Upgrading Your Server to Windows Server 2012

Christopher Lentz | May 30, 2014 11:38 AM

A lot of companies really struggled to get their desktops switched from Windows XP to one of the newer versions of the popular desktop operating system, Windows 7 or Windows 8. It seems the server market was following suit as many small businesses that rely on their technology are still running unsupported versions of Windows Server including Server 2000 and Server 2003. First, if you are an IT admin and you are still using Windows 2000 it is time to hang up your hat and find another profession. Our job as administrators is to keep our clients or companies systems performing at their best at all times, if you are running an operating system that is well over a decade old you are not fulfilling your end of the deal. Let's talk about the things you can do to get your business up to speed with the latest version of Windows Server 2012.

The Server 2003 Upgrade Path

If you are starting with Server 2003, let me just warn you that you have your work cut out for you. This is especially so if you are not using 64 bit hardware, more about that later. There are two options to get your system up to Server 2012. The first, involves first upgrading to Server 2008 R2 initially. The only real case for this scenario is that you absolutely must maintain your settings and programs. However, there is one key caveat here: If you are not on a 64 bit version of 2003 you will have to start with a clean install. That brings us to the second option, a clean install. I know that is probably not what you want to hear but the new Server 2012 is worth the time and effort.

The Server 2008 Upgrade Path

Luckily for those of us who were running Server 2008 and 2008 R2, the path is much easier. In fact, this might be one of the easiest transitions I have ever encountered with Microsofts server operating systems. Again, if you are not on a 64 bit version you will have to perform a clean install of Server 2012. There are also a few unsupported paths here as well: Upgrades from Pre-RTM releases, Itanium releases, cross-platform moves (32 bit to 64 bit), and finally cross-language moves (French to English, etc.)

What To Look Out For

For some reason, many people including administrators fail to check the compatibility of their critical server applications with new operating systems. This is a step that can not be missed when upgrading to Server 2012. In any upgrade situation it is always critical to make a full backup of your data and then perform several test restores. This ensures that if things turn upside down for some reason or another, you have a way to get back to where you started. If you are going to be migrating roles to a new install of Windows Server 2012, keep in mind that you can only do a single role at a time performing this function. 

Hopefully you now have an idea of what it takes to go from your current server operating system to the latest and greatest, Microsoft Server 2012. If you are thinking of upgrading, why not give us a call and let us help with the preparation, setup, and maintenance.


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