Windows Server 2016

So I installed Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2 tonight. I installed the non gui version known as Nano Server. The following are my initial thoughts are poking around on it for an hour or so. Very fast installation, you basically choose the mode you want to use either non gui or gui (they seem to refer to the gui as some sort of legacy option). Here is a screenshot of the initial login screen:


Logon Screen for Server 2016 Technical Preview 2.

When you press ctrl alt delete you are faced with a login prompt for the administrator account. First time boot asks you to change the administrator password. Subsequent boots you login with that password. Pressing Esc at this point instead of typing in the administrator password prompts you to choose another user, or login method, here I assume you will get the option to login via AD etc.

When logged in, press ctrl alt delete to get to the lock screen menu, you get various options. One of them is to start the task manager. This is similar to the Windows 8 Task Manager. It is interesting to see that there still is a minimal GUI. I was expecting a command line only interface, but I guess that was a little to far to go in this initial release.


The Task Manager in Server 2016.

The command prompt you are faced with is immediately familiar as it is the one you will interact with on other Windows Server releases. Typing in help and pressing enter give you a choice of commands that are available. You can type in TASKLIST and be confronted with a text representation of the tasks currently running for instance.

Annoying things

No tab completion for commands

When you begin typing commands and press tab there is no suggestion of available commands matching those characters. This is a minimal operating system I would expect some help in this department.

Appears rushed

Almost like they have just torn out everything they don’t need and left a minimal windowing system. Although I almost wonder if it was needed at all and whether command line only would have sufficed. Definitely interested to see where this goes.

If you close the command prompt you can’t get it back unless you log out and back in again, although I might be missing something obvious.

Good things


Fast to install and responsive to use.

Clean interface

Not overwhelmed with stuff you don’t need, just a command prompt and a black background.


Not really much to say on this one as there really isn’t much available to see, you are literally forced to use the command line and are not prompted with anything when you first login.

I’m going to play with it some more over the next few days and time allowing post some more about this. I’ll also install the “legacy” gui version and give that a look although I expect it to be visually similar to Windows Server 2012 as a lot of the improvements in Windows Server 2016 are under the hood.

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Can you improve on any of the tips I’ve discussed here? If you can let me know in the comments.

Jason Edwards