Convert Both Your Windows Server 2016 & 2019 to a Workstation

Welcome to
Win2016Workstation & Win2019Workstation

This manual will guide you through the process of configuring your Windows Server 2016 & Windows Server 2019 installs so they can both be used as a day-to-day operating system. I am keeping the two guides together as Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 are both based on the NT10.* kernel and most steps are identical. Windows Server 2019 has been created to keep in line with the current version of Windows 10 – meaning they are almost the same OS!
Both Windows Server 2016 and 2019 come into 2 different editions (Datacenter & Standard) – either of which can be used as a mainstream desktop. In this guide we will use the Standard edition, however all instructions are the same. Microsoft offer a 180 day evaluation ISO which can be downloaded via the Windows Server Download Page, you can obtain a license using a Microsoft Imagine (formerly Dreamspark) account and of course you can go and purchase it.  Please feel free to ask any questions or share ideas in our comments sections at the bottom of each page.


Table of Contents:

  1. InstallationOS LanguageComputer NameOwner Information and Default User Account Name
  2. Wireless Networking and Enable Sound
  3. Disable Ctrl+Alt+Del at LogonPassword Restrictions and Shutdown Event Tracker
  4. Disable IE Enhanced Security and Enable Adobe Flash Player in IE
  5. Performance for ApplicationsEnable Memory Compression and Missing App DLLs
  6. Visual Effects/ThumbnailsAdd Desktop Icons and Taskbar Grouping
  7. Disable DEP
Check out our Automation Project now for Windows Server 2016!
Carry out most of the steps automatically with our new Windows Server 2016 Converter Utility

Utilities will soon be published for Windows Server 2019!
Other Manuals:
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47 Responses

  1. TrialMacameau says:

    If you need Memory Compression enabled you need to launch Powershell and type in there : Enable-MMAgent -mc because Memory Compression is disabled by default

    Also for Flash Player in IE if you want to use other programs like XSplit you need to enable Flash Player for IE… To do this you need to launch CMD in Admin and type in there : dism /online /add-package /packagepath:”CWindowsservicingPackagesAdobe-Flash-For-Windows-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.14393.0.mum”. Then reboot your computer and Get the Flash Player Update from Windows Update. Once this is done double check at the Adobe Flash Player website

    Those 2 things are mostly what was missed in the guide and could be pretty much useful in your Server Installation

  2. eduard says:

    How i can put windows shop in a 2016?
    Guide in 2012 say how install it but not this guide
    Please help

    • Windows Workstation says:

      Hi Eduard.

      I am aware there is a huge problem with the Windows Store.

      Microsoft has three development models for Windows 10 and Server 2016:
      Current Branch: Gets new features almost constantly – but things can go wrong, meaning more updates.
      Current Branch for Business: Businesses can “slow down” the addition of features so things are less likely to break
      Long Term Service Branch: No new features will ever be added, so things are extremely unlikely to go wrong.

      Microsoft of course want your to use the CB, but Windows Server 2016 is classed as an LTSB* edition of Windows as Microsoft doesn’t want updates and apps to constantly download – potentially compromising your ICT system.

      Cortana and Edge don’t even appear in the LTSB edition of Windows 10, likewise – not in Windows Server 2016**.

      I (and others I believe) are trying to pinch the store and Edge files from a “normal” edition of Windows 10 and inject them into Server 2016. This is a mammoth task so I might put a post on the Facebook page asking if anybody has any ideas as I am finding it quite hard at the moment.

      We’ll get there (hopefully).

      Ironically that is actually one thing that makes Windows Server 2016 such a good performing desktop, unfortunately at the expense of functionality to an extent.

      I don’t think it’s dead in the water – it will just take time and any help from anybody would be great


  3. Nick says:

    Link to download the converter is broken. Says you have no access to list contents in the directory.

  4. mark says:

    i’ve run all server versions as workstations and I find 2016 by far the easiest to configure and work with. only problem has been the store so far that would be uselell

    • Windows Workstation says:

      I totally agree that Server 2016 is the easiest platform to convert of all versions.
      I’m still trying to get the store working and still looking for advice.
      We’ll not be defeated!

  5. Lotusisrae says:

    I suggest to add to the guide enabling XPS viewer, Internet Printing Client and Fax Server (to get Windows Fax and Scan), in order to get as close as possible to the default features of Windows 10.

  6. microsvc says:

    Is no longer available?

  7. Lotusisrael says:

    I suggest also setting to Automatic the service Computer Browser, to be able to get the zeroconf function in WS2016.

  8. Matthew says:

    Does anyone know the OS Code for Windows Server 2016 in order to modify the AMD MSI installers to include? Example Server 2008 R2 was WIN_2008_R2

    Or if anyone knows of another way to get the full AMD Cat suite v17 installed on 2016?

  9. M says:

    I had issues with bad game performance. It turns out that, even on desktop, a power saving profile is enabled by default. Setting it to high performance solved all issues for me.

  10. Brfootball says:

    Are you able to play games on Server 2016 with these modifications?

  11. Litriam says:

    How To Enable Hibernate in Windows Server 2016?

