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Upgrading from Windows Server Essentials 2012 to Windows Server Standard 2012

Posted on 2014-04-30
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Last Modified: 2014-06-05
All,
I've read a LOT about upgrading from Windows Server Essentials 2012 to Windows Server Standard 2012 BUT, some things have changed since a lot of the articles were written. R2 is now out which brings me to my questions.

We are currently running Windows Server 2012 Essentials and need to upgrade because we are going to go over 25 users soon.

Here are my questions:
1. What version of Server Standard 2012 do we purchase? the original version or R2? (keeping in mind that we are NOT on R2 currently)
2. Can we purchase an OEM base license and then add the CALS?

I don't have a go-to person at Microsoft for licensing and figured one of you have done this before.

Thanks all!
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Question by:rheide
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
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First, you SHOULD go to Microsoft - anything we tell you is based on our interpretation of a license and our location where the laws affect that license - your location and your interpretation may differ.  Telling a judge "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not count for much if you're sued in an audit.

That said, I'll say with reasonable confidence that MOST LIKELY, based on my interpretation of the license agreement and understanding of the laws I'm subject to in New York:

You CANNOT upgrade with an OEM copy - you need to buy a retail or volume license copy.  The only way you can upgrade with OEM is if you buy a new server and migrate to that server.

What I would recommend if you were my client - buy 2012 R2 VOLUME LICENSE.  Then you get your 2012 key and you would install that key (transmog) the existing 2012 Essentials system to remove MOST of the limits (the remaining limits are not licensing based, but technology based in that if you start changing certain things, you could break certain things, like remote access).  You'd still have a 2012 R2 license for use later and you could virtualize the existing system and ADD a 2012 R2 server.

(CALs for 2012 cover 2012 R2, so you need to buy an appropriate number of CALs).
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