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

Posted on 2011-04-25
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

    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

    I don't anticipate any issues with usual upgrades. 2003 to 2008 is a very common upgrade 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 .
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    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.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    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

    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

    KCTS is correct:
    Unsupported Upgrade Scenarios

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

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