  12. Ryan says:

    I have an ISO that comes with some of these changes already applied, but includes classicshell. I’m wondering how to strip classicshell from the ISO?

  13. Ryan says:

    Is it possible to install Nvidia drivers for GeForce products on Server 2016? I have read elsewhere that this is not possible, which would make the OS useless for gaming.

  14. Paulo Silva says:

    I have installed Server 2016 Datacenter in my laptop. ( A Lenovo W540 with 32Gb of RAM and a 1T SSD ).
    Everything seems to be fine. All drivers from Lenovo work just fine and I even have Bluetooth working.
    There is still one thing I could not make work: System Restore Points. Do you know if there is a way to make System Restore Points to work in Server 2016 ?
    Thank you very much

  15. dragos says:

    Autologin: I am also using autologin:
    WIN+R -> to open Run
    Look for the “Users” tab and uncheck the box next to “Users must enter a username and password to use this computer.”
    Press Apply and you will be asked to enter the password for the selected user, enter the password, press ok and restart to verify if Autologin works.

  16. Jeremy Porteous says:

    Sections 6.1-6.3 seem to be missing at present

  17. Jose says:

    Some links are dead

  18. Nikolay.Kapushka says:

    I have install server 2016 on my Surface Pro 3, but touch screen not working. Pen knob are working – it opens InkWorkspace. In UEFI touch is working. Under windows 10 – working.

    • Alex Wording says:

      Please let us know if you can get the touch and stylus working properly on 2016. I want to switch to server but I use a portable stylus and touch screen display for drawing. This display is a chinese crowd funded device, uses the actual ms surface pen purchased separately, and the ms drivers. If you can get touch and stylus working on your surface pro 3, then I will know that it should be workable on my display too.

      If anyone else has any further insight on ms touch/stylus support in server 2016, please do tell.

  19. Holgi says:

    is it possible to get Bluetooth working in Windows Server 2016 (with gui). WLAN is enabled, but I have a not working item in my device Manager.
    Bluetooth Symbol in the tray > Bluetooth is on, but don´t work

    BTW: I´m using Windows Server vnext (2019) Preview and Workstation Converter is working well! Thank you!!!

  20. Holger says:

    Hallo pauljrowland!
    I can´t get intouch with you, because [email protected] is rejected.

    I want to ask u for a little help.

    I´m writing a unattend.xml script for Windows Server 2016 (vnext) with gui and want absolutely no interaction (fully unattend).

    Therefore I have a “firstlogon-script” call in my unattend.xml:




    the firstlogon.cmd look like this at the end:
    Systeminfo | find /i “Microsoft Windows Server” >NUL

    set /a RC=%ERRORLEVEL%
    if %RC% == 0 goto Server
    if %RC% == 1 goto Desktop

    powershell.exe -File “%~dp0Scripts\Wrapper.ps1″
    goto End

    net start Wlansvc
    Netsh wlan add Profile filename=”%homepath%\Downloads\PortableAppz\WLAN\WLAN-Airport.xml”
    netsh wlan connect ssid=Airport name=Airport

    del /F /S /Q “%WINDIR%\Setup\*.*”

    so I´m am able to call your Wrapper script, which works fine so far.
    But as I mentioned above, I want a total unattend setup and so I don´t need
    a) a logfile
    b) a popup-box for manual or automatc installation (want automatic)
    c) a computer name change
    d) a owner-info change
    e) a admin account-name change
    f) a script complete information
    I´m not familar with powershell script language and so I don´t know which rows of the script are useless or to edit.
    Can you help me?
    Thanks in advance

  21. pleiades says:


    Thank you for the tutorial guide, I’m wondering if you could also post recommended hardware for doing this?
    can you use this for normal hardware you buy in computer stores?

    Thank you

  22. Macrohard says:

    Run a $1000 os as a desktop?

    Sure why not!

  23. James says:

    I would also recommend still grabbing the DirectX 9.0c SDK June 2010 Redistributable package and installing it to gain full support of XAudio2 and any possible missing DirectX files.

    You may also want to get the XBox360 or XBox One Controller Driver package as well, even if you have a controller that only supports DirectInput as it will install extra drivers that may be needed.

  24. Jim says:


    I just stumbled across this site and so far it seems to have some very good advice on how to setup 2016. I have been trying to setup 2016 in my tower for a few days now and I cant see to get past the WIFI and NIC not being seen or working. I have tried to add it through Powershell, but the install-windowsfeature command is not recognized for some reason. Other than that, 2016 seems to be working. I am using 2016 as a virtualization platform for modelling networks.The MOBO is an ASRock X370 Killer SLI AM4 ATX with an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 CPU and 64G of RAM, so it can handle Server 2016 just fine. And virtualization is turned on in BIOS/EFI. Any thoughts?

  25. Rabinson says:

    Do you have any comparison between Win7 and Win2016 Server in playing games ??
    Thank you.

  26. Dylan Taylor says:

    Is it possible to install the AMD Radeon R7 200 Series graphics driver on Server 2016/2019?

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