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Upgrade of a Domain Controller: Part 2

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in Technical Articles (Views: 2021)
So, in part 1, we went over ADPrep and how to prepare the forest and domain for an upgrade, now, we go through the actual OS upgrade process itself.

So, what risks are associated with upgrading a Domain Controller, say during work or production hours? Well, keep in mind, DCs, like any Windows Upgrade, have to restart a few times. So, if you have more critical services, like DHCP, expect any client to not be able to get back on the network if they can't resolve to their DHCP server. If you are using a CA, maybe publish the CRL or have an online responder, expect that to be down while the upgrade is in progress. Of course, the FSMO roles themselves are the most important, especially the PDC emulator.

Updating the OS, the steps:

This should be very straightforward to anyone who has done an OS upgrade, so I am not going to go into tremendous detail here.
  • When Windows is booted, go to your installation media, and double click Setup. If prompted, say Yes to elevating privileges

  • Click the Install Now button

  • Choose whether you want to do updates or make the installation experience better, personally I pass on both, despite Microsoft's warnings that the world may come to an end.

  • If you are not running Enterprise or a VL copy, you'll be asked for your product key. Go ahead and put this in and click Next.

  • Then, you'll be asked to install a server with or without a GUI. Since my 2008 R2 had a GUI, I am going to simply select Server with a GUI again.

  • Next, you will need to accept the license terms to continue. Click "I accept" and Next.

  • Now, we will be asked which type of installation we want. Select Upgrade by clicking on it.

  • Next, your system will be checked for compatibility. Do not forsake this step. It will not allow you to continue with critical errors (like a lack of disk space). It will check for things like driver and application compatibility. If you have any warnings, address them first before continuing. This warning shown is not a big one, so we can continue.

  • Windows will then begin installing and as needed, restart. The next time you'll be able to log in is post upgrade.

  • After that phase is completed, you will have a reboot, then devices install, then another reboot or two after that.

  • You will then get close when you see this…

  • And finally…

  • You can now log in and see your updated Domain Controller.

  • Some notes:
  • You can update this remotely over RDP – one way I did it was simply copying the installation media locally and running it from there. When I returned, Windows was updated.

  • If you have more than one domain controller, you may want to test replication to make sure everything is working correctly (another blog).


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