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

Posted on 2011-04-25
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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.
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Question by:bobsully53
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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.

DrUltima
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by:akhalighi
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 .
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by:KeterHD
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.
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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.
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by:KCTS
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
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by:Justin Owens
ID: 35462656
KCTS is correct:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/migration-paths.aspx
Unsupported Upgrade Scenarios

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