Solved: In-Place Upgrade Server 2012 R2 to 2016 Fails

You can find solutions when there is an issue with in-place upgrade Server 2012R2 to 2016 fails. Always take a backup before upgrading for rollback!


By Miya Updated on October 18, 2023

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User Case: In-Place Upgrade Server 2012 R2 to 2016 Fails

“Hey, folks! Ran into a snag while trying to upgrade my server from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2016 in-place. It failed and I'm scratching my head here. Using an HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9. Wondering if anyone else with a similar setup faced similar issues. Any tips or tricks to get past this hiccup? Appreciate any help or insights you can share! Cheers!” 

Are you also experiencing an in-place upgrade Server 2012 R2 to 2016 fails? Don't worry, this article analyzes the reasons why this can happen and some corresponding solutions that you can take a look at. It is worth noting that you should always backup your server data before upgrading so that you can roll back immediately when problems occur.

Why In-Place Upgrade Server 2012 R2 to 2016 Fails?

There can be several reasons why an in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 fails (This also applies in-place upgrade Windows Server 2008 R2 to 2012 R2 fails). Here are a few common issues that could cause the upgrade process to fail:

  • Incompatible hardware/software: Server 2016 has specific requirements. Incompatible drivers/software or not meeting requirements can cause the upgrade to fail.
  • Insufficient disk space: Adequate free disk space is needed for copying/installing new OS files. Lack of space can lead to failure.
  • Third-party driver/software conflicts: Installed third-party drivers/software can conflict with the upgrade. Uninstalling or updating them is recommended.
  • Corrupted system files: Corrupted files in Server 2012 R2 can cause the upgrade to fail. Running a system file checker tool is advisable.
  • Insufficient system resources: Adequate CPU, RAM, and disk I/O resources are necessary for successful upgrades. Underpowered servers or high resource utilization can hinder the upgrade.
  • Firewall/security software: Enabled firewall/security software may block necessary upgrade processes/files. Temporarily disabling or configuring them can help.

In-place upgrades such as Server 2012 R2 in-place upgrade to 2016 are complex and have risks. Backing up data and performing a clean installation is often recommended.

How to Deal with In-Place Upgrade Server 2012 R2 to 2016 Fails?

Windows Server In Place Upgrade

If an in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 fails, here are some steps you can take to deal with the situation:

✔Identify the cause: Determine the reason for the upgrade failure by checking error messages or logs.
✔Rollback to the previous state: Revert the server to its original state, using backups or system restore options.
✔Resolve the issue: Take necessary steps to address the identified problem, such as fixing compatibility issues or resolving disk space problems.
✔Retry the upgrade: Attempt the in-place upgrade again after resolving the problem and ensuring the prerequisites are met.
✔Consider alternative upgrade methods: If the in-place upgrade continues to fail, opt for a clean installation and migrate applications, data, and settings.
✔Seek professional assistance: Consult Microsoft support or experienced IT professionals for guidance and troubleshooting.

It's important to note that proper planning, testing, and having a backup strategy in place can help minimize the likelihood of upgrade failures. Regularly review and address any known compatibility issues, ensure system health, and perform thorough testing in a non-production environment before performing the actual upgrade.

✍Tip: Seeking detailed Windows Server in-place upgrade or clean installation tips. Please click here.

Foolproof: Backup Your Server 2012 R2 to Prevent Data Loss

During the upgrade process, you may encounter errors like installation failures, long upgrade durations, or insufficient storage space. Even after completing the upgrade, persistent system issues may persist. To prevent data loss, it is recommended to back up your Windows Server 2012 R2.

For effective data protection and disaster recovery, you can consider using reliable and Pro backup software like AOMEI Backupper Server. This software offers comprehensive backup and restore solutions for various Windows operating systems, including Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista, and Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003. Some notable features of AOMEI Backupper Server are:

✱Multiple backup types and destinations: Schedule system, disk, file, and partition backups to local disks, external drives, network shares, and cloud storage.
✱Versatile backup methods: Perform full, incremental, and differential backups to optimize efficiency.
Scheduled backups: Automate backup tasks based on triggers like daily, weekly, monthly, event triggers or USB plugin mode.
✱Bootable rescue media: Create a recovery environment or bootable device for system restoration.

With its user-friendly interface, even novice users can easily manage server backups. Download a 30-day free trial of AOMEI Backupper Server by clicking the button below and experience its capabilities firsthand.

Download Free TrialWindows Server & PC
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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper and go to the Backup tab. From the available options, select System Backup.

System Backup

Step 2. The necessary system partition(s) will be preselected by default. You just need to choose the destination path where you want to save the backup files.

Select Destination Path

Step 3. Review the selected operations and click on the Start Backup button to begin the backup process for Windows Server 2012 R2.

Start Backup

Options: Personalize your backup image by adding comments to distinguish it from others. You can also choose to split images into smaller files, encrypt them for added security, and explore other customization options.
Backup Scheme: Activate Automatic Backup Cleanup to automatically delete outdated backups. Select from various options such as By quantity, By time, By daily/weekly/monthly, or By space to effectively manage your backups.


No matter what the reason why in-place upgrade Server 2012 R2 to 2016 fails and how do you solve it. Backups are always the first priority. It can help you roll back to a previous version to easily resolve issues.

AOMEI Backupper is a powerful backup and restore solution designed specifically for Windows Server. With its wide compatibility and extensive features, it serves as an invaluable tool for ensuring data security. Experience the benefits of Windows Server file backup using this professional backup software. Give it a try today and see the difference it makes!

Miya · Editor
Miya has an excellent insight and receives professional and systematic technical training since joining AOMEI. She has a comprehensive understanding of computer issues, aiming at helping users troubleshoot all kinds of problems. A lot of computer users around the world have found her articles very helpful!