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How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware

How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware

Many people asked me if there is a tutorial on doing an in-place upgrade of a Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to 2016 and I always said it could not be done. Well, it can be done but you must make sure it is the right decision. Imagine you have Windows Server Essentials 2012 (R2) that was installed 3 –4 years ago the hardware it runs on is probably the same age. If you upgrade the OS to the latest version you want the time and money you invest to last for another 3-4 years I assume but is that realistic? I mean, the hardware is then really old. I always tell my customers to purchase new hardware with a major OS upgrade because in most cases the hardware you run the ‘old’ OS on is probably out of warranty. But there can be a valid reason for you to do an in-place upgrade of the ‘old’ OS to a ‘new’ OS and for that situation I wrote this guide. It is your decision to use the old hardware!

This method may work for you or it does not work. It is your decision to use this tutorial. We do not accept any responsibilty for the outcome of an inplace upgrade of your Domain Controller. The preferred way of upgrading a Domain Controller is a migration to new hardware and the migration guides can be found here https://www.server-essentials.com/migration-guides

Remember that this guide is only meant for Essentials like operating systems. This can never be done on any older SBS version, that must be a migration to new hardware always.

This guide has two chapters. In the first chapter we prep the old Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 and in the second chapter we complete the upgrade to Windows Server Essentials 2016.

  1. Start Server Manager from the Taskbar
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  2. Open Tools and then Active Directory Users and Computers
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  3. Right click the Domain Admin you use for this procedure. That should be the user account you normally use to administer the server.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  4. We need to make this admin member of two more security groups.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  5. Add Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins. This is needed because we are going to make changes to the Schema in your Active Directory.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  6. The Domain Admin is now a member of the Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  7. Click OK and logoff and logon again with domain admin credentials.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  8. Start an elevated command prompt
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  9. Click Yes.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  10. Pop in the DVD with Windows Server Essentials 2016 on it or mount the ISO you downloaded and change to the \support\adprep folder and type adprep /forestprep
    D:\support\adprep>adprep /forestprep

    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware

  11. Type ‘c’ and hit Enter. This will start the process
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  12. It will show you a success message if all is fine
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  13. Now run adprep /domainprep and hit enter.
    D:\support\adprep>adprep /domainprep
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  1. From the same elevated command prompt change to the root of that drive and type ‘setup’. The actual upgrade will now start. Choose ‘Download and install updates’.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  2. Enter your product key
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  3. Accept the terms
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  4. Choose ‘Keep personal files and apps’. DO NOT choose ‘nothing’ because that will delete your server.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  5. I am running the upgrade on my VMWare workstation version but you could get such a message also. Some devices need to have drivers updated before you can start the upgrade. If it is not something like Raid or network drivers you can click Confirm and continue
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  6. Even Microsoft recommends that you do a migration, so I am in good company with the advice I gave you when I started writing on this issue but we are going forward with this.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  7. Hit Install.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  8. There we go
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  9. And more waiting…
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware
  10. Once the server is up and running the ‘Configure Windows Server Essentials’ wizard kicks in and because all is already configured just click Close and you are done.
    How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware

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