Quick Reference for Upgrading to Windows Server 2012 R2

With the announcement of Windows Server 2012 R2 I have been receiving a lot of questions around upgrading.  To assist, I have put together a quick reference slide.  For details utilize the link referenced at the bottom of the slide.



Clean Install – wipe clean – install and restore via back-up

Upgrade – In place – settings, server roles and data kept in tack

  • Even with supported upgrade paths certain roles may require additional  preparation – see Technet

Migration – Move from existing OS to current on new hardware

License Convert –For example move from Standard to Data Center in same release or Evaluation to Licensed

  • Use DISM tool
  • To convert evaluation to current release – from elevated prompt provide edition ID and retail product key. The server will start twice.
  • To convert from Evaluation to 2012 R2 Essentials – you must enter license or key via slmgr.vbs command.
  • Domain Controller evaluations cannot be converted you must install an additional DC on a server running a retail version and remove AD DS from the DC

Minimum Windows Server 2012 R2 requirements referenced above are the minimum for Core Server installation. 

Kathleen Molosky 2013

Kathleen Molosky

Comments (7)

  1. stef says:

    Hi Kathleen. Can I directly upgrade from Server 2012 standard evaluation to Server 2012 R2 standard? I have a license key for R2, but I don’t want to buy a license for Server 2012 only to make an upgrade. THank you

  2. Vagelis says:

    Yea, i have exactly the same question: can we go from *eval* 2012 to retail 2012 R2? Thank you in advance.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Same exact question– can Server 2012 Standard Eval be licensed with a 2012 R2 Standard key?

  4. Mark says:

    Hi. Kathleen. I am a MS partner and have installed server 2012 standard using one of the license keys for that install. Can I upgrade to Server 2012 R2 without using a new license key or will the server go automatically register using a new key.

  5. Rayanne says:

    I work for a distributor. I’ve had the exact question from 3 different resellers now and cannot find the answer. Can you upgrade from 2012 STD (non R2) EVAL to 2012 R2 STD, I see no answers here.

  6. tony says:

    "in tack" ? you mean intact

  7. Mark says:

    Seriously Tony, go for a walk or something. Live a little.

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