Windows Server

How to perform an in-place upgrade for Windows Server 2012 to 2019

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 Oktober 2013. To simulate this in a lab environment download Windows Server 2012. On how to download and install Windows Server 2016.

Reasons to perform an in-place upgrade are as follow;
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 versionVersion to Upgrade toUpgrade process
Windows Server 2012WS 2019Upgrade 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. In this guide, I will be demonstrating how to perform an in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2019.

Published releasedStart date for life cycleEnd date for basic supportExtended Support End dateRemarks
WS 2012 Datacenter10/30/201209.10.201810/10/2023The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.
WS 2012 Essentials02/01/201309.10.201810/10/2023Both mainstream support and extended support have been extended for this product so that all customers have the standard period to switch.
WS 2012 Foundation10/30/201209.10.201810/10/2023Both mainstream support and extended support have been extended for this product so that all customers have the standard period to switch.
WS 2012 R2 Datacenter11/25/201309.10.201810/10/2023The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.
WS 2012 R2 Essentials11/25/201309.10.201810/10/2023Both 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 Foundation11/25/201309.10.201810/10/2023Both mainstream support and extended support have been extended for this product so that all customers have the standard period to switch.
WS 2012 R2 standard11/25/201309.10.201810/10/2023The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.
WS 2012 standard10/30/201209.10.201810/10/2023The basic and extended support for this product has been extended to provide customers with a transition life that is standard lifecycle.

As you can see below, we are currently running Windows Server 2012, Datacenter Evaluation Edition.

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.

Now it has being 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

This will launch the setup “Select Image” window 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

When 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

Now that Windows is done collecting updates, the next process will be check your system has enough space to install the Operating System and ensure everything is ok.

When the setup checks everything everything is okay, the next window will prompt you to install Windows Server 2016
– Click on Install as shown below

Now 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 installing. This process can take a while.

Let 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 finalise the Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2016 Upgrade

When Windows is done applying settings, you can now log on to your server a shown below.

Now we are logged on to the server, lets 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 operating. 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 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion hive. The version should show Windows Server 2016.

For how to search through the Windows registry, see https://techdirectarchive.com/2020/03/18/how-to-search-the-windows-registry/
For what Registry Editor is and how to access the registry hives, see https://techdirectarchive.com/2020/02/08/what-is-registry-editor-and-how-to-access-the-registry-hives/

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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