Windows Server 2008 R2 standard member server to Windows 2012 R2 Standard Upgrade

I want to upgrade a  member server that is running Windows server 2008 R2 to Windows  server 2012 R2.  The active directory domain will remain  Windows 2008. The member server is used 100% as a dedicated file server and the only other application on it is the anti virus client and the backup agent.  This should be a simple upgrade, do you have any advise based on experience doing this?
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Brad GrouxSenior Manager (Wintel Engineering)Commented:
I'd generally advise against upgrading if at all possible. If it is a file server I'd configure it to be a DFS server, stand up a new 2012 DFS server and then setup replication. Let the data replication, then remove the 2008 R2 server.

With that said, if you absolutely have to upgrade due to hardware availability - upgrading from 2008 R2 to 2012 R2 is a pretty straightforward process, and you shouldn't have any issues.
The process should be pretty quick and relatively painless since there is no AD functionality involved here.

Here is a blog on a quick in place upgrade as well as a suggestion to test it on a VM first:

Good luck.
Steve WhitcherSystems AdministratorCommented:
A clean install and migration is always the preferred option, as Brad suggested, but given that most of us don't have spare production grade hardware lying around unused, the in place upgrade is fully supported you shouldn't have any issues.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The most reliable system you can have is a clean installed system, NOT an upgrade.  As stated, upgrades can be supported in most cases, but I will always opt for a clean install if at all possible.  If this is a VM (and really, why shouldn't it be), production hardware is not an issue.  If it's not a VM, then make it one unless you have a VERY VERY good reason not to.  Additionally, if the server were setup appropriately in my opinion, it would be EASY to perform a clean install - backup the C: drive, wipe it, and then reload.  Permissions are preserved on a domain and you don't touch the other drives.

BTW, You should perform a FULL backup of EVERYTHING regardless of how you get to 2012.  Upgrades can FAIL, clean installs can have stupid mistakes that wipe out partitions - BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!
masterofallAuthor Commented:
I don't believe in upgrades either but with only two  application software installed on this box which is fairly  new  I am thinking that I  should be able to uninstall those two software (anti virus and backup agent) and  do a pure O/S upgrade and it should work fine. This server is a true dedicated file server, it does not do anything else. not even act as  a print server.
It was based on this scenario that I provided the in-place upgrade, ordinarily I simply do a clean install.

However taking all things into consideration and there are no roles on this server, why not just do a clean install?

Either way your transition should be seamless.
masterofallAuthor Commented:
The box has folders for user profiles, persona folders and shared directories. It has one RAID-5 set.  If I were do a clean install on the C: partition  which is used exclusively for the O/S  then what is the guarantee that the file permission's would be retained on the other  partition  which is used exclusively for  files shares?  (I would have  having to do a restore from backup.)  I like  Brad's the DFS server solution but I have never use that technology.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
This is a DOMAIN.  Permissions are based on GUIDs/SIDs (Globally Unique IDs/Security IDs)- the GUIDs of the AD users.  NTFS permissions will remain because they are not part of the install, they are part of the data - file meta data in a sense.

SHARE permissions (which I never recommend using) will be lost.  HOWEVER, PROVIDED you assign the same drive letters, you can easily preserve share permissions by exporting the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares and then reimporting this key once you have setup the OS and drive letters.  (Drive Letters MUST match!)

To be clear, in a workgroup, NTFS security would NOT be preserved because the user accounts would need to be recreated and would not have the same GUIDs/SIDs.  Indeed, IF you have assigned permissions to LOCAL accounts, THOSE permissions WOULD be lost.  BUT, who in their right mind assigns permissions to local groups and accounts on a file server in a domain?

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