Tutorials

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How to migrate SBS 2011 to Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials

How to migrate SBS 2011 to Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials

Small Business Server 2011 end of life is coming soon

SBS 2011 end of life is coming soon so we need to migrate to a newer OS like Windows Server 2019. This migration guide will help you do that. Migrating from SBS 2011 to Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials is an easy job if you use our guides. This migration guide includes, very detailed, every step you should make to migrate your server. 

Where is the 'Essentials Experience Role' and is the guide different now?

In Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials the Essentials Experience role is no longer available. This means we will have a different approach to the migration of the Redirected Folders and the use of the SBS 2011 Group Policies involved. This is very well explained in chapter 12 and 13. In addition to this, we have developed some Powershell scripts that now uninstall silently the SBS 2011 ClientAgents from your workstations and laptops without actually touching the desktops. Very cool!

Migrate Exchange Server 2010 mailboxes

Your Exchange Server 2010 mailboxes can be migrated to a new Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016 or you can migrate to Office 365. The guides for those migrations are located here:

Remember that migrating to Exchange Server 2019 is not possible from Exchange Server 2010. We need to migrate first to Exchange Server 2016 AND we must get the SBS 2011 out of the way and raise the functional level of our Domain Controllers to a minimum of Windows Server 2012 R2. Exchange Server 2019 can ONLY be installed on Windows Server 2019 and higher. More reading Exchange Server 2019 system requirements, Exchange 2019 Requirements, Exchange 2019 Memory Requirements, Exchange 2019 Client Compatibility | Microsoft Docs

Easy to understand instructions and explanations

This tutorial describes in depth the correct method to migrate an old SBS 2011 to a new Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials. 

Sample network layout in a typical SBS 2011 network during a migration

Every step in this tutorial has a screenshot and if any Powershell is involved we have made it easy for you to copy it to your own situation. This tutorial will guide you from the start until everything has been migrated to the new server. Users, security groups, files, folders, shares, and permissions are migrated so there is no loss of data or do you need to recreate profiles or users. And at the end of the procedure, we will show you how you can safely remove the old SBS from your Active Directory. 

A complete migration guide for your SBS 2011

In this migration tutorial, we migrate everything, and that includes the Domain Controller, AD, DNS, DHCP, files, folders, users, security groups, shares, and permissions, so there is no loss of data or do you need to recreate profiles or users.

Role or data Is migrated in this tutorial
Active Directory Domain Services
DNS
DHCP
Folders, folders and shares
Redirected folders (made by the SBS console/policies)
Certification Authority
Users
Security and/or permissions
Profiles
Exchange email to either Office 365 or a new on-premise Exchange Server 2016
Migrate printers

This migration guide does not disrupt daily operations at all, so you do not lose any productivity time in your company. 

Frequently Asked Questions

After you move FSMO roles to the new Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials you are no longer compliant with the EULA. Microsoft enforces this by a 21 day countdown. After those 21 days are over your SBS 2011 will shut itself down, it will be useless for you. You need to demote, unjoin and decommission the server and repurpose the hardware.

Yes, in this guide the Certification Authority is also migrated to the version included in Windows Server 2019.

You can start with migrating your mailboxes from Exchange Server 2010 to Exchange Server 2016 even before you migrate the FSMO roles or do any other of the migration-related procedures in this guide but I urge you to complete chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 before introducing the new Windows Server 2016 + Exchange Server 2016.

Technically you can but it is not supported. If you ask me I would never do that because it is something not supported by Microsoft and if you run into issues they will not support you and I will probably ask you if you have read this guide?

A migration from SBS 2011 to a new Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials and an on-premise Exchange Server 2016/2019 server is a total of two workloads. We do not purchase two physical servers for that but we virtualize. This means we install one Hyper-V host and two Virtual Machines. If you migrate email to Office 365 you will have one server on-premise and in that case, you can purchase one server and install Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter or Essentials on it but I prefer to virtualize that also. 

With this migration tutorial, you don't need anything else! For an overview of all migration tutorials visit Migration guides for Windows Server 2012 or 2016 Essentials.

At the bottom of this migration guide you will find a downloadable Zip file that contains the Powershell scripts to complete this migration. You need to unzip it to c:\scripts on each server. The scripts write output to a date and time stamped text file that can be used for troubleshooting or reporting.

The most asked question is when do you migrate Exchange Server 2010 mailboxes. There is no easy answer to that question. It can be before you start the migration of the rest (this guide) or you can do it during this migration but before chapter 16. One thing you should understand is that uninstalling Exchange Server 2010 from the SBS 2011 kills the SBS 2011 Dashboard and Remote Web Access. There are tricks to get Remote Web Access working again, but you can no longer use the SBS 2011 Dashboard, it is crippled. If you are not sure what to do, please open a ticket at Premier Support for SMB, and we will help you.

Clear and comprehensive technician guides so you can get it done


We excel at providing you the tutorials you need to get through that difficult project, migration or configuration. It's like having a virtual coach looking over your shoulder. The documentation you'll find here is priceless. Our technician 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.

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About www.server-essentials.com 

www.server-essentials.com is founded by Mariette Knap, a Dutch Microsoft MVP. www.server-essentials.com is a community for IT Consultants and Business Owners who, themselves, take care of the IT infrastructure and Employees who do that little extra in the company to keep things running. Our forum is for discussing all things ‘IT’ and more.  Our documentation is top notch and written by and for the community.

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