I just installed Windows Server 2012 R2 today to see how many changes were made in the UI compared to Windows Server 2012.
Not surprisingly, the changes were miniscule!!
The only major change in the UI was the addition of a “pseudo” Start button.
I call it a “pseudo” Start button because it does not open the traditional Windows Start menu that we have become used to in previous versions of Windows (such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2), but rather, it simply opens the Windows Metro Start screen.
However, on this new Windows Metro Start screen, they have a new, unexplained “arrow” icon (in the bottom left hand corner). By clicking on this arrow icon, you jump straight to the Apps screen. So, this is a minor value added convenience over and above what was in the base release of Windows Server 2012, but overall, it does not add back the productivity that was previously available to desktop and laptop users in Windows Server 2008 R2.
Well, fortunately, there are still a number of Start Menu alternative providers out in the market place for us to choose from such as Classic Shell.
In addition, Windows Explorer renames “My Computer” to “This PC”.
Finally, they seemed to have removed the concept of "Libraries" and simply provided the standard folders of "Pictures", "Music", "Videos" etc. reverting back to the days prior to Windows Vista when the concept of "Libraries" was first introduced.