Planning on upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2?

You might be one of those persons, fervently running Windows 7 on their day-to-day laptop (like me) and you might be one of those persons building Windows Server 2008 R2 rigs for test and demo purposes. (like me) You might also be one of the lucky persons to lay your hands on a pre-order for Windows 7 in your local Microsoft Store…

At a certain point in time you’re going to want to cuddle your coworkers with a fresh Windows 7 installation on their PCs, migrate your server infrastructure to the utopia called a 100% Windows Server 2008 R2 environment and of course you’ll want to be able to live migrate those precious server workloads… Then, the inevitable questions arise:

  • How can I upgrade my PCs to Windows 7?
  • How can I upgrade my servers to Windows Server 2008 R2?
  • How do I upgrade my Hyper-V Cluster to Hyper-V R2?

Microsoft has released two Word documents and a Support Knowledgebase article on these subjects:

 

Windows7_vWindows 7 Upgrade Paths

The “Windows 7 Upgrade Paths” Microsoft Word 97-2003 compatible document (download here) outlines the supported and unsupported upgrade paths for the various Windows 7 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs).

Unsupported Upgrade Scenarios

  • Upgrades to Windows 7 from the following operating systems are not supported:
    • Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP, Windows Vista® RTM, Windows Vista Starter, Windows 7 M3, Windows 7 Beta, Windows 7 RC, or Windows 7 IDS
    • Windows NT® Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server® 2003, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Cross-architecture in-place upgrades (for example, x86 to x64) are not supported.
  • Cross-language in-place upgrades (for example, en-us to de-de) are not supported.
  • Cross-SKU upgrades (for example, Windows 7 N to Windows 7 K) are not supported.
  • Upgrades from Windows Vista to Windows N, Windows K, Windows KN, or Windows E are not supported.
  • Cross-build type in-place upgrades (for example, fre to chk) are not supported.
  • Pre-release in-place upgrades across milestones (for example, Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM) are not supported.

 

Windows Server 2008 R2 Upgrade Paths

Windows Server 2008 R2The  “Windows Server 2008 R2 Upgrade Paths” Microsoft Word 97-2003 compatible document (download here) outlines the supported and unsupported upgrade paths for the various Windows Server 2008 R2 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs).

Unsupported Upgrade Scenarios

  • Upgrades to Windows Server 2008 R2 from the following operating systems are not supported:
    • Windows® 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP, Windows Vista®, Windows Vista Starter, or Windows 7
    • Windows NT® Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003 RTM, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 Web, Windows Server 2008 R2 M3, or Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta
    • Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems, Windows Server 2003 x64, Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems, Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems
  • Cross-architecture in-place upgrades (for example, x86 to x64) are not supported.
  • Cross-language in-place upgrades (for example, en-us to de-de) are not supported.
  • Cross-edition upgrades (for example, the Windows Server 2008 Foundation SKU to the Windows Server 2008 Datacenter SKU) are not supported.
  • Cross-build type in-place upgrades (for example, fre to chk) are not supported.

Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 can be upgraded to Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 R2 only. A Server Core install of Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition can be upgraded to a Server Core install of either Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition or Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition. A Server Core install of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition can be upgraded to a Server Core install of either Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition or Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition. Server Core installations of Windows Web Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition can only be upgraded to a Server Core installation of Windows Web Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition, respectively.

 

Hyper-V Upgrade Paths

Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-VThe story on Hyper-V is slightly more complicated (despite the proliferation of Windows 7 legislative versions) Although the upgrade of a single Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V host is pretty straightforward, upgrading a Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V cluster is not for the faint of heart.

Upgrading a single host

The steps to upgrade a single Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V RTM host are outlined in Microsoft Knowledgebase Article 957256. Both an in-place upgrade and transition scenario is available.

Although the in-place upgrade method reports the Hyper-V role needs to be uninstalled before upgrading, the only actions required are:

  • Merge the desired snapshots to virtual machines (if any) or make sure your Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V snapshots are compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2
  • All virtual machines must be shut down before the upgrade.
  • After the upgrade, update the Integration Services. (these will be listed as KB955484)

Transitioning from a Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V host to a Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V host is a matter of exporting and importing your virtual machines. Of course, to export a virtual machines means to shut it down. Snapshots need to be merged before exporting and after you import the virtual machine, updating the Integration Services is necessary. Alternatively you can use your favorite backup program to backup your virtual machines on your Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V host and restore them to your Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V host. Don’t forget to install the Integration Services afterwards…

Upgrading a cluster

Another story applies to Windows Server 2008 clusters. Since rolling upgrades to a failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2 are not possible, you’re stuck with using the Cluster migration wizard. You can use the wizard to migrate to a brand spanking new cluster on new hardware or migrate to a new cluster, created by performing a two-step eviction of your Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V cluster to add the nodes individually to a new Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V cluster.

The “Migrating Settings to a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2” Windows TechCenter article explains both migration scenario’s in depth.

 

Further reading

Hyper-V to Hyper-V R2 In-Place Upgrade
Migrating Settings to a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2
Description of methods to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 from Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V
Windows 7 Upgrade Guide: All Your Questions Answered
A major Windows 7 upgrade question gets an answer
Microsoft Documents "Windows 7 Upgrade Paths"
Clean install with Windows 7 Upgrade media: How does that work exactly?
No Windows 7 upgrade option in the EU
Windows 7 Upgrade Paths (Supported and Unsupported)
Windows 7 RC To Final Upgrade Possible
Windows 7 Upgrade Paths
Geen 'in place' upgrade mogelijk met Windows 7 E Dutch

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