Step 1: Prepare your Source Server for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials migration
Updated: August 21, 2013
Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
This topic explains how to back up the Source Server, evaluate the Source Server system health, install the most recent service packs and fixes, and verify the network configuration.
Complete the following preliminary steps to ensure that the settings and data on your Source Server migrate successfully to the Destination Server.
Back up your Source Server
Back up your Source Server before you begin the migration process. Making a backup helps protect your data from accidental loss if an unrecoverable error occurs during migration.
To back up the Source Server
Use one of the resources in the following table to guide you in performing a full backup of the Source Server.
For information about backing up…
Windows Small Business Server 2003
Windows Small Business Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 Foundation
Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard
Windows Server 2012 Essentials
Verify that the backup ran successfully. To test the integrity of the backup, select random files from your backup, restore them to an alternate location, and then confirm that the restored files are the same as the original files.
Install the most recent service packs
You must install the latest updates and service packs on the Source Server prior to migration.
Delete the “Log on as a service” account setting
If you're migrating from Windows Small Business Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003, delete the Log on as a service account setting from Group Policy.
To delete the “Log on as a service” account setting
To open the Group Policy Management tool, click Start, click Control Panel, click Administrative Tools, and then click Group Policy Management.
Right-click Default Domain Controllers Policy, and then click Edit.
Navigate to Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\User Rights Assignment.
In the details pane, double-click Log on as a service.
Clear the Define these policy settings check box.
Evaluate the health of the Source Server
It is important to evaluate the health of your Source Server before you begin the migration. Use the following procedures to ensure that the updates are current, to generate a system health report, and to run the Windows Server Solutions Best Practice Analyzer (BPA).
Download and install critical and security updates
Installing critical and security updates on the Source Server helps ensure that your migration will be successful and helps protect your network during the migration process.
To check for the latest updates
From the Source Server, click Start, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
Click Check for updates.
If updates are found, click Install updates.
Run the Best Practices Analyzer
You can run the Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) to verify that there are no issues on your server, network, or domain before you start the migration process. The BPA collects configuration information from the following sources:
Active Directory Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
Internet Information Services (IIS)
To use the BPA to analyze your Source Server
The following table provides links to the Microsoft Download Center where you can download and install the Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) for the Source Server from.
If your Source Server is running…
…you can get the BPA tools from
Windows SBS 2003
Windows SBS 2008
Windows SBS 2011 Essentials or Windows SBS 2011 Standard
Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Windows Server 2012
The server dashboard
After the download is complete, click Start, point to All Programs, and then click SBS Best Practices Analyzer Tool.
Check for updates before you scan the server.
In the navigation pane, click Start a scan.
If your Source Server is running Windows Server 2012 Essentials, do the following:
Log on to the Destination Server as an administrator, and then open the Dashboard.
On the Dashboard, click the Devices tab.
In the <Server >Tasks pane, click Best Practices Analyzer.
In the details pane, type the scan label, and then click Start scanning. The scan label is the name of the scan report, for example, SBS BPA Scan 1Jul2013.
After the scan finishes, click View a report of this Best Practices scan.
After the BPA tool collects information about server configuration, it verifies that the information is correct and then presents administrators with a list of information and issues sorted by severity. The list describes each issue and provides a recommendation or possible solution. Three report types are available:
Displays reports in a one-dimensional list.
Displays reports in a hierarchical list.
Displays reports such as a Run-Time Log.
To view the description and the solutions for an issue, click the issue in the report. Not all of the issues that are reported by the BPA tool affect migration, but you should solve as many of the issues as possible to ensure that the migration is successful.
Synchronize the Source Server time with an external time source
The time on the Source Server must be set to within five minutes of the time on the Destination Server, and the date and time zone must be the same on both servers. If the Source Server is running in a virtual machine, the date, time, and time zone on the host server must match that of the Source Server and the Destination Server. To help ensure that Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is installed successfully, you must synchronize the Source Server time to the Network Time Protocol (NTP) server on the Internet.
To synchronize the Source Server time with the NTP server
Sign on to the Source Server with a domain administrator account and password.
