How to Upgrade Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard to Windows Server 2016 Datacenter

If you want to maintain the same hardware and all server roles that you have already configured without merging the server, perform an in-place upgrade. An in-place upgrade allows you to move from an old operating system to a newer one, keeping your settings, server roles and data intact. This article helps you to migrate from Windows Server 2012 Standard to Windows Server 2016 Datacenter.

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Server Backup

It is highly recommended to back up your operating system, applications and virtual machines. If the server you want to upgrade is part of the Hyper-V failover cluster, it is necessary to move the virtual machines to another server, we can move the machines with Quick Migration or Live Migration. You cannot have any virtual machines running during the in-place upgrade.

Initial installation

01 - To update the operating system, an installation media or ISO file for Windows Server 2016 is required. When you purchase the operating system you will have access to the software license and the ISO file of the operating system.

02 - After downloading the file Windows Server 2016 ISO, we can right-click and select the option Mount.

03 - After mounting the Windows server 2016 ISO file or inserting a USB flash drive or installation media Windows Server 2016 the screen with the Windows Server 2016 installation files will be displayed, click setup to start the update process.

04 - The screen Preparing will open, wait for the process to finish.

Download updates

05 - As the procedure is usual here, just select Download and install updates (recommended) to let the installation continue smoothly, I recommend checking the option: I want to help make the installation of Windws better, then click  Next.

06 - Wait for verification for updates.

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Product Key

07 - On screen Product Key, enter the activation key purchased when purchasing the operating system.

If you are using Windows Server 2016 in a lab environment, Microsoft will provide activation keys that can be used, click the link below to use them.

https://docs.microsoft.com/pt-br/windows-server/get-started/kmsclientkeys

In our environment we will use the following activation key available on the Microsoft website.

CB7KF-BWN84-R7R2Y-793K2-8XDDG

08 - In option Enter Product Key, enter the activation key and click Next.

Version selection

09 - Select the edition of the operating system you want, in my case I will use the Windows Server 2016 Datacenter (Desktop Experience). Then just click the button Next.

OBS: The Desktop Experience option allows you to install Windows Server 2016 with a graphical interface.

License Agreement

10 - After choosing which version to install we must read and accept the terms to proceed, click on Accept to continue.

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Whether or not to keep your files

11 - You need attention here, as you are upgrading a server version to a newer one, so you need to click on the option: Kepp personal files and apps to keep everything intact, then click Next.

Compatibility check

12 - At this stage of the installation, Windows Server 2016 will automatically check your system and find out if your Windows 2012 server is compatible with the requirements of Windows 2016.

13 - A warning saying that upgrading Windows Server is not recommended will be displayed, click Confirm to continue.

14 - After verification just click on the button Install.

15 - From now on you will need a little patience, because the installation takes a long time since downloading and installing updates, and several reboots.

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16 - Wait for the update process to be completed.

17 - Now that the installation is over, just press Ctrl + Alt + Del to use your server administration username and password

18 - As we can see in the video below, our operating system was successfully updated to Windows Server 2016 Datacenter.

19 - Make sure that all your applications are running and that the client connections to the applications are successful.

Conclusion

We upgraded Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard to Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and kept all files and applications on the server.

Have any suggestions or observations, comment.

Big hug, thanks and see you in the next post.

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Jádson Alves
Graduated in Informatics Degree from Universidade Tiradentes, Postgraduate in Administration and Security of Computer Systems from Universidade Estácio de Sá, Postgraduate in Information Security from Universidade Estácio de Sá, MBA in Computer Network Management from FANESE, MCT Certification, MCSE Core Infrastructure and MCSA Windows Server 2012, with over 07 years of IT experience. With knowledge in Windows Server operating systems, Linux operating systems, Virtualization, Azure, Asset monitoring with Zabbix.
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