How to Upgrade Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019?[Steps]

Learn how to upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019 with this comprehensive guide. Discover two upgrade approaches: in-place upgrade and clean installation, and understand their differences. Also, find out how to ensure data safety with backups using EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise.

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Updated by Gap on Feb 28, 2024

Can You Upgrade Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019?

Absolutely, the answer is YES. You can upgrade Windows Server 2012 r2 to 2019. When updating your Windows Server, it allows you to leap forward up to two versions. So, if you're operating on Windows Server 2016, you have the option to directly upgrade to Windows Server 2019 or even jump to Windows Server 2022.

In this table, you can see the supported upgrade paths, based on the version you're currently on.

Hardware Requirements for Windows Server 2019

If your computer has less than the minimum requirements, you will not be able to install Windows Server 2019 correctly.

Processor 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor
RAM 512 MB
Disk Space 2 GB
Network Gigabit (10/100/1000 based) Ethernet adapter
Optical Storage DVD drive (if installing the operating system from DVD media)
Video Super VGA (1024 x 768) or higher -resolution
Input Devices Keyboard and mouse
Internet Broadband access

Two Upgrade Options: In-place Upgrade or Clean installation

There are usually 2 methods of upgrading Windows Server 2012 r2 to 2019, in-place upgrade and clean install.

In-place upgrade: More details

This method lets you upgrade from Windows 2012 r2 to 2019 while keeping settings, server roles, and data intact. However, complexities may arise due to compatibility issues or pre-existing system errors.

Clean installation: More details

This method demands a fresh installation of Windows Server 2019. It requires more effort but guarantees a clean state without any leftover files from the previous OS. If the in-place upgrade fails, it's recommended to back up your data, perform a clean installation, and then restore your data to Windows Server 2019.

Start a live chat with an EaseUS Expert to tailor an enterprise backup solution specific to your requirements. We are here to assist you with the following as well:

  • Commence a free trial
  • Obtain a quotation
  • Arrange a free demonstration

How to Upgrade Windows Server 2012 r2 to 2019 in Place

This guide will help you seamlessly upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019. Let's dive into the steps and make this upgrade a smooth process.

Step 1. Collect diagnostic information

It's always a good idea to gather some data from your system and keep it in an accessible location. This could aid in diagnosing and resolving issues in the event of an upgrade failure.

To gather your system information:

1. Initiate an elevated PowerShell window, remember your present directory, and execute the commands below.

Get-ComputerInfo -Property WindowsBuildLabEx,WindowsEditionID | Out-File -FilePath .\computerinfo.txt
systeminfo.exe | Out-File -FilePath systeminfo.txt
ipconfig /all | Out-File -FilePath ipconfig.txt

2. Using the File Explorer, find the directory you've noted earlier and relocate the files either to a USB stick or to a network location away from your computer.

* Please note, running any VMs isn't possible during the in-place upgrade

Before the upgrade, it is strongly recommended that you simultaneously use a reliable backup software, such as EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise, to backup your server operating system, applications, and VMs.

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Step 2. Perform the upgrade

1. Utilize your File Explorer, find the Windows Server Setup media, and open up setup.exe.

2. Click on Yes to kick off the setup process.

3. Pick the Download updates, drivers and optional features (recommended) option, and then select Next.

4. Wait until setup completes examining your device configuration and then select Next.

5. Depending on the source of your Windows Server media (like retail, volume license, OEM, ODM) and the server license, you might be required to input a license key to proceed.

6. Choose the Windows Server 2019 edition for installation, and click on Next.

7. Click Accept to agree to the terms of your license agreement.

8. The setup will advise you to uninstall Microsoft Endpoint Protection using the Add/Remove programs, as this feature isn't compatible with Windows Server 2019.

9. Opt for Keep personal files and apps to decide on an in-place upgrade, then click Next.

10. After Setup analyzes your device, it will prompt you to carry on with your upgrade by clicking on Install.

The in-place upgrade starts, showing you the Upgrading Windows screen with its progress. After the upgrade completes, your server will restart.

