Windows Server 2012 is the fifth version of the Windows Server server operating system built by Microsoft, as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems, and is the successor of Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows Server 2012 is the server edition of Windows 8 and is available since September 2012. Its minor update (Windows Server 2012 R2) is available since October 2013. To simulate this in a lab environment download Windows Server 2012. Please see how to download and install Windows Server 2016. In this guide, I will show you how to perform an in-place upgrade for Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2019. kindly refer to the following articles on how to Log Off WS2012: How to sign out of Windows Server 2012, and how to install Windows Server 2016 Operating System.
An in-place upgrade is the installation of an operating system or application on the computer without removing the older version first and without saving any data beyond normal precautions. In-place installations of operating systems have a tendency to cause problems, especially if the new version is very different from the previous one. See how to perform an Upgrade Windows Server 2019 to 2022 via iDRAC, and how to configure Windows LAPS.
Reasons to perform an in-place upgrade
1: If you want to keep the same hardware and all the server roles you’ve already set up without flattening the server, you will want to do an in-place upgrade. An in-place upgrade allows you to go from an older operating system to a newer one while keeping your settings, server roles, and data intact. Here is additional information on how to upgrade to Windows Server 2019.
|OS version||Version to Upgrade to||Upgrade process|
|Windows Server 2012||WS 2019||Upgrade to Windows Server 2016|
Direct upgrade from 2016 to 2019
2: Also considering the Windows Server 2012 Life Cycle as shown below, There is a need to prepare for what is next with a valid operating system supported by Microsoft. Therefore, you can perform an in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2019.
Windows Server 2012 Life Cycle
|Published released||Start date for life cycle||End date for basic support||Extended Support End date||Remarks|
|WS 2012 Datacenter||10/30/2012||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is a standard lifecycle.|
|WS 2012 Essentials||02/01/2013||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||Both mainstream support and extended support have been extended for this product so that all customers have the standard period to switch.|
|WS 2012 Foundation||10/30/2012||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||Both mainstream support and extended support have been extended for this product so that all customers have the standard period to switch.|
|WS 2012 R2 Datacenter||11/25/2013||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.|
|WS 2012 R2 Essentials||11/25/2013||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||Both mainstream support and extended support have been extended for this product so that all customers have the standard period to switch.|
|Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation||11/25/2013||09.10.2018||10/10/2023|
|WS 2012 R2 standard||11/25/2013||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.|
|WS 2012 standard||10/30/2012||09.10.2018||10/10/2023||The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.|
Current Windows Version
As you can see below, we are currently running Windows Server 2012, Datacenter Evaluation Edition.
Mount the ISO File
Begin the upgrade by mounting the Windows Server 2016 ISO image. Download DVDFab Virtual Drive in order to do this. Run the Setup and wait for the setup screen to appear. You see two options.
The ISO file has been mounted, lets double click on the drive to run the setup
This will open up the Windows Server 2016 setup as shown below. Click on Download Updates, drivers, and Optional Features (recommended). Click on Next
This will check for updates and also check your PC
Select Image to Install
Select the Image as shown below. Click on Next
Accept the License as shown below
This will open up a new window instructing you on what to keep. I will select “Nothing” as shown below. Click on Next
If you chose nothing, this will prompt you to choose yes in order to be very sure you want to continue. Next, Windows will collect updates
Windows is done collecting updates, the next process will be to check your system has enough space to install the Operating System and ensure everything is ok.
Install Windows Server 2016
When the setup checks everything is okay, the next window will prompt you to install Windows Server 2016. Click on Install as shown below
The server upgrade process begins as shown below. This can take a while! When this is done, your device will restart multiple times.
The following windows below show Windows Server 2016 is still installed. This process can take a while.
Let’s customize the server by entering the following information as it relates to you. When you are done, click on Next
Accept the License terms as shown below
Enter the password to your Administrators account as shown below. This step will finalize the Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2016 Upgrade
When Windows is done applying settings, you can now log on to your server as shown below.
As you can see below, the User Profile is currently being created on the Server. Please see For how to search through the Windows registry, and for what Registry Editor is and how to access the registry hives.
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Verify Windows In-place Upgrade
Now we are logged on to the server, let’s access the server system properties as shown below. The distribution point is now running fine on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Evaluation.
The next step would be to upgrade from Windows Server 2016 to Windows Server 2019. to do this follow the steps discussed in this article. When you are done, you should have a similar version of Windows Server 2019 running.
If you do not want to upgrade further to Windows Server 2019, then you can install the roles and features needed to make this server operate. For some examples see the following links.
- For how to Setup a DC (Setting up the Two Domain Controllers).
- How to setup (add) a second Domain Controller (DC) to your environment
- How to install and configure Active Directory Federation Service (ADFS) in Windows Server.
- How to install Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol on Windows Server 2019.
To ensure everything was successfully upgraded, we need to access the registry. On the server, run RegEdit. Check the value of the hive below. The version should show Windows Server 2016.
I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to perform In-place upgrade for Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2019. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.