As another part of my series for Windows Server 2019, this blog post covers the in-place upgrade feature. The in-place upgrade allows you to upgrade your existing LTSC versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 servers to Windows Server 2019. Windows Server 2019 In-place Upgrade will enable businesses to update to the latest version quickly. Especially if you have servers which you might need to install some dependencies for the applications. I saw a lot of customers who not have documented their server installations and neither used infrastructure as code to deploy them. For these customers, it can be hard to upgrade to newer versions of Windows Server. With the Windows Server 2019 In-Place Upgrade feature, this should get a lot easier. Especially since Windows Server 2019 brings a lot of improvements.
You can in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2019 from
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- Windows Server 2016
If you run older versions of Windows Server, you might have to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 first.
To find out more about the in-place upgrade on the Microsoft Docs page.
How to in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2019
To in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2019, insert the Windows Server 2019 media into the existing server, by attaching an ISO file, copying the sources, adding a USB drive or even a DVD drive and start the setup.exe.
The setup will discover the existing installation and will let you perform an in-place upgrade. The installation will run for a couple of minutes; it will take quite some time depending on the speed of your server hardware and the installed roles and features.
Microsoft MVP Didier Van Hoye did write a great blog post about Upgrade testing. In that blog post, he has a quick look at upgrading to Windows Server 2019.
You can also find an overview of what is coming new in Windows Server 2019, in my blog: Windows Server 2019 – What’s coming next.Tags: Hyper-V, in-place uprgade, Microsoft, setup, update, Upgrade, Windows Server, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 Last modified: April 25, 2020
Thanks Thomas. Is the in place upgrade process the same for 2012 R2/2016 servers that hold FSMO roles?
it is way to do “in-place rollback” to windows server 2016. Intel X722 network driver have bug with create Hyper-V switch today. And new release with patch they promise to December :-(
i was trying to do in place upgrade from windows 2012R2 hyper-v to 2019 server datacenter with desktop experience, but when it it came to ‘choose what to keep’, it only allowed me select nothing.
Its important to note that you cannot even choose this upgrade path if you boot from win 2019 iso. Instead you must run setup from within existing OS.
Any way to migrate SBS2008 to Standard Server 2019? My disk keeps saying not a valid os….:(
Yes SBS and Essentials are a little bit different. We have some articles on Docs, for example, this one: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/migrate/Move-Windows-SBS-2008-to-the-Destination-Server-for-migration?WT.mc_id=thomasmaurer-blog-thmaure. I hope this helps.
@Ernest – not conventionally possible or recommended – do a fresh setup instead.
I am currently running on server 2008 R2 Standard..however I also have SQL2012 running. this server is just dedicated for the SQL. Is there a way to just do a fresh install of server 2016 or 2019 without interfering with the SQL?
Sure, you can just do a fresh server install and backup and restore the Database or use other ways to migrate SQL server. This article here is about different migration options for a SQL Server to a new one in Azure. But most of them also work to just move from a SQL Server to a new SQL Server running on another server. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/sql/virtual-machines-windows-migrate-sql?WT.mc_id=thomasmaurer-blog-thmaure
I’m going to upgrade. Valuable info’s. So much helpful. Thanks a lot.
Question: I have a windows server 2012 essentials that i’m thinking of upgrading to 2019 essentials. i understand that there is no direct in-place upgrade. can i use the 2016 essential evaluation version then buy/upgrade to 2019 essentials?
Did you have a look at this Docs article: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/migrate/migrate-from-previous-versions-to-windows-server-essentials-or-windows-server-essentials-experience?WT.mc_id=thomasmaurer-blog-thmaure This should cover the part for your scenario. Does that answer your question? :)
i need upgrade my win 2012 R2 to 2016 without any ISO image. I need to know if it can be upgraded ? requesting to Help
Well, you will need a medium (ISO or disk) and a license to do that. Where did you get your licenses from? they usually also offer different download sources.
I currently have a server running 2016 Standard Eval edition, and have keys for 2019 Server Standard. The ISO I find online only seems to include the 2019 evalution. I know once the evaluation is installed, I can use DSIM to convert to standard, but during the upgrade process I don’t get the option to keep any of my files. Would I be able to activate the 2016 evaluation to a full standard version, than use the media to upgrade to 2019? I’m trying to avoid doing a fresh install but from what I’ve ready you can’t upgrade any standard version to an evaluation version of a later build.
I have the same problem – on a server 2016 eval I used dism to convert to standard edition and activated after that. Now I would like to in-place update to server 2019 – but the only media I can get is the eval version from ms site, and when I run the setup from windows I dont get the option to keep my files and settings, only clean install…..And I dont get the change to key in a new 2019 license either….
I had successfully upgraded a DC from 2008R2 to 2012R2 and it is functional. I’ve since read not to upgrade DCs and that M$ says I have to Upgraded from 2008R2 to 2012 and then 2012R2. Not sure how I got around that. But system says I’m on Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. I’m also on the 120 grace period. I want to in-place upgrade from 2012R2 to 2019 Standard so that I have a license again. I’m mystified how to go about this. OEM 16 core for 2019, from what I’ve read, don’t include in-place upgrade. How do I go about getting 2019 standard with a license that also supports in-place upgrades. Or am I approaching this all wrong. Likely I am. What should I be doing? Very confused at this point.
Trying to upgrade a test VM just to determine what I need to do when upgrading our Hyper-V host.
My test subject has 2016 server eval installed and when trying to upgrade the what to keep the keep personal files and apps is not available, the only option is bare metal install and that is not what I want to do.
Any idea on what’s going on?
Can you inplace upgrade a live server 2008r2 using an evaluation server2012 and then finally to a licensed 2019 ?
Scenario: Server 2008 r2 computer has been demoted to member, Av removed.
Just spent a fraught couple of days trying to work out best way the upgrade our 2012 network DC’s and hyper V servers to 2019 without having any 2016 licences. Not managed to find a solution. It seems there is no way unless you have 2012R2. If anyone knows how to do this would appreciate a reply. Otherwise it is clean installs all round with adding and demoting the ADC etc. What a lot of work. I tried using the 2016 evaluation version as interim but didnt get anywhere.
@TomH – why go through all of this trouble if it’s just a DC you’re trying to upgrade. Install server 2019 fresh, promote it to a DC, let replication from your primary DC happen for a few days, transfer the roles to the 2019 server and demote the original.
Can you upgrade Windows 2012 R2 Standard to 2019 Essentials? Not a DC, just a secondary file server with a few roles installed and a dozen users.
Can I upgrade a Windows 2012 R2 Essentials to Windows 2019 Standard.
The 2012 R2 essentials is a stand alone box but I am waiting on a new Dell Box with 2019 and a 2019 Std VM which will have OEM licences.
Could I install a backup of the 2012 r2 essentials as a VM on the new box then do an upgrade to 2019 with the OEM Licences?
For all those worrying about upgrading to 2019 via 2016 or 2012R2 and not having licensed versions, if you buy a 2019 Std or DC licence, then you get automatic Downgrade rights from Microsoft. You can thus get a valid MS licence key for an earlier version of the same edition or below to use for an interim stage upgrade. The are called Downgrade rights