How to gracefully leave Windows Server 2008 32-bit behind

John Atkinson
John Atkinson used Ask the Experts™
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A client is running Windows Server 2008 R2 32-bit in her dentistry practice.  I want to move her off 2008 before the end-of-support date, January 15, 2020, as simply as I can.  I have to move to a 64-bit server, to allow us to install the latest dental practice management software she uses, Dentrix.

Is there any path forward that involves just upgrading in place, so I don't have to deal with the server settings and application installations?  I'd rather not flatten this server, unless there's no other way.  They don't use domain accounts -- I think they're using this for fairly simple file serving.

Please describe the path forward, whatever it is, in as much detail as I might need, to accomplish this.  Thanks, Experts!
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End-user support
Commented:
> ...move to a 64-bit server, to allow us to install the latest dental practice management software she uses, Dentrix.

Depending of the software, I believe 32 vs 64 bit use different .dll compilations. But you'll probably be reinstalling. Dentrix looks like a decent program. IMO, best bet is to talk Dentrix support


> A client is running Windows Server 2008 R2 32-bit ...

> Is there any path forward that involves just upgrading in place,...

Some info from Microsoft...

For on-premises servers, there is no direct upgrade path from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2016 or later. Instead, upgrade first to Windows Server 2012 R2, and then upgrade to Windows Server 2016.


You can't do an in-place upgrade from a 32-bit to 64-bit architectures or from one build type to another (fre to chk, for example).


https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/installation-and-upgrade
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
As stated, there is no upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit.  It's a fresh install, period.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer

Commented:
There is conflicting information in the OP's original post, as there is no such thing as Windows 2008 R2 32 bit. All Windows 2008 R2 is 64 bit. Windows 2008 is available as 32 or 64 bit.

If OP means 2008 32 bit, there is zero upgrade path. New server build. Period.

A Windows 2008 R2 server can be upgraded.
NVITEnd-user support

Commented:
Just a guess but... Since OP then says "...I have to move to a 64-bit server", it may be safe to assume the current one is indeed 32 bit. ;)
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
put the existing server into a virtual machine or use the Server 2019 File Migration Service to migrate the data (not programs - requires reinstall)
John AtkinsonIT Consultant

Author

Commented:
David Johnson, what is the rationale for putting the existing server into a virtual machine?  What does that accomplish?
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
1) your question deals with "in place" meaning no new hardware.
2) the virtualization would provide you with a way to function while you rebuild the new server using existing hardware.
I.e. Use a workstation with hyper-v role as the temp host of your VM of the 2008 server.
3) if the hardware you have 2008 it is likely that 2012 is the last supported by the hardware. Further the age of the hardware would suggest that you consider newer hardware. Much depends on you whether getting a previously used system is a more cost effective way. The ?OS consider buying volume license type...
John AtkinsonIT Consultant

Author

Commented:
Thank you, all, for your insight and knowledge.

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