Windows – Is it possible to run Windows without GUI

command linewindows

I'm just wondering if it is possible to run Windows without its GUI like Linux—with just the virtual terminal (tty)

The reason behind this is that my Windows 7 box often freezes whenever some random application hangs up, such as Firefox (ya even Firefox, Chrome doesn't do that), MSN, Microsoft Office, etc. (I reinstalled countless times and Windows has been like that for every version I used, I think it's really just being like Windows D: )

However, I noticed that although when a program hangs up and thus freezes almost my entire desktop, if I happened to have a console window up (I have SUA, Unix layer built into Windows, installed), just use the kill command, it shuts down that unresponsive application in a blink and returns me a responsive desktop again.

So I'm wondering: is it possible to switch to some text-only interface when the desktop hangs up, just like I sometimes do on Linux?

Best Answer

Windows Server Core is a 'GUI-less' version of Windows:

Beginning with Windows Server 2008 Microsoft offered the option to install the operating system without large parts of the graphical user interface (GUI). This means when you logon to the server all you get is a command line prompt. There is no Windows Explorer, no start menu and no Internet Explorer among others. You want to set the IP address? Use the command line. Want to reboot? Use the command line. Want to . . . ? Well you get the idea.

For older and non-server versions you can edit the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>Software>Microsoft>Windows NT>CurrentVersion>Winlogon and change the Shell value to cmd.exe instead of Explorer.exe.

Not exactly GUI-free options, but it eliminates Explorer and a lot of the visual 'niceties' that eat all your resources. :)