changing to a new sbs 2016 essentials server from sbs 2012 essentials server RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have purchased a new server with SBS 2016 essentials. my old server is sbs 2012 essentials. What is the best way to move my workstations to the new domain without losing all the data?

    There are 10 workstations and they are all running windows 10 professional 1903.

    thanks for any input.

    Wednesday, July 24, 2019 2:30 AM

All replies

  • You can follow along here.



    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server] Datacenter Management

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees, and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, July 24, 2019 2:45 AM
  • HI
    If your server system is windows server 2016 essentials edition (no server 2016 std or 2016 datacenter)
    1, prepare your Source Server for Windows Server 2016 essential migration
    Bakup up your source server 2012 essentials .Check your destination server name as you expected ,if it is not ,change it first.
    2, We recommend that you decide and complete the email migration before you do next step.( Please note that, new Windows Server 2016 Essentials Experience does not provide built-in on-premise Exchange component(not same as SBS 2011 Standard) and need to hold all FSMO server roles.
    3 ,Add DHCP server , but set to manual startup (until go-live).if you want migrate dhcp to destination server ,you can migrate it at this step.if you not want to migrate DHCP server ,you can ignore this step.
    4 , Use AD account who is both in domain admins and Enterprise Admins to transfer all fsmo roles to new server 2016 essentials (If it is possible ,you can exit domain for every client computer or active local administrator account first.)
    5 ,move other server role , move settings and data to destination server 2016 essentials
    6,enable folder redirection on the Destination Server, and then delete the old Folder Redirection Group Policy setting.
    7,install connect software and join computers to the new 2016 essentials .
    8, Doing some necessary settings on dashboard in server 2016 essential(e. g RWA, backup schedule  etc )
    9   remove old w2012 essentials from your current environment 

    Detail operation step you can refer to Microsoft document :

    Best Regards
    Andy YOU
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
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    Wednesday, July 24, 2019 2:24 PM
  • HI
    Is there any progress on your question?

    Best Regards
    Andy YOU
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact

    Sunday, July 28, 2019 3:49 AM
  • Most servers with pre-installed versions of Windows Server 2016 Essentials or any version of Essentials are preconfigured and if you the run the wizard that launches when you boot the server for the first time will install a new domain. This invalidates the installation for a migration.

    In a migration scenario you do not create a new domain but rather you would install the new server as a replica domain controller, move FSMO roles and demote the old server. In this scenario all workstations will keep the profiles and no data will be lost nor any settings on those workstation get lost.

    In order to migrate the old server to the new server you must do a clean installation on Windows Server 2016 Essentials and cancel the wizard that starts the installation of the Essentials Experience role. After this you will install Active Directory Domain Services and promote the new server to become a replica Domain Controller. Next steps are:

    1. Migrate DHCP if you have that installed on the old server,
    2. Migrate shares, files and folders,
    3. Migrate any LOB app you have
    4. Demote old DC

    Mariëtte Knap [alumna Microsoft SBS MVP] | Linkedin | Migrations done the easy way
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.

    Sunday, July 28, 2019 12:34 PM
  • HI
    Is there any progress on your question?

    Best Regards
    Andy YOU
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact

    Wednesday, July 31, 2019 7:02 AM
  • I believe that the answer you are looking for is whether Microsoft supports migrating to a new server if you use Essentials.  The answer is no.  As an Essentials user, you see Microsoft's marketing that this type of server can be maintained by a business owner who isn't a professional server technician.  That is correct (if all goes well).  But it is not correct to extend this to an ability to upgrade your server.

    I have extensive experience maintaining many Essentials based networks.  When I look at Microsoft's information on the subject, it appears that nobody there really cares to see an Essentials ever upgraded.  Their procedure is arcane, self-contradictory, poorly designed, and never updated for two newer Essential versions.  If you try it, chances are the outcome will be disastrous.  I believe that would be the case for me as well, despite my experience.

