Upgrading Windows 2008 R2 using DISM

Sometimes in the Enterprise environment there is a need to upgrade the version of Windows Server. With Windows 2008 R2 this is an easy task with DISM command and a KMS server. You can also use the command if you have a MAK key as well. Using DISM you can upgrade and every role, feature, app on your server will remain after the upgrade.

A few caveats:

  • You can only do upgrades. You CANNOT downgrade
  • The server you upgrade cannot be a domain controller (demote, upgrade, promote)
  • This works on Standard, Enterprise edition, both full & core installations.
  • You cannot switch form core to full or vice versa. It’s edition upgrade only, not for switching type of install.

First we need to see the possible target editions for your server. Open a command prompt and type. The server I executed the command on is running Windows 2008 R2 Standard Edition.

From the output of the command I see I can upgrade to DataCenter and Enterprise Editions. In this example I upgraded to Enterprise Edition by executing the following command. After running the command the server will need to be rebooted to complete the upgrade, you will have the option presented after running the command.
The syntax is:

When you have KMS (Key Management Server) in the activation will be done automatically and transparent for you.
Here are the public keys for use with a KMS server:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC Edition – FKJQ8-TMCVP-FRMR7-4WR42-3JCD7
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter – 74YFP-3QFB3-KQT8W-PMXWJ-7M648
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise – 489J6-VHDMP-X63PK-3K798-CPX3Y
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems – GT63C-RJFQ3-4GMB6-BRFB9-CB83V
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard – YC6KT-GKW9T-YTKYR-T4X34-R7VHC
  •  Windows Web Server 2008 R2 – 6TPJF-RBVHG-WBW2R-86QPH-6RTM4

Don’t worry this is public information KMS Client Setup Keys, these will only activate if you have a KMS server and the key make that KMS server work.
Using the DISM command makes upgrades and migration a lot simpler!!!

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