Can I do an in place upgrade of a domain controller?

Posted on 2011-04-25
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I know I can upgrade Windows 2003 R2 to Windows 2008 R2, but my question is can I do this on a domain controller which is handling DNS and DHCP functions.  This server does not hold any of the FSMO server roles, but it is in a remote office so I want to avoid too much downtime.  I am wondering if it will keep the DHCP settings.  As I am using Active Directory Intergrated DNS, I think I would be safe there.
Question by:bobsully53
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

Justin Owens earned 2000 total points
ID: 35461897
The technical answer is that you should not have any issues with this.

Now, for a purely personal thought:  I don't like or support upgrading a server level OS (really, even client level, but that is a different soap box).  There are just too many things which can go wrong, especially when it is a DC, DNS, DHCP, etc..  A better solution would be:

1) transition services to another site or server
2) rebuild the server with the new OS
3) transition the services back to that server.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 35461898
I don't anticipate any issues with usual upgrades. 2003 to 2008 is a very common upgrade path.you should be safe. however it's always good to have a backup. it'd be great If you can virtualize 2003 server and keep a VM of it .

Expert Comment

ID: 35461956
You should be able to perform the upgrade if at least Windows Server 2003 SP1 is installed. IMO this is kinda risky, though, so as akhalighi said - better have a good, working backup (as a VM would be excellent, although I'd do both).

Also, this guide here might help you to perform the actual upgrade.
Problems using Powershell and Active Directory?

Managing Active Directory does not always have to be complicated.  If you are spending more time trying instead of doing, then it's time to look at something else. For nearly 20 years, AD admins around the world have used one tool for day-to-day AD management: Hyena. Discover why

LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35462054
I agree with DrUltima - CAN you - yes... SHOULD you, NO.  Clean installs are always better unless you have a VERY compelling reason not to.  If this is JUST a DC/DNS/DHCP server, then I would DCPROMO it down, remove it from the domain, reinstall it cleanly and promote it back to a DC.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 35462595
If you are using 2003 R2 in its 32bit version then you can't do an inplace upgrade to 2008-R2 which is 64bit only
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Justin Owens
ID: 35462656
KCTS is correct:

Unsupported Upgrade Scenarios

   Cross-architecture in-place upgrades (for example, x86 to x64) are not supported.

Featured Post

Upgrade your Question Security!

Add Premium security features to your question to ensure its privacy or anonymity. Learn more about your ability to control Question Security today.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

The recent Microsoft changes on update philosophy for Windows pre-10 and their impact on existing WSUS implementations.
Resolving an irritating Remote Desktop connection that stops your saved credentials from being used.
This tutorial will walk an individual through the steps necessary to configure their installation of BackupExec 2012 to use network shared disk space. Verify that the path to the shared storage is valid and that data can be written to that location:…
This tutorial will walk an individual through the steps necessary to join and promote the first Windows Server 2012 domain controller into an Active Directory environment running on Windows Server 2008. Determine the location of the FSMO roles by lo…
Suggested Courses

850 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question