Checking if your upgrade was successful

Once you've upgraded to a newer version of Windows Server, it's crucial to confirm that the upgrade was successful.

To verify the success of your upgrade:

Launch an elevated PowerShell window and execute the following command to ensure that the version and edition align with the media and values you opted for during the setup.

Get-ComputerInfo -Property WindowsProductName

Check to ensure all your applications are operational and that the connections from your client to these applications are successful.

How to Clean Install Windows Server 2019

If your in-place upgrade doesn't proceed as expected, or if your system version isn't compatible with a direct upgrade to Windows 2019, consider doing a clean install instead.

Step 1. Prepare Windows Server 2019 installation media.

Download the Windows Server 2019 ISO file from the Microsoft website, then burn it to a USB stick (ensure it's over 8 GB) for the installation process.

Don’t forget to backup your Windows Server 2012 r2 always, in case of any unforeseen issues.

Step 2. Boot from the installation media.

After inserting the prepared USB installation media, start your computer and set the USB as the first boot option in the BIOS.

1. On the initial step, choose your preferred installation language, time format, and keyboard layout, then click Next.

2. Initiate the installation by clicking Install Now.

The setup should begin shortly.

3. Select the edition of Windows Server 2019 that you wish to install, then click Next.

4. Read and accept the license terms to begin the installation by ticking the box I accept the license terms.

5. Select Custom: Install Windows only.

6. Choose a partition where you want to install Windows Server; you can optionally create a new one from the available space or use the total available size by clicking Next.

7. Wait for the installation process to complete.

8. The system should automatically restart once the installation is complete. Set your Administrator password when prompted on the following screen.

9. Click Finish to finalize the installation. Use the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination to log in as an Administrator.

10. Enter your Administrator Password and press Enter.

You can view the details of Windows Server in the settings section.

That's it! You've successfully installed Windows Server 2019. You can now begin restoring the backed-up data to it.

Ensuring Data Safety: Backing Up Before Upgrading Windows Server

To prevent data loss during the upgrade, use EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise. It offers a simple, efficient and secure backup solution with scheduled backup, various backup methods, and various backup destinations.

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For All Windows PCs and Servers

By following the steps below, you can efficiently and easily create a system image with EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise.

1. Run EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise and click New Task to set a new backup

2. In the pop-up Backup interface, you can choose from various types of backup sources. Here, we select System Backup in the Disk/Volume section and then click Browse to customize the storage path.

3. Click Proceed to start this backup task.

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For All Windows PCs and Servers


Regardless of whether you choose an in-place upgrade or a clean installation, backing up data before upgrading from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019 is crucial. EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise simplifies this process, ensuring your data's safety while upgrading your Windows Server.

FAQs on Upgrading Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019

Q1. Can I upgrade my Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019 directly?
A: Yes, you can directly upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019. The upgrade process can be done through an in-place upgrade or a clean installation.

Q2. What are the hardware requirements for Windows Server 2019?
A: Refer to the specifications listed in the 'Hardware requirements for Windows Server 2019' section of this article.

Q3: What's the difference between an in-place upgrade and a clean installation?
A: An in-place upgrade allows you to upgrade your existing Windows Server 2012 R2 to 2019 while keeping your settings, server roles, and data intact. A clean install, on the other hand, installs Windows Server 2019 from scratch and requires more effort but guarantees a clean state without any leftover files or configurations.

Q4: How can I ensure my data is safe during the upgrade?
A: To ensure data safety during the upgrade process, use a reliable backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise. This software helps create a system image, safeguarding data in case of issues during the upgrade.

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Updated by Gap

Gap has been working as an experienced data backup and security engineer at EaseUS for over 10 years, focusing on working with clients to assess needs and implemented procedures and tasks for appropriate backup solutions.

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