Click Start, click Run, type cmd in the text box, and then press ENTER.
At the command prompt, type w32tm /config /syncfromflags:domhier /reliable:no /update, and then press ENTER.
At the command prompt, type net stop w32time, and then press ENTER.
At the command prompt, type net start w32time, and then press ENTER.
During the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials installation, you have an opportunity to verify the time on the Destination Server and change it, if necessary. Ensure that the time is within five minutes of the time that is set on the Source Server. When the installation finishes, the Destination Server synchronizes with the NTP. All domain-joined computers, including the Source Server, synchronize to the Destination Server, which assumes the role of the primary domain controller (PDC) emulator master.
Create a plan to migrate line-of-business applications
A line-of-business (LOB) application is a critical computer application that is vital to running a business. LOB applications include accounting, supply-chain management, and resource-planning applications.
When you plan to migrate your LOB applications, consult with the LOB application providers to determine the appropriate method for migrating each application. You also must locate the media that is used to install the LOB applications on the Destination Server.
If you used the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials SDK to develop a customized system health or alert add-In, and you want to continue to use the add-in with Windows Server 2012 Essentials, you must also update the add-in and deploy it on the Destination Server.
You can fill in the following table as you collect LOB application information. A good place to start collecting information is to open Windows Control Panel, click Add/Remove Programs, and look in the Program Files (x86) and the Program Files folders.
Application or general data folder name
Path to data
Create a plan to migrate email hosted on Windows SBS 2011, Windows SBS 2008, and Windows SBS 2003
In Windows SBS 2011, Windows SBS 2008, and Windows SBS 2003, email is provided through the Microsoft Exchange Server. However, Windows Server 2012 Essentials does not provide an inbox email service. If you are currently using a server running Windows SBS 2011, Windows SBS 2008, or Windows SBS 2003 to host your company’s email, you need to migrate to an alternate on-premises or hosted solution.
After you update and prepare your Source Server for migration, we recommend that you create a backup of the updated server before you continue the migration process.
Migrate email to Microsoft Office 365
If you have chosen to use Microsoft Office 365 as the email solution for your domain, follow the guidance in Migrate All Mailboxes to the Cloud with a Cutover Exchange Migration to start the email migration to Office 365. We recommend that you complete the email migration before you install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.
The step to remove the on-premises Exchange Server on the Source Server is mandatory if you intend to integrate Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials with Office 365. For information about how to migrate Exchange Server public folders to Office 365, see the blog post Microsoft Exchange 2013 Public Folders Migration Scripts for Office 365.
After you complete the installation, you should turn on the Office 365 Integration feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials by running the Integrate with Microsoft Office 365 task.
To allow the Office 365 migration tool to connect to the Exchange Server that is running on the Source Server, you must enable RPC over HTTP on the Source Server. For information about how to enable RPC over HTTP, see How to Deploy RPC over HTTP for the First Time in Small Business Server 2003 (Standard or Premium). If you cannot successfully run the Office 365 migration tool after you enable RPC over HTTP, view the ValidPorts setting in the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Rpc\RpcProxy, and make sure that the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the Source Server is listed. If the FQDN is not listed, add it manually by using the following example:
remote. contoso.com:6001-6002;remote. contoso.com:6004 (replace contoso with the name of your domain).
Migrate email to another on-premises Exchange Server
For information about how to migrate email to another on-premises Exchange Server, see Integrate an On-Premises Exchange Server with Windows Server 2012 Essentials. We recommend that you set up the new on-premises Exchange Server after you install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, and then finish the email migration before demoting the Source Server.
The Windows Small Business Server POP3 Connector is not included with Exchange Server. After you migrate email data to another Exchange Server, you can no longer use the POP3 Connector feature.
After you update and prepare your Source Server for migration, you should create a backup of the updated server before you continue the migration process.
You have prepared your Source Server for migration to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. Now go to Step 2: Install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials as a new replica domain controller.
To view all the steps, see Migrate from Previous Versions to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials or Windows Server Essentials Experience.