I was attempting to upgrade from Windows server 2012 Foundation to Windows 2012 Standard without having to wipe and reinstall.

Is there an in-place upgrade path for these editions, and if there is, is there any documentation on it? The only one I could find pointed to an upgrade from Essentials to Standard, but didn't explicitly mention that that was the only possible upgrade.

I have exhausted my patience with Microsoft support who don't seem to have an answer for me!

This question is similar in requirement and error to (In-place upgrade from Windows Server Standard to Enterprise or Datacenter) but varies significantly by the Version and Edition.

What further info do you need to assist me in finding a solution?

  • -1 for your comment "I have exhausted my patience with Microsoft support who don't seem to have an answer for me!" - Very clearly the information is available and its not the fault of "Microsoft support" that you couldn't find it. If you have no patience for Microsoft then maybe you shouldn't use their products. I get pretty tired of hearing people bash Microsoft when the failure is clearly not theirs, but yours. In your case it was your failure to find the information, not Microsoft's failure to provide the information. – joeqwerty Jan 29 '13 at 19:52
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    @joeqwerty I found it in about 60 seconds, though, I am a pretty patient guy... – Ryan Ries Jan 29 '13 at 20:08
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    @joeqwerty - Fact 1: Microsoft provides my bread/butter/jam as I work fully on MS Web dev stack. So MS bashing isn't my thing! Fact 2: Another person less keen on finding MS bashers would have realised that the comment means that I had spent too much time with MS support being passed from dept to dept with no one knowing an answer. Surely they had to know. Fact 3: Yes I did do a lot of patient searching but maybe down the wrong path to not have found the answer so readily. Fact 4: Server 2008 had this upgrade path, hence the desperation to find one for 2012. – bPratik Jan 31 '13 at 1:25
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    @joeqwerty - So please don't be in a haste to stereotype posters. I also hope your fury didn't stem from the fact that you assumed I was a newbie to StackExchange, as I am not and am well aware of the culture here. Peace. – bPratik Jan 31 '13 at 1:28

"Upgrade of Windows Server 2012 Foundation is not supported."


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    Thanks @Ryan - Although I was desperately hoping that there did exist an in-place upgrade path. Is there a hack/workaround that you are aware of? – bPratik Jan 31 '13 at 1:31
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    @bPratik Sorry, but no. Even if there is a "hack" it would be unsupported, and SF is about systems administration in a professional setting. Good luck! – Ryan Ries Jan 31 '13 at 2:08

I know this is an old post, but I was recently confronted with needing to upgrade a Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation to Standard in order to add the Hyper V role to the server so it could take over for an existing Hyper V server with failing hardware. Due to COVID-19, I was only able to implement a solution remotely without a site visit. I want to preface this by saying this is in no means meant to get around licensing (I have a volume license agreement for Windows Server) and is definitely not supported, but given that I had no other option, I wanted to post the solution.

When you go to install an upgrade, the supported upgrade paths are checked in 2 registry Values located in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version"

Value 1: ProductName / Value 2: EditionID

If you can look up these values in an existing server, you find that Server 2012 R2 Standard ProductName=Windows Server 2012 R2 Standand / EditionID=ServerStandard

By changing the values that were in there for Foundation to these, I was able to immediately (no reboot needed) launch the Server 2012 R2 Standard setup and it proceeded to perform an in-place upgrade that worked flawlessly.

Hopefully this helps out someone else stuck in a similar circumstance. PS - You can use a similar procedure to upgrade Windows 7/10 Professional to Enterprise

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