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Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition: Upgrade or new installation?

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition: Upgrade or new installation?

After you have reviewed System Requirements and Hardware Compatibility and Important files to review, and before you run Setup, you will need to determine whether to upgrade or to perform a new installation. Upgrading is replacing Windows 2000 Datacenter Server with Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. In contrast, installing means completely removing the previous operating system, or installing a product in the Windows Server 2003 family on a disk or disk partition with no previous operating system.

If you have already decided whether to upgrade or to perform a new installation, see Checklist: Performing an upgrade or Checklist: Performing a new installation.

The following lists describe points to consider when deciding between an upgrade and a new installation.

Points to consider for an upgrade

  • With an upgrade, configuration is simpler and your existing users, settings, groups, rights, and permissions are retained.

  • With an upgrade, you do not need to reinstall files and applications. As with any major changes to the hard disk, however, we recommend that you back up the disk before beginning an upgrade.

  • If you want to upgrade and then use the same applications as before, be sure to review applications information in Relnotes.htm (in the \Docs folder on the product CD). Also, for the most recent information on compatible applications for products in the Windows Server 2003 family, see the software compatibility section of the Microsoft Web site.

Points to consider for a new installation

  • If you reformat your hard disk and then perform a new installation, the efficiency of your disk might improve (compared to not reformatting it). Reformatting also gives you the opportunity to modify the size or number of disk partitions, to make them match your requirements more closely.

  • If you want to practice careful configuration management, for example, for a server where high availability is important, you might want to perform a new installation on that server instead of an upgrade. This is especially true on servers on which the operating system has been upgraded several times in the past.

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