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Upgrade Windows Server 2012 Essentials to 2019 Essentials RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just got my shinny new copy of Windows Server 2019 essentials, and was about to upgrade. But, it looks like there is not a direct upgrade path from 2012 essentials (NOT R2) to 2019 Essentials.

    Is there anyway to do an in-place upgrade without purchasing 2012 R2 or 2016?  I was curious if there was any way to upgrade to a trial version of 2016, just so I could upgrade that version to 2019 easily?

    If there is just no option at all, I also wondered could I do a clean upgrade and have my 20TB of Storage Spaces retained (I cannot lose all that data!)?

    I just have a single computer running as a domain controller & media server, for my home network and was just wanting to upgrade it as easily as possible.

    -Thanks

    Friday, January 24, 2020 3:09 AM

Answers

  • This process works for me:

    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.  Uninstall the Connector.

    2.  Save all the data you want from the old server somewhere off that server.  If QuickBooks, do a backup from within QB (don't use their "Move my QB to another computer", it is no good).  Any non-default settings such as DNS Server (and DHCP Server unless your router does that) 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 (static IP).  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. 

    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.  You don't want a profile created for the workstation's user yet.

    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 workstation.  And the new user name that you created on the new server.  This will set up this user on the domain using the old profile -- so the desktop and My Documents etc., should all be the same as before.  It can't migrate saved 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 

    Good luck.


    Peter



    • Edited by Peter400 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:32 PM
    • Marked as answer by K-Kline Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:29 PM
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7:38 PM

All replies

  • I'll let someone else chime in on the upgrade stuff for ya, but I do hope you realize that Microsoft (in its infinite wisdom) has completely killed off all of the "Essentials" features in that "shinny new copy of Windows Server 2019 Essentials" that you have sitting there. Everything that you've known (and probably loved) from previous versions of Windows Server Essentials is now gone. Windows Server 2019 Essentials is now just a lousy excuse of a server operating system with nothing whatsoever to do with the Essentials operating systems of days gone by. It's quite sad really.

    Windows Server 2019 Essentials - end of an era!

    Friday, January 24, 2020 3:35 AM
  • HI
    "I was curious if there was any way to upgrade to a trial version of 2016, just so I could upgrade that version to 2019 easily?"
    no.we can not upgrade from wse2012 to trial version of w2016. I still think we need to clean install wse2016. for your condition ,i think we can contact Microsoft Licensing Activation Centers to downgrade server essentials w2019 to server essentials 2016 first.
    Microsoft Licensing Activation Centers worldwide telephone numbers
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/existing-customer/activation-centers
    for your sever storage ,is it possible copy your files to external pc or external usb drive.
    Manage Server Storage in Windows Server Essentials
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/manage/manage-server-storage-in-windows-server-essentials

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

    Friday, January 24, 2020 5:30 AM
  • I had no idea. Now I'm super disappointed... :(
    Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:01 AM
  • Looking at all this, yeah, I'm guessing it's time to buy a 10TB external hard drive...do a full backup, and then just go back to square one on setting everything up.

    I just hope it's not too tough to re-add all the computers to the domain (and not have reset user accounts on the client computers, etc.).

    If anyone knows the answer to that question - how difficult is it to migrate settings or re-setup a server (that also serves as my domain controller) exactly the same...

    -Thanks!

    P.S. Thanks to @Andy YOU' & @TheOfficeMaven for their quick responses!

    Sunday, January 26, 2020 4:16 AM
  • HI
    Unfortunately ,although we clean install wse2016 in the old physical server and with the same domain name ,we still need to jion all client computers to this new server by using essentials connector,there will be new profile for end user on their client computer. 
    so first we need to backup user's old profile important data(chrome/edge favorite item,outlook ost,desktop file etc)  to no system drive partition on their local computer.

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

    Sunday, January 26, 2020 3:09 PM
  • The only way I have ever heard of successfully and reliably upgrading from 2012 Essentials is by using an expensive service specializing in this.  Even then, it does not go the way Microsoft implies it should.

    Start from scratch is the only reasonable way.

    You need to downgrade if you want to keep Essentials best features.  I do it with a new server from Dell that comes with the DVD and key code to do the clean install down(UP)grade to 2016 Essentials on the server that had 2019 preinstalled.  I don't know how to get the DVD/key from MS.

    In your case (using the same computer), the easiest would be to backup your data to an external drive before doing a fresh load of the newer OS.  I've tried putting a data drive from the old, into the new server and there was some kind of serious problem reading it.  So I ended up moving data using an external USB HDD.


    Peter


    • Edited by Peter400 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:08 PM clarification
    • Proposed as answer by Peter400 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:09 PM
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7:25 PM
  • This process works for me:

    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.  Uninstall the Connector.

    2.  Save all the data you want from the old server somewhere off that server.  If QuickBooks, do a backup from within QB (don't use their "Move my QB to another computer", it is no good).  Any non-default settings such as DNS Server (and DHCP Server unless your router does that) 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 (static IP).  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. 

    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.  You don't want a profile created for the workstation's user yet.

    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 workstation.  And the new user name that you created on the new server.  This will set up this user on the domain using the old profile -- so the desktop and My Documents etc., should all be the same as before.  It can't migrate saved 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 

    Good luck.


    Peter



    • Edited by Peter400 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:32 PM
    • Marked as answer by K-Kline Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:29 PM
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7:38 PM
  • Ohh man...really killin' me here, smalls! :(

    -Thanks, though!

    Wednesday, January 29, 2020 10:27 PM
  • HI
    I agree with Peter400 ,It will take some days to complete it .I hope eveything goes well. Good luck.
    How To Install Windows server 2016 essentials
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=367iYyBZ2ow

    Install and Configure Windows Server Essentials
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/install/install-and-configure-windows-server-essentials

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

    Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:07 AM
  • Similar situation here. 

    I have a Windows 2012 Essentials Domain/DNS/Print server at my wife's work with 40 computers and 25 users and need to upgrade.  How can it be this hard to migrate a system to a new Server OS? I'm really just starting all over again. How would a company with 15K employees do this (I work for a company this large)???  I agree that a clean install has always been the best way to upgrade (from my experience as well), but I would think by now they would have been able to create a configuration file that you could transfer over to the new Server.  Many other software packages I use have this. 

    OK - enough griping. 

    Back to my main question - how does a large enterprise migrate servers then?

    Thanks

     Apollo 
    Wednesday, February 26, 2020 2:15 AM
  • As a note for anyone who comes across this thread later, I finally had a weekend to work this...  And the steps outlined by @Peter400 were pretty much right on.

    ProfileWizard was a life saver!  And, I had a 20TB "Storage Spaces" setup, that actually worked out of the box on server 2019 (and that was after a reformatting of my main hard drive to install Server 2019 Essentials). So, my backing up everything to an external hard drive ended up being an unnecessary precaution.

    To add computers back to the domain, I did have to set the IPV4 & IPV6 DNS server of the client machines to the new server's IPV4 & IPV6 addresses to be able to "join the domain". And had a hell of a time getting my nVidia graphics card recognized (had to install the exact drive version, but only AFTER setting up the domain controller (installing the right roles & features).

    Thanks, again for the help @Peter400!

    Sunday, March 15, 2020 9:49 PM