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Upgrading Windows 2008 R2 editions from the command line

windows-2008-r2-logoI had always thought you couldn’t update Windows Server editions from one to another without a reinstall as allegedly the base software wasn’t the same even though we all knew it was really just a file or two or registry key or two that needed to be changed.

This in fact wasn’t possible until Windows Server 2008 / Windows Vista SP1 which introduced Windows Edition-Servicing Command-Line Options using a built-in utility called the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool which doesn’t require any media to upgrade the edition and just needs a reboot.

I’ve recently had to do this with Windows 2008 R2.

You can’t use this on DCs, can only do upgrades, not downgrades and the supported Windows 2008 R2 upgrade paths are:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard -> Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise -> Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Server Core -> Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Server Core -> Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Server Core
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation -> Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

To find out the currently installed edition, run the following from an elevated command prompt:

DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition

1CurrentEdition

To find out possible editions you can upgrade to, run the following from an elevated command prompt:

DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions

2TargetEditions

To then start an upgrade, run the following from an elevated command prompt:

DISM /online /Set-Edition: /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

If you are using an Enterprise KMS Server for your licensing, there are in fact default Product Keys which you can use which are listed here:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793421.aspx

So, to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise from Standard you would run the following from an elevated command prompt:

DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerEnterprise /productkey:489J6-VHDMP-X63PK-3K798-CPX3Y

4SetEdition

Once you reboot your server, the upgrade process will commence and after a second automatic reboot your OS will be upgraded.

3UpgradingWindows

Certainly much easier than it used to be with a reinstall!

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