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The Dwindling Windows GUI
September 20, 2016

The Dwindling Windows GUI

For those systems administrators who love the familiarity of the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI), we’re sorry. Folks have been predicting the end of the Windows GUI since 2011, but now it seems that Microsoft has taken the steps to make it happen, slowly.

The Windows GUI has been around since 1985, which was at the time Windows 1.01. While the GUI has served its purpose throughout the decades, abandoning it at least partially may be the best move.

What’s Changing

This year, Microsoft will be rolling out the Nano Server. As the name suggests, it will be a lean operating system (OS), but one with limited use. A benefit of Nano Server is its ability to quickly scale in the cloud. One of the most interesting aspects of the Nano is that it ditches the GUI in favor of a CLI (command line interface).

Windows Server 2012 offered the option to install without the GUI. Now going one step further, the Windows Server 2016 default deployment method will not install the GUI strattera dosage. Microsoft is suggesting that customers should avoid using the GUI when possible.

In the ideal network, the most important server roles like web, database, or file storage, do not need a GUI at all.

Why?

First, while the GUI provides a more user-friendly experience, it also opens your servers to a wide assortment of vulnerabilities. In fact, Internet Explorer alone is ranked #7 in the top 50 products by total number of ‘distinct’ vulnerabilities (Firefox and Chrome are 3 and 4 respectively). For a closer look at GUI related vulnerabilities, check out this study by ESET, noting a long list relating to Internet Explorer and Edge on page 1.

Another reason to leave the GUI behind is to enable the adoption of scripting and automation. In many cases, automation tools render the GUI unnecessary, anyway. The GUI also uses more system resources, meaning that your system’s speed will certainly increase by going GUI-less.

What about my applications?

As mentioned previously, the most important server roles should be command line, for security and performance. To run third party applications, we would recommend isolating them to desktop use, or a tightly controlled virtual machine. Everyone still has access to the applications that they need, while the most important data is safe.

What does this mean for your company?

Nothing, if you choose to continue using the GUI. The option isn’t going away. It’s just not ideal. Many administrators who aren’t familiar with CLI and PowerShell will be hesitant.

If you want to reduce the number of vulnerabilities in your network, however, you may want to consider going GUI-less. Your IT department will want to be familiar with CLI and PowerShell scripting.

If you want to make the switch to CLI for the increased security and performance, but you aren’t sure where to start, contact us. Sierra Experts has extensive experience both deploying and managing GUI-less environments.


Sierra Experts is an IT Managed Service and Support provider, specializing in remote monitoring and remote management of computing systems, cloud/virtual systems hosting, VoIP/SIP PBX trunks and solutions, physical server hosting, software development and hardware and software reselling. For more, check out www.SierraExperts.com