Upgrade Remote Desktop Services deployments
Applies to: Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2016
In this article, learn about which Remote Desktop Services (RDS) versions can be upgraded and the order to upgrade your Remote Desktop (RD) role services.
Supported OS upgrades with RDS role installed
Beginning with Windows Server 2012 R2, you can upgrade to a newer version of Windows Server by two versions at a time. For example, to upgrade to Windows Server 2022 from Windows Server 2012 R2, you would first need to upgrade to Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019.
Flow for deployment upgrades
In order to keep the downtime to a minimum, use the follow as a guide:
RD Connection Broker servers should be upgraded first. If you have an active/active configuration, remove all but one server from the deployment and perform an in-place upgrade. Perform upgrades on the remaining RD Connection Broker servers offline and then reapply them to the deployment. The deployment isn't available during the RD Connection Broker servers' upgrade.
It's mandatory to upgrade all RD Connection Broker servers. Windows Server RD Connection Broker servers in a mixed deployment are not supported. Once the RD Connection Broker server(s) are running a new Windows Server version, the deployment remains functional, even if the rest of the servers in the deployment are still running the previous version.
RD License servers should be upgraded before you upgrade your RD Session Host servers.
RD license servers from an older version of Windows Server work with newer versions, but they can only process client access licenses (CALs) from the older Windows Server version. They can't use the newer Windows Server CALs. For more information about RD license servers, see RDS CAL version compatibility.
RD Session Host servers can be upgraded next. Avoid downtime during upgrade by splitting the servers to be upgraded into steps as detailed. All will be functional after the upgrade. To upgrade, use the steps described in Upgrading your Remote Desktop Session Host to Windows Server 2016.
RD Virtualization Host servers can be upgraded next. To upgrade, use the steps described in Upgrading your Remote Desktop Virtualization Host to Windows Server 2016.
RD Web Access servers can be upgraded anytime.
- Upgrading RD Web might reset Internet Information Services (IIS) properties, such as any configuration files. To not lose your changes, make notes or copies of customizations done to the RD Web site in IIS.
- RD Web Access servers from an older version of Windows Server work with newer versions.
RD Gateway servers can be upgraded anytime.
- Windows Server 2016 and later doesn't include Network Access Protection (NAP) policies—they have to be removed. The easiest way to remove the correct policies is by running the upgrade wizard. If there are any NAP policies you must delete, the upgrade blocks and creates a text file on the desktop that includes the specific policies. To manage NAP policies, open the Network Policy Server tool. After deleting them, select Refresh in the Setup tool to continue with the upgrade process.
- RD Gateway servers from an older version of Windows Server work with newer versions.
VDI deployment – supported guest OS upgrade
Administrators have the following options to upgrade VM collections:
Upgrade managed shared VM collections
Administrators need to create VM templates with the desired OS version and use it to patch all the VMs in the pool.
Windows 10 can be patched to Windows 11.
Upgrade unmanaged shared VM collections
End users can't upgrade their personal desktops. Administrators should perform the upgrade. The exact steps are to be determined.
Issue: If the RD deployment has the RD Web Access (RDWA) Role already installed and has been upgraded from a previous windows installation, a new upgrade might fail. For example, if the deployment containing RDWA upgraded from Server 2012 R2 to Server 2019, another upgrade to Server 2022 might encounter a failure.
Workaround: Before migrating for the second time, check if the following registry key is present:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Terminal Server Web Access\IsInstalled
If it isn't present, open an elevated PowerShell prompt, then run the following commands:
$registryPath = "HKLM:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Terminal Server Web Access\IsInstalled" New-Item -Path $registryPath New-ItemProperty -Path $registryPath -Name Version -PropertyType String -Value "6.0"