    So there is no viable upgrade path for you.  Hiring an experienced IT professional who has extensive recent experience migrating (regular) Server, probably does not have experience with Essentials -- and if you don't do things "the Essentials way" it will get hopelessly botched up.

    Here is how I believe you should proceed: Don't do Microsoft's procedure for migration.  Instead, start from scratch on the new server.  Do not connect the new server to the network yet -- they will fight each other.

    1.  Remove all of the workstations from the 2012 domain (Look it up. In general: System Properties/ Computer Name/ Change/ WORKGROUP).  But first: make sure you have the ability to log onto a local Administrator account for each PC.  And know the user name and user folder currently in use, since you will need to migrate that profile back to that PC later (use the "set" command from Command Prompt). Realize that the new server will ignore the existing user account (profile) even if user name and password and everything else are the same, and would normally create a new empty profile ("I've lost everything") - but we have a workaround below.

    2.  Save all the data you want from the old server somewhere off that server.  Maybe you can just move the data drive over (but you will have to move that data to the matching folders generated in the new server even though they are the same name).  If QuickBooks, do a backup (don't use their "Move my QB to another computer", it is no good).  Any non-default settings such as in DHCP Server will need to be recorded and set on the new server.

    3.  Unplug the old server from the network, repower routers and switches, and do setup of the new one on the network.  Make sure your UPS is rated for this server (e.g., real sine wave)!  You can use the old domain name or not.  But don't ever plug the old server back into this network.  Get it stable and updated and seeing the Internet.  Several reboots.  Create a SiteAdmin user account with Administrator privileges.   Create any desired data folders other than default and start copying the saved data into them. Install programs, if QuickBooks, best create a new data folder for it and do a restore to that folder then run the QB Data Server Manager on that folder.

    4.   Add all the user accounts in the Dashboard of the new server that you use on the old server.  Manually type in.  You can set up groups now if you use them.  You may have to check folder access for users and groups later, when the data is all moved over. 

    5.  Log onto each workstation with its local Administrator account, and run the usual server/connect from browser (make sure they have the same date and time).  When it asks for User, use your SiteAdmin login even though it says it isn't safe.

    6.  When Connector is done, still log in with SiteAdmin.  Get a great piece of free software called Profile Wizard and follow its instructions.  This is where you will need to know the profile / user folder that you want to continue to use on that PC.  And the new user name that you created on the new server.  This will set up the user on the domain using the old profile -- so the desktop and My Documents etc., should be the same.  It can't move passwords so those will have to be re-entered, e.g., email accounts in Outlook.  Log in with this user and fix any maps and shortcuts.  Best to not map drives anymore, just use shortcuts (some old software will still require mapped drive).

    7.  Set up Server Backup in Dashboard.  Recommend two WDPassport self powered, both plugged in when setting up.  Then swapping works (be sure to always Eject Media when unplugging a drive).

    Good luck.


    • Proposed as answer by Peter400 Tuesday, August 20, 2019 9:00 PM
    Thursday, August 8, 2019 9:15 PM
  • Peter,

    Not sure where you get the idea from that you cannot migrate a Windows Server Essentials server? It is utterly wrong and misleading information you post.

    Mariëtte Knap [alumna Microsoft SBS MVP] | Linkedin | Migrations done the easy way
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.

    Friday, August 9, 2019 5:27 AM
  • I thought your answer was the best at making the existing guidance more understandable. 

    You misread my point.  I was answering the question as asked.  The "you" in my discussion is this typical Essentials user (as targeted by MS advertising) who is likely more a business manager than a tech.  "You" is a person who still thinks it is SBS.

    And I did not say that it cannot be done.  I gave the opinion that it is poorly supported and you should not, since it could easily go wrong if the current instructions are used by a non-expert. 

    Microsoft does not come even close to providing a migration path that is consistent with Essentials' designed purpose: easy management by a studied non-tech.

    I would be happy to see someone constructively give this questioner a migration path that is consistent with their expected skill level and easier to do than the path I provided.

    A good answer would be to use one of the available migration providers to do this instead, if you can afford it.


    Friday, August 9, 2019 8:33 PM