Upgrading from Microsoft Windows Server 2012 to Microsoft Server 2012 R2

In my home lab I have three servers running Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Datacenter.  Each server has the Hyper-V role installed and I have have guest virtual machines.  I’ve been traveling a lot but today I made some time to begin upgrading the hosts and guests to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 after reading a book about the R2 preview release.  Please note how I referenced the book as “preview release” as it was written before R2 RTM was out.  I was not only excited by the new features in R2 but according to the book* you could supposedly do an in-place upgrade without having to shutdown guest virtual machines, clean up snapshots, or not have any VMs with saved states.  Well let’s just say there’s a reason it’s a preview release book.  In upgrading my first Hyper-V host I did in fact have to stop all running VMs to upgrade but I did not have to clean up any snapshots. 

Running the upgrade from Windows you get your typical setup screens. 

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The error below was odd.  Toward the end of setup I had to do a reboot to continue because of errors but after that reboot I didn’t receive the error anymore.  The server did in fact have internet access so I’m not sure why I got this message.
(Windows setup couldn’t download the updates at this time. The latest updates will be available after setup completes through Microsoft Update.)

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The warning is your typical disclaimer saying some things might not work blah blah blah.  Since I was upgrading from 2012 to 2012 R2 and these are my personal servers there was a very good chance everything would be fine.  In a production environment I do recommend due diligence to make sure there are no problems before upgrading especially when upgrading from an earlier version of Windows Server.

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The error below was interesting.  I’m not sure why setup said the server needed to be rebooted.  Setup would not continue unless a reboot occurred.  Also according to the preview release book I should have been able to upgrade while VMs are running but that was not true.  I shutdown the guest VMs and rebooted. 

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I received the warning again but this time no errors and I was able to continue.   

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After what you normally see when installing Windows I was finally able to log in.  The time to upgrade took 50 minutes after doing the mandatory reboot.  I did notice a new icon on my taskbar!  Can you see what it is?  It used to be called the start button, then it was called the start orb in Windows 7, but I guess you would call it what now, the start window?  Clicking it takes to you to same place as when you click your flying windows key on your keyboard.  screenshot.34

Overall the upgrade was pretty simple.  Of course expect that server to be offline while the upgrade takes place.  If you’re running Hyper-V and use guest VMs it’s simple to move them to another host while you upgrade your host( s ).

*From Preview Release book “Unlike previous versions of Windows Server, you don’t have to perform a lot of preparatory actions before performing an in-place upgrade of your Hyper-V hosts.  For example, you previously had to do things like turn off the virtual machines running on the host, and you also had to delete any snapshots and saved states of the virtual machines. 

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