I have a small network with one Windows Server 2008 Foundation (as DC) (and one Windows Server machine as a member server). Now I want to replace existing DC (Foundation edition!) with completely new machine with Windows Server 2012 Standard. Knowing that Foundation edition has many license restrictions, I want to know whether I could do it in following way:

  1. add new machine (with Windows Server 2012 standard) as another DC do existing domanin
  2. move any domain related services (DNS, DHCP) and user data to new machine
  3. shutdown original DC with Windows Server 2008 Foundation (with or without deleting it from AD?)

Did above scenario is possible/acceptable? Should I expect any problems? And one more question. It would be nice if new server could get the same name as old one (so users shouldn't even notice that server was replaced) but as I know changing DC name is not allowed. Any ides how could I achieve this goal?

Thank in advance for any suggestions.

1 Answer 1


Licensing questions aside:

First, you can see here: In-place upgrade from Windows Server 2012 Foundation to Windows Server 2012 Standard that an in-place upgrade isn't supported.

However, your scenario is supported just fine. Be sure and move over the FSMO roles and properly decommission the Foundations server (dcpromo it and then remove it from the domain completely after removing the DC role). Make sure you do remove the Foundation server properly and don't continue to use it or you'll get error notifications of license infringement at some point.

At that point, your name change goal can be supported once it is fully gone if you want, or you can create a CNAME in DNS of the old name pointing to the new server. That's up to you, but since your existing setup is small (or you'd have never purchased Foundation) then I would recommend not changing the DC name or using a CNAME to be honest, but just tell everyone the new server name and setup any scripts/GPOs, etc. to point to the new name. IF this isn't possible, I'd recommend the CNAME option if it were me.

  • Thank for assuring me that it is possible. But I'm not sure what you mean when by "dcpromo it and then remove" - server with Windows Foundation is already an DC. How should I remove it from domain to undo any license limitations?
    – user71061
    Jul 14, 2014 at 13:59
  • running dcpromo is both to promote and demote a DC. It will know it is a DC and start the demotion process. No different that going in through the GUI to remove the DC role.
    – TheCleaner
    Jul 14, 2014 at 14:04

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