By Rob Rech

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard includes the libraries built in for Enterprise and Datacenter. This means that the upgrade can be done online and only requires a restart. The upgrade process is not limited to only Server 2008 R2; it also applies to Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Server 2008. Please note however that it is only applicable with Volume License editions of Windows and will not work with OEM. Certain server roles may be uninstalled during the upgrade process (ex: Active Directory Certificate Services) so please ensure that a good complete backup of the server has been taken prior to the upgrade.

In this article, we will we will be utilizing the Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool (DISM). Please perform all tasks logged in as an administrative user and in command prompt running as Administrator.

  1. As you can see in the screenshot below, the base system is running Server 2008 R2 Standard. Please run the following command:DISM /online /Get-CurrentEditionserver 2008
  2. To view the versions that you can upgrade to, please run the following command:DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions
  3. Now that we have the versions that you can upgrade to, we can perform the actual upgrade. The command is as follows: DISM /online /Set-Edition: /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX. Please note that you need to use the KMS Client Setup Key for the version you are upgrading to. In the example below, we are upgrading to Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, however depending on your specific upgrade, you will need the key for that version. The KMS Client Setup Keys may be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793421.aspx. When the upgrade is complete, you will see a screen similar to the screenshot below. Press Y to restart the server upon completion.DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerEnterprise /ProductKey:489J6-VHDMP-X63PK-3K798-CPX3Yclient setup
    During the upgrade process, the server will restart twice and you will see the following screen:
    upgrading windows
  4. After the upgrade completes, Windows must be reactivated with your VL product key in order to activate the new features of the higher product. The following command will change the product key:
    Cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /IPK XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
    activation script
  5. The following command will force activation:
    cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

    1. Note: The activation can also be done over the phone by utilizing the System Properties
    2. Restart the system one last time to complete the upgrade.
    3. Log into the server and reinstall any roles that may have been uninstalled during the upgrade process.