Upgrading Server 2008 RTM-SP2 to Server 2008 R2

Written by Sam McGeown
Published on 11/2/2010 - Read in about 2 min (266 words)

If you read the Microsoft blurb for R2, the first thing you notice is that Server 2008 R2 is 64-bit only(!). It seems Microsoft are forcibly removing 32-bit server hardware from the data centre. I’ve not seen a decent upgrade guide online so far, so here’s my process.

I’m going to be upgrading a Server 2008 R2 x64 SP2 Standard Edition virtual server to R2. To see what editions can and can’t be upgraded, check out this Technet Article, but it’s safe to say that you can’t upgrade across architectures (32-bit to 64-bit) and you can’t downgrade SKUs (Enterprise to Standard).

The first step, as ever, is always to back up your server, if the upgrade goes wrong, you can always restore and try again. You have been warned!

So, without further ado, slip in your R2 DVD and begin…



Select your target SKU

Select “upgrade” (obviously 🙂

Check your upgrade report (which is saved as HTML on your desktop. The first time I ran this it said that I didn’t have enough free space – it required a whopping 15GB, which makes me think that this is no Server 2003 –> R2 upgrade, it’s the full blown OS install. Assuming everything checks out, go ahead.

Sit back and grab a cup of coffee. After a while, you’ll reboot

  and the upgrade begins in earnest. Once the process is completed, and another reboot has happened, you’ll be upgraded to R2. You’ll need to activate it with your R2 key.

Once you’re activated, update your server using Microsoft update or your patching method.

Et voila!

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