Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a x64 2003 server and want to upgrade to x64 2008 server. Can this be done as an inplace upgrade or do I need to blow the machine away with a fresh OS install? The 2003 machine has SQL, IIS, and several VMs.

What are my options? What are pros and cons for in-place upgrade vs new install?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If it's SP2 R2 you can do an in-place upgrade (I believe). However, I can not stress strongly enough what a bad idea this is. A fresh build is the best way forward

share|improve this answer
Agreed. Too many horror stories start with "this will be so quick & easy if I can pull off the upgrade..." – Kara Marfia Aug 20 '09 at 16:03

Only do an in-place upgrade for the following scenarios:

1) The server has a very plain vanilla configuration with all the defaults still set and no additional software is installed.

2) The cost of re-configuring the server after a clean-install outweighs the cost of having to iron out any legacy 2003 settings that may have adverse effects in 2008.

share|improve this answer

I did an in-place upgrade of 2003 R2 x64 to 2008 x64 because it was in the datacenter and I wanted to minimize my time in the batcave. It had SQL Server and some other little things on it; 6 months later, no difficulties so far.

share|improve this answer

I agree with O.S. Upgrades being a Bad Thing, particularly between really different systems like 2003 and 2008 (they're different just like XP and Vista, don't forget that).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.