How to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 to Windows Server Essentials 2016 on the same hardware By Mariette Knap inplace upgrade 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. × Purchase a subscription to migrate the way it should be done! We excel at providing you the tutorials you need to get through that difficult migration project or configuration. It's like having a virtual coach looking over your shoulder. The documentation you'll find here is priceless. Our migration guides have screenshots of every step and Powershell scripts if applicable. One on one support is included in the IT Pro and IT Pro Mentor subscriptions. Success guaranteed! Click here Don't show me this again 1. Prepare the Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 Start Server Manager from the Taskbar Open Tools and then Active Directory Users and Computers Right click the Domain Admin you use for this procedure. That should be the user account you normally use to administer the server. We need to make this admin member of two more security groups. Add Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins. This is needed because we are going to make changes to the Schema in your Active Directory. The Domain Admin is now a member of the Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins. Click OK and logoff and logon again with domain admin credentials. Start an elevated command prompt Click Yes. 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 Type ‘c’ and hit Enter. This will start the process It will show you a success message if all is fine Now run adprep /domainprep and hit enter. D:\support\adprep>adprep /domainprep 2. Run the in-place upgrade to Windows Server Essentials 2016 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’. Enter your product key Accept the terms Choose ‘Keep personal files and apps’. DO NOT choose ‘nothing’ because that will delete your server. 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 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. Hit Install. There we go And more waiting… 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.