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Migrate from Server 2012 R2 Essentials to Server 2022 Standard

I need to be able to do a server migration from Server 2012 R2 Essentials to Server 2022 Standard (since the will basically be no "Essentials" version of Server 2022). The upgrade won't work since I'm attempting to go from Essentials to Standard. I can upgrade to Standard 2012 R2 using the evaluation key, but since it won't activate the migration to 2022 won't work (it fails at 3%). Is there any way to do this without having to purchase a 2012 R2 Standard license before I do the Server 2022 upgrade? Seems that Microsoft forgot about this kind of situation since they basically abandoned the "Essentials" version. I can always do a clean install, but the amount of work that will be done and the down-time is a lot of hours.

windows-server-2012windows-server-migration
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need to upgrade first to 2012 R2 Standard

to convert you can
Dism /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx /AcceptEula


then do the in-place upgrade to 2022

That's unlikely to work. They generally support a single version jump so 2012 R2 to 2019 would be as good as it gets.

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Just checking if there's any progress or updates?

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DSPatrick answered

The two prerequisites to introducing the first 2019 or 2022 domain controller are that domain functional level needs to be 2008 or higher and older sysvol FRS replication needs to have been migrated to DFSR
https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Storage-at-Microsoft/Streamlined-Migration-of-FRS-to-DFSR-SYSVOL/ba-p/425405

I'd use dcdiag / repadmin tools to verify health correcting all errors found before starting any operations. Then stand up the new 2022, patch it fully, license it, join existing domain, add active directory domain services, promote it also making it a GC (recommended), transfer FSMO roles over (optional), transfer pdc emulator role (optional), use dcdiag / repadmin tools to again verify health, when all is good you can decommission / demote old one.


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Quickpath-5229 answered

I can easily update the AD schema by using Adprep.exe, and the migration starts to work but dies at 3%. I'm guessing that this is because after converting to Standard from Essentials, Windows is not "activated" and won't because I used the eval key. Just seems to me that all I need is a 2012 R2 license and it would work just fine. I haven't tested this since I didn't want to spend the money on a 2012 R2 Standard license, but I'm at a loss to understand why Microsoft didn't think of this upgrade path since they aren't providing the path to 2022 Essentials to the gen. public.

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DSPatrick answered

I'm guessing that this is because after converting to Standard

This seems a different question but there's no need to convert the existing to standard.

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Quickpath-5229 answered

You cannot upgrade to Server 2022 from Server 2012 R2 Essentials - I have tried and it fails with a message that basically says that the version "types" need to be the same; i.e. Essentials to Essentials or Standard to standard. You can't upgrade from Essentials to Standard - if you know how to get it to work please let me know, but I have tries about a dozen ties and I get the same message. However, if I switch Essentials to Standard (using the Evaluation key) I can at least get it to try (it fails because the AD schema is different and the Adprep.exe certificate needs to be installed; but once these are fixed the upgrade starts- however it fails at 3%, which I'm guessing is because you can't activate an evaluation version of Server). Please correct me if I'm wrong - your input is greatly appreciated.

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Quickpath-5229 answered

One thing I haven't tried is the order in which some of this was done. I can attempt to update the AD schema first and then see if the 2022 upgrade works, but I'm not hopeful. I'm almost certain I'll get the version to version error message.

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DSPatrick answered

You cannot upgrade to Server 2022 from Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Yes, you would not want to try that any way. An in-place upgrade is risky enough not to mention a domain controller. Hardware that old is also not likely to support Server 2022. Check it here and with server manufacturer.
https://www.windowsservercatalog.com/

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Quickpath-5229 answered

Also, I want to do an in-place upgrade - I don't want to have to replace the server if I can help it. I'm basically cloning the drive to a new one so that I can keep the original drive if the upgrade fails and ends up hosing the OS. Once I switch from Essentials to Standard I can't go back even if I wanted to, so I had to put the original drive back in after my failed attempt. So I'm back to square one. I'm just hoping to find a way to do this because I have about 20 servers I need to do this for sometime before next year.

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DSPatrick answered

Seems very problematic and unlikely the hardware supports this but give this a go if you must.
https://server-essentials.com/support/in-place-upgrade-of-windows-server-essentials-2012-r2-to-windows-server-essentials-2016-on-the-same-hardware

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Quickpath-5229 answered

Yep, this exactly the process I used but with Server 2022, however your link is instructions for Essentials to Essentials. Since Microsoft is not releasing 2022 Essentials except directly to OEM's I have no way of purchasing a copy of it. Upgrading directly from Essentials to Standard does not work for any version of Server. I need to upgrade first to 2012 R2 Standard then do the in-place upgrade to 2022, but this requires me to purchase a 2012 R2 standard license from "who knows who", an iffy proposition. Thanks for your input.

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