Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 and Server Core : Upgrading to Windows Server 2008 R2

1/17/2011 9:27:19 AM
When upgrading an existing server to Windows Server 2008 R2, all configuration settings, files, and programs are retained from the previous installation. However, there are still several important prerequisite tasks that you perform before the upgrade.


When upgrading a system to Windows Server 2008 R2, you need to have at least 834MB of free space on the system partition; otherwise, the upgrade will come to a halt.

Backing Up the Server

When making a major change on a server, something could go wrong. A complete backup of your operating system and data, including the System State, can make the difference between confidently telling the boss you had a setback so you conducted a rollback or quivering while you try to find a way to tell your boss a complete disaster has taken place.

Verifying System Compatibility

In the past, you could check system compatibility before starting an upgrade. Now, it is a best practice to use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit to verify Windows Server 2008 R2 compatibility before an installation. The tool can be accessed from the following Microsoft link:

Running the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool

As a prerequisite task, it is also beneficial to test the physical memory in the server before conducting the upgrade. Do the test by running the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool. The tool can be obtained from the following Microsoft link:

Ensuring the Drivers Are Digitally Signed

Microsoft started certifying drivers for plug-and-play devices during the release of Windows 2000 Server to stabilize the operating system. When installing drivers, an administrator had the opportunity to choose from digitally signed drivers or unsigned drivers. Digitally signed drivers ensure stability; however, it was also possible to install unsigned drivers. The unsigned drivers were not blessed or certified by Microsoft.

When upgrading to Windows Server 2008 R2, an error message is displayed when unsigned drivers are detected. In addition, the unsigned driver will not be loaded when the operating system is upgraded and finally rebooted. Based on these issues, it is a best practice to obtain only digitally signed drivers, upgrade unsigned drivers, or disable the signature requirement for a driver if you cannot boot your computer after the upgrade.

The following procedures should be used to disable the signature requirement on Windows Server 2008 R2:

Reboot the server and press F8 during startup.

Select Advanced Boot Options.

Select Disable Driver Signature Enforcement.

Boot into Windows.

Uninstall the unsigned driver.

Performing Additional Tasks

It is also beneficial to perform the following additional tasks before proceeding with the installation upgrade. Disconnect UPS devices as they negatively affect installation when detecting devices on serial ports, disable antivirus software as it might affect this installation process, and obtain drivers for the mass storage devices from the manufacturers.


It is worth noting when upgrading to Windows Server 2008 R2, the Windows Firewall will be automatically enabled once the upgrade is complete. Therefore, you will have to either disable the firewall or configure the appropriate inbound and outbound firewall rules after the upgrade is complete.

Performing the Upgrade

At this point, your data is backed up, you have verified compatibility with the new operating system, and you have read the release notes. It’s time to upgrade, so conduct the following steps:

Log on to the server and insert the Windows Server 2008 R2 media. The Install Windows page should automatically launch; otherwise, click on Setup.exe.

Click Install Now to begin the upgrade process.

On the Get Important Updates for Installation page, first select the I Want to Help Make Windows Installation Better option. By doing this, you will participate in the Windows Installation Customer Experience Improvement Program that allows Microsoft to collect information about the hardware configuration, installation settings, and errors received. This information helps Microsoft determine if updates are needed and identify areas of improvement.

On the same page, select either Go Online to Get the Latest Updates for Installation or Do Not Get the Latest Updates for Installation, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Getting important updates for the Windows Server 2008 R2 installation.


If the server is connected to the Internet, it is a best practice to select the first option. Obtaining the latest updates ensures a successful installation as the latest hardware drivers and Windows code are utilized.

On the Select the Operating System You Want to Install page, select the desired operating system, such as Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise (Full Installation). Click Next to continue, as illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Selecting the operating system to install.


Just as a reminder, as stated earlier in this chapter, you cannot upgrade a Windows Server 2003 system or Windows Server 2008 full installation to Server 2008 R2 Server Core. If Server Core is selected, the compatibility check on the subsequent page will produce an error and require a different edition to be selected.

Review the license terms and select the I Accept the License Terms option, and then click Next.

On the Which Type of Installation Do You Want page, select the Upgrade option, as illustrated in Figure 3. Upgrading the system will maintain existing files, settings, and programs.

Figure 3. Selecting the Upgrade option.

The Compatibility Report page is invoked. This screen includes a warning that it is a best practice to visit the following Microsoft link,, to ensure all programs are supported and can remain installed during the installation. It is recommended to uninstall any applications that are not supported. Click Next to continue.

The upgrade process commences and the Upgrading Windows page displays status on the following items: Copying Windows Files, Gathering Files, Expanding Files, Installing Features and Updates, and Completing the Upgrade.


During this process, Windows will automatically reboot the machine a few times, complete the installation process, and prepare the server for its first use.

The process for completing the installation and conducting postinstallation tasks is the same for both an upgrade and initial installation except that some settings may have been preserved during the upgrade process. In addition, after the upgrade is complete, it is a best practice to open Server Manager and verify events, determine if system services are operational, and ensure the upgraded server roles were, in fact, installed and configured correctly. In addition, review the Resources and Support section in Server Manager for recommended configurations, tasks, and best practices.


After the Windows Server 2008 R2 upgrade is complete, the Windows Firewall included with the operating system is enabled by default. It is a best practice to review and change firewall rules and settings to ensure server functionality.

  •  Windows 7 : Using Desktop Gadgets (part 3) - Using the Stock, Currency, Slide Show gadget
  •  Windows 7 : Using Desktop Gadgets (part 2) - Using the Clock, CPU Meter, Weather gadget
  •  Windows 7 : Using Desktop Gadgets (part 1) - Using the Calendar gadget
  •  Installing a Clean Version of Windows Server 2008 R2 Operating System (part 2) - Finalizing the Installation and Customizing the Configuration
  •  Installing a Clean Version of Windows Server 2008 R2 Operating System (part 1)
  •  Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 and Server Core : Preplanning and Preparing a Server Installation
  •  Customizing Windows 7’s Desktop (part 3) - Getting Around the Taskbar
  •  Customizing Windows 7’s Desktop (part 2) - Getting Around the Start Menu
  •  Customizing Windows 7’s Desktop (part 1) - Getting Around the Desktop
  •  Becoming an Excel Programmer : Navigate Samples and Help
    Top 10 Video Game
    -   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #10 'NETHER DOOM!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
    -   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #9 'KING SLIME!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
    -   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #2 'LAVA LOBBERS!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
    -   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #3 'OBSIDIAN LONGSWORD!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
    -   Total War: Warhammer [PC] Demigryph Trailer
    -   Minecraft | MINIONS MOVIE MOD! (Despicable Me, Minions Movie)
    -   Minecraft | Crazy Craft 3.0 - Ep 3! "TITANS ATTACK"
    -   Minecraft | Crazy Craft 3.0 - Ep 2! "THIEVING FROM THE CRAZIES"
    -   Minecraft | MORPH HIDE AND SEEK - Minions Despicable Me Mod
    -   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 92 "IS JOE DEAD?!"
    -   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 93 "JEDI STRIKE BACK"
    -   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 94 "TATOOINE PLANET DESTRUCTION"
    -   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 95 "TATOOINE CAPTIVES"
    -   Hitman [PS4/XOne/PC] Alpha Gameplay Trailer
    -   Satellite Reign [PC] Release Date Trailer