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Restore Active Directory and Group Policy from WS2012E non-R2


baouss
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Hi there,

 

I am currently running Server 2012 Essentials and am considerung upgrading to R2 due to the Hyper-V role. AFAIK there is no direct upgrade path to R2.

Can I at least recover the complete Active Directory (or at least the users and pcs) and the Group Policy Objects when I have backed them up manually?

 

The rest I can very well reconfigure from scratch.

 

Cheers, baouss

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Yeah, I believe MS calls this kind of upgrade a "migration" instead of an "upgrade" or "in place upgrade". Do your research before attempting it as I believe it can be a bit tricky.

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Only way I would do it is to stand up a second server.  Migrate everything over and then decommission the first server.  

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Ok, since I dont have other hardware can I run the migration server in a vm, back this up with wbadmin and afterwqrds restore the system to the physical Hardware?

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You'd be quicker to do a clean install.  After all, how many objects can you have?

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It's not really a case of 'backing up and restoring' the way you are supposed to do this is to build a new server running alongside the existing one and install R2 in migration mode. This is a special time-limited (21 days) grace period in which you can have two Essentials servers in the same domain. As they are both domain controllers, active directory including all the user and PC accounts, GPOs etc. replicate across to the new server and hence you then simply decommission the existing one and run completely on the new box.

 

Now you don't have the luxury of having a new server, so what you would need to do is beg, steal or borrow, something (a reasonable PC will do or even a laptop) on which you install a copy of Server Essentials R2 and migrate to it as above. Then  decommission the original box, rebuild it with Essentials R2 and migrate back from the temporary domain controller.

 

Sounds like a lot of effort time, and it is, so you'll need to decide if it is worth it or just document all of your existing accounts etc. and start again from scratch. The advantage of doing this 'swing migration as we used to refer to it in the old SBS days) is that as far as your client workstations are concerned, nothing has happened, the user and PC accounts are all intact so for them it's business as usual.

 

In theory at least you might get away with a backup of AD and then a restore (it will have to be a proper authoratative restore-AD is a bit funny about restoring from backup) but as there are quite a few differences between 2012 and 2012 R2 (and off-hand, I can't remember if there is a schema update involved), it may easily not work properly and leave you with nowhere to go anyway.

 

John 

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