 2008 box?


Not the way to do this

I fiddled a bit to retrieve this information from my systems but couldn’t find a difference between full installations and server core installations when I used the following commands:

wmic OS get Caption

wmic OS get Name


Sure, I gathered a lot of information on the box and the Operating System I have installed, but couldn’t find a shred of information on how the Operating System was installed in terms of a Server Core installation or a Full Installation.

The way to do this

The solution to determine whether you’re dealing with a Server Core box, is to type the following command:

wmic OS get OperatingSystemSKU

When it returns any of the following values it’s a Server Core box:

(output on console)
(hexidecimal value)
Server Core Edition
12 0x0000000C Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition, Server Core
39 0x00000027 Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition without Hyper-V, Server Core
13 0x0000000D Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition, Server Core
40 0x00000028 Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition without Hyper-V, Server Core
14 0x0000000E Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, Server Core
41 0x00000029 Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition without Hyper-V, Server Core
29 0x0000001D Windows Web Server 2008, Server Core


I agree a couple of other dead give-aways exist (checking for the existence of oclist.exe or SCregEdit.wsf would suffice as well) but none of these are really decent…



When determining whether a server is a Server Core remotely isn’t as simply as typing a command and getting it served on a silver platter. You need to actually decipher a value using the table provided here.

What a pity this isn’t easier…

Further Reading

GetProductInfo Function using wmic path win32_Operatingsystem get OperatingSystemSKU
Windows Server 2008: Compare Server Core Installation Options
Core flavors of Windows Server 2008
MSDN Application Compatibility: Windows Server 2008 Server Core

One Response to How to tell whether it’s a Server Core box


    # Is GUI server?
    (Get-WindowsFeature -Name Server-Gui-Shell).Installed

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