Upgrading from Server 2012 Essentials -> Server 2012 Essentials R2 RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm having a bit of trouble with upgrading my internal home domain from Server 2012 Essentials to Server 2012 Essentials R2.  I've been following the guide from Microsoft "Install a Replica Windows Server 2012 Domain Controller in an Existing Domain".

    I want to replace my existing WS2012E with the WS2012ER2 and so far have completed the following:

    • Successfully converted my WS2012ER2 to a VM running on a domain-joined Server 2012 R2 server running the Hyper-V role
    • Installed WS2012ER2 on another machine, named it properly, and joined it to the existing domain (I cancelled the Essentials configuration dialog when it popped up - so no Essentials components have been setup and the new R2 server is not yet a domain controller)

    The guide referenced above talks about needing to install the new server as a replica DC before I will be able to move the corresponding DC services/roles over to the new server so my domain-joined clients running Windows 8/8.1 will continue to work on the domain as they do now.

    The first thing it illustrates is the Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard to "Add a domain controller to an existing domain", yet I can't find that utility anywhere on either 2012 Essentials server.  I even added the ADDS role to the R2 server but it complains that it needs to be made a domain controller before the ADDS configuration can be completed (which makes sense).

    Does anyone have a suggest or guidance?  I would appreciate any help on this - thank you!

    Saturday, February 1, 2014 5:19 PM


All replies

  • For Windows Server 2012 Essentials you have to use this link:

    hope it helps you,


    Housam Smadi

    Saturday, February 1, 2014 5:57 PM
  • Housam - Sorry to say, but that is not true.  There is no option to perform a "Migration" install when installing Server 2012 Essentials R2.

    The Microsoft documentation is HORRIBLY unclear.  In fact, when you follow the documentation for adding R2 as a replica domain controller, if you're paying attention, you follow the link that says to first complete the installation of Essentials R2 and come across this:

    "Installing Windows Server Essentials Experience as a role in Windows Server 2012 R2 has the following limitations:

    • It can only be deployed into a single domain.
    • A read-only domain controller cannot exist in your domain.
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials cannot be joined to an existing domain."

    The third bullet point, even if not really talking about Essential R2 and instead meaning to say 2012 R2 with the Essentials role cannot be installed into an existing domain is JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF POORLY WRITTEN AND CONFUSING DOCUMENTATION!

    This shouldn't be difficult and the documentation should be clear but it is anything but clear.

    Still looking for help or guidance...

    • Edited by LilHammer Sunday, February 2, 2014 8:57 PM
    Sunday, February 2, 2014 8:57 PM
  • I didn't use Windows Server Essentials by myself before but I searched the internet and found that it can be done if you follow the following Microsoft link:

    Remember that I didn't use it by myself and I don't have enough time to test it for you, but I recommend to follow the steps on a lab environment before you go to your production one.

    Housam Smadi,

    Monday, February 3, 2014 5:54 PM
  • Housam,

    Thanks for your input.  That's the guide I've been following and the second step is where you stand up your new Server 2012 Essentials R2 as a replica domain controller - but the instructions are not very clear.

    It shows that you first install SE2012R2 and then cancel the Essentials setup part after you log on for the first time.  You need to rename the server at that point if you're going to since you can't after it's a DC.  So, you reboot again, and again cancel the Essentials setup when it pops up.

    After that you're supposed to use the Active Directory Domain Services Wizard to add a domain controller as a replica but it doesn't tell you to run dcpromo.exe or anything and it doesn't tell you how to run the ADDS Wizard, and it doesn't tell you from which server to run it.

    I'm certainly new to setting up domain controllers and a domain but I'm not dumb either.  I'm surprised no one else has done this who can chime in...

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014 1:28 PM
  • Don't worry man... we will work together to make it clear enough for you.

    But first of all did you checked the files two links in the second option:

    1. Install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role enabled by following the instructions in Install and Configure Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014 2:10 PM
  • LilHammer,

    I hope you got everything setup OK. I ran into the same confusion and found this article helpful. It contains much more detailed steps on how to install Windows Server Essentials as a replica Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controller when migrating from a prior version of Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

    Monday, July 14, 2014 6:07 PM