Migrating Server 2012 R2 Essentials to Server 2022 Essentials

New Contributor

I assumed that this would be a popular migration given the popularity of the Essentials editions on small domains but I couldn't find any other submissions about it, so was hoping for some advice with this upcoming migration, mostly around the point of both source and destination servers being domain controllers (DC).

The domain is  small with the Essentials server being the primary (and only) DC and a 2012 R2 as a RDS server being the only member server.
My initial plan was to use the storage migration service in Windows Admin Centre, but this doesn't support DC migration (or server cut over for DCs) or migrate the users and groups which is the primary goal, as I can probably manually export/import most other info for roles like DHCP, DNS etc. or recreate them manually if I have to. But I didn't want to have to manually (re)create new users on the new server requiring new passwords etc. to keep the user experience as seamless as possible.

The Storage Migration Service FAQ states:

Is domain controller migration supported?

The Storage Migration Service doesn't currently migrate domain controllers in Windows Server 2019 or Windows Server 2022. As a workaround, as long as you have more than one domain controller in the Active Directory domain, demote the domain controller before migrating it, then promote the destination after cut over completes. If you do choose to migrate a domain controller source or destination, you won't be able to cut over. You must never migrate users and groups when migrating from or to a domain controller.

Based on the blue text above, as there is only a single DC I can't demote both source and destination servers as a DC by removing their AD DS roles and then running the storage migration service, and