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Our client wants to expand RAM to its maximum on HP BL490c G6 server, but the issue is that MS Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) Standard Edition is installed there and it supports only 32GB of RAM.

This sounds strange and doesn't seem to be wise decision to do that in 2013, but we consider upgrading server to Enterprise Edition to fix the limitation.

Since this is database server, running MS SQL Server 2008, are there any steps to be performed in advance for an upgrade to run smoothly. It goes without saying, that all instance should be stopped prior to doing upgrade, but, nevertheless, any other things to consider, like stopping AV etc?

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The upgrade will take place when the system is booted from the CD. i dont think you need to worry about SQL but remove AV as a precaution. I would suggest that take a snapshot (system Image) before you even upgrade as a fall back backup.

Uninstall AV, boot from 2003 Ent sp2, upgrade the OS and see how it goes. I do remember doing something similar but it was a long time ago.

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I've done similar upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to 2008R2 then to SQL Server 2012, but it was on a Windows Server 2008 box. I have one server left in my environment running Server 2003. I have using a 10 year old OS. The prior answer is correct, once the installer starts, just choose to upgrade an existing instance ()and make sure you do a full backup before hand). Good luck.

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