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Can you use IFM Media from a 2008R2 box to build and promote a Server 2012 DC? Or can you only use IFM media from another 2012 box?

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No you can't. That is blocked by the code, which checks the hiddentable table in ntds.dit for the OS build that the IFM media was sourced from. Even if you found a workaround, it would in no way be supported by MS. Moral of the story is use IFM sourced from the same version of Windows that you intend to restore to.

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