SOLVED

Installed Windows Server 2016, now I can't access my desktop

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New Contributor
Hi everyone, today I installed Windows server 2016 from Microsoft's website to try and learn active directory. The bottom line is after it installed all my laptop is showing now is the command prompt as seen in the attached image. I can't access anything else. Please help me get my laptop back to normal.
13 Replies
best response confirmed by eomlil (New Contributor)
Solution

It looks like you installed Windows Server 2016 Core. The default installation of Windows Server 2016 is without any Desktop. You configure and use it via command line, PowerShell, or in a real production environment remotely with management tools from a workstation.

Without more information about how you installed the operating system (did you install to a separate partition or did you wipe your current Harddisk and installed it over your previous operating system,...) I can't tell you what your best course of action is to restore your Notebook to "normal".

If you wiped your Harddisk and did a fresh install of Server 2016, without any backup beforehand, your chances of getting back your data are slim.

If you just want to get a normal client operating system backup onto the device, you should download a current Windows 10 installation media from Microsoft (for the version of Windows 10 you own a license for of course). Then boot with this media from USB or DVD, delete all current partitions in the setup dialog and let Windows setup do it's job.

 

If you want to learn Windows Server you should really do so in a virtualized environment instead of a physical machine. You could, for example, install Hyper-V on your Windows 10 Client and run a Windows Server instance inside of Hyper-V. With this you can experiment all you want without damaging your Host-System. Also to make it easier for looking around Windows Server make sure you choose the "Windows Server 2016 with Desktop Experience" installation option when installing it. This way you have an almost familiar Desktop environment.

Thank you @dretzer. I did install it on my harddisk thinking it was just any other application. Thankfully I was able to reinstall Windows and it saved all my files to a dedicated "old" folder. My PC is up and running again.
@eomlil I’m 99% sure I did the same thing as you but with Server 2019 and am stuck in the command promt. How exactly did you Reinstall Windows with saved files? I need help ASAP! Thanks!

@Kla555 I am pretty sure he is referring to the folder C:\Windows.old\ where you will find a backup of the previous set of user profiles and some of the application data.

 

I do not remember if the Windows Server Core install behavior is the same as other Windows versions, so you may have to get a backup of your current C:\Windows.old\ folder content (probably more than 20 GB) before you start reinstalling using the original Windows 10 media for your computer.

Hi everyone, today I installed Windows server 2016 from Microsoft's accidentally to my laptop windows 10. Please help me get my laptop back to normal. I wan to get back to windows 10 if there is a way with out losing my files.
Hi everyone, today I installed Windows server 2016 from Microsoft's accidentally to my laptop windows 10, I was trying to install it on a VM Hyper-v. Please help me get my laptop back to normal. I wan to get back to windows 10 if there is a way with out losing my files. When I try to rest it by using keep my files method it asking me to get Administrator account but I dont have it now I'm stuck I can not do anything.
I have same issue as well

@Yosef360 Even though I don't know exactly how to restore your previous Windows OS, I suggest that you check if it is possible to shut down your laptop computer, then see if the hard drive has got its own access panel on the bottom of your computer, or if you need to disassemble the whole chassis to get to the hard drive. Anyway, my suggestion is mainly to get the hard drive out of your computer and connect it in a desktop computer as a secondary drive (or third drive, depending on the desktop computer) to make a backup of your files before moving it back to the laptop and reinstall your laptop from scratch.

 

Please note that whenever you experiment with installing a different OS to your computer, you always run a risk of losing data or even the entire setup from your previous installation, so most OS install procedures warn us about installing the OS on any existing system with a running OS, personal data and personal configuration. You may want to enlist local help or even contacting any local computer support if you do not have the experience to disassemble or make a backup from a hard drive.

 

Depending on the type of hard drive, it could range from an easy operation with a dedicated access panel for the hard drive and the hard drive itself being a regular SATA drive which can easily be connected inside a desktop computer with enough space to mount more than one HDD, to a compact laptop computer with the HDD being a micro drive like a memory card, which makes it more cumbersome to connect it inside the other computer, unless you or your support has got access to any PCI Express card conversion kit for mounting it to a SATA-based computer.

 

I can only wish you the best of luck in getting help with making a backup and reinstalling your computer. I have done something similar in the past, but at that time I had easy access to enough additional hardware to move a HDD from my laptop to a desktop computer and get the data and configuration files I needed, but I usually had to wipe my laptop HDD and reinstall everything, either using the OEM install media or a Windows ISO image (via USB drive or DVD).

Hello,I think I just made the same mistake you made ,how were you able to sort this out,I need my PC back!!

@Femi-Peters To me, it looks like user you replied to has yet to comment whether they found any easy way to restore their previous Windows OS. I find it unlikely, though. Note that your situation is a support scenario where you should create a full backup of your current drive contents before reinstalling your original OS, depending on computer brand, installation media, and so on.

Can anyone help with step by step guide on how they resolved this issue. I am in the same situation at the moment
Know this is a long time ago, but if you remember how you solved this. Would appreciate
Please be aware that when you install any operating system (OS) on a machine, whether it is a virtual machine or a physical machine, you need to make full backup of anything you want to keep, in case you end up wiping everything because you want to get back to Windows 10.

The best result you can hope for, after you make a full backup (ISO or mirror drive or copy the VM to a different VM, before continuing) is that a new installation with the GUI version of the server may move the old stuff to a folder called C:\Windows.old\ after the installation is finished. Note: There is no guarantee, but that is what should happen (in theory), as long as the OS main version is the same.

If you don't know how to make a backup before you proceed, the result might be that your drive gets wiped.