1.1.2 Upgrading Servers

An upgrade installation is the most likely to have problems due to its complexity and therefore it is recommended that where possible, administrators perform clean installations or migrate applications and roles. If an in-place upgrade has to take place make sure the the server is prepared properly and there is a roll-back plan.

1.1.2.1 Upgrade Paths

Upgrades which are not supported

  • from a 32 bit architecture
  • from Itanium architecture
  • from another language
  • from a workstation computer
  • between build types
  • if it is a domain controller
  • from pre-release versions of Windows Server
  • if the installation type will change (e.g. from Server Core to Server GUI)

If the server is running a 64 bit version of Windows Server 2008 R2 or Server 2012, it can be upgraded to the appropriate edition of Windows Server 2012 R2. Table 5 shows the supported in-place upgrade paths for Windows Server 2012 R2.

Current System Windows Server 2012 R2 Edition
Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter SP1 Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise SP1 Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter or Standard
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard SP1 Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter or Standard
Windows Web Server 2008 R2 SP1 Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
Windows Server 2012 Standard Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter or Standard

Table 5: Windows Server 2012 R2 Upgrade Paths

1.1.2.2 Upgrade Preparation

Before performing an in-place upgrade follow this check list:

Check Explanation
Hardware compatibility Ensure the server hardware meets the requirements minimum for Windows Server 2012 R2. Also ensure device drivers are supported on the new operating system.
Disk space There needs to be enough disk space to hold the old operating system, the new one and any setup files.
Check software is signed Device drivers and other kernel-mode software must be signed or the upgrade could be aborted or hardware failures. Uninstall any unsigned software before upgrading.
Gather any required storage drivers To provide the setup with access to necessary mass storage for installation, have a copy of the drivers ready on removable media or placed in “/amd64” directory in the setup location.
Check application compatibility Create an inventory of all the software on the system and check the manufacturer to see if it is compatible. If this is not possible, test it on another server running the new version of Windows Server before upgrading. If the software is critical it is advised that the software is tested in the new environment before an upgrade, regardless of what the manufacturer claims.
Check system for faults Make sure the current install of Windows Server along with any third-party applications are running as they should.
Perform a full backup If anything goes wrong there needs to be something to fall back on. At the very least critical data must be backed up. When imaging the system ensure to take a copy of all boot and system partitions too.
Disable any anti-virus applications Anti-virus software can slow down the upgrade processes and possibly cause problems as well. It is best disabled during the upgrade process.
Disconnect UPS devices Disconnect UPS data cables before running the upgrade as setup will attempt to detect connected devices and sometimes UPS devices cause issues.
Purchase a suitable Windows Server 2012 R2 licence key Check the valid upgrade paths to ensure the in-place upgrade is possible.
Roll-back plan Be prepared to roll-back the upgrade if required. Have a cut-off time which allows enough time for the upgrade to be roll-back, before the maintenance window closes. Ensure the roll-back procedures work before proceeding with the upgrade.

Table 6: Windows Server 2012 R2 In-Place Upgrade Check List

During the upgrade process, the server may restart a few times. Whilst the upgrade is still in progress, the boot menu will provide the option to abort the upgrade and revert the changes. Once the upgrade is completed, this option will no longer be available.

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