Preparation to in-Place Upgrade to Windows Server 2016

October 8, 2016

Learn how to prepare to in-place upgrade your Windows Server 2008 or 2012 (R2) to the latest Windows Server 2016. It is always good to backup your server for rollback.

Should you perform in place upgrade?

As you know, upgrading a Windows Server can cause errors, incompatibilities, and other issues. Microsoft always recommend users to do a clean installation if possible. However, a clean installation means you have to do a lot of settings and data migration. If you want to do in-place upgrade, which contrasts with clean install, you should do a few things to prepare for Windows Server 2016 upgrade just in case unexpected issues.

Ensure your server is supported

Before you try to do an upgrade, you must check if the hardware meets the minimal system requirements. You should also make sure the applications are compatible. It is possible that some third party software which is not delivered by Windows may work improperly after the upgrade. In addition, you should make sure all Windows updates are complete and no virtual machines running.

Make sure there is enough free space

The minimal space required on system drive is 32GB, but for an in place upgrade, you need more than just that because the 32GB is referring to clean install. The upgrade program will create a backup of your current system so that it can restore to your previous state when the upgrade fails. If the used space on system partition is large, you need relatively more free space to upgrade to Windows Server 2016 from Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2008 R2. If you do not have enough free space, you can follow the steps below by using AOMEI Partition Assistant Server to extend system partition for Windows Server 2016 upgrade preparation.

1. Download and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

2. In its main interface, right click on one partition that has much free space and select "Allocate Free Space".

Allocate Space

3. In a pop out window, specify how much space you want to add to C: drive and select C: drive as the target drive.


4. Click “Apply” to apply these changes.


Backup the server for rollback

Unlike upgrading to Windows 10, you cannot revert back to your previous Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2008 R2 after you successfully upgrade to Windows Server 2016. Therefore, it is highly recommended to backup your server before the upgrade. To backup server, you can use AOMEI Backupper Server which is very easy to use.

1. Download and run AOMEI Backupper on your server.

2. Click “New Backup” or the “Backup” tab, and then select “System Backup”. If you want to backup the entire server, you can use “Disk Backup”, which allows you to include more than one disk in the backup.

System Backup

3. In the next screen, the items needed for a system restore is automatically included in “Step 1”, and all you need to do is click “Step 2” to select the target location to receive the backup.


4. Confirm the backup information and click “Start Backup” to run this backup.

When the backup is done, then you have done well to prepare for Windows Server 2016 upgrade and then you can start to perform in place upgrade for Windows Server 2016.