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tldr; Is there any way to go from Windows Server 2012 Standard to Essentials without reinstalling?

I've been setting some stuff up one our new Windows 2012 servers for a few days. I am not a server admin by any means but do any server stuff that I need for development. We're a small web department so the lines between admin and developer get blurred.

Today I noticed the activation overlay in the bottom right - I hadn't noticed it before then on the small, color-limited logmein screen.

Turns out that the license that was purchased is an Essentials license, and whoever set up the server installed standard (not that it matters, but it wasn't me I swear!).

If we have to reinstall the server, I will be delayed several days and will have to explain to management why. That would involve telling management that management screwed up, and while it's not my problem I'd rather just fix it instead of getting into a whole "whose fault is this" thing. I absolutely hate to "point fingers" but will have to :-\

I see that I can go up using DISM, but is there anyway I can go down without having to reinstall and re-setup everything?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, reinstall is the only option. Essentials edition has many limitations (preinstalled DC, for example), which cannot be implemented by simply modifying your current installation

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Yeah, I was looking into what exactly the "25 user limit" meant, and that + it having to be the DC means we can't use it and someone's getting in trouble for buying the wrong version anyway... :-\ Edit: will accept in 4 mins – Turch Aug 23 '13 at 21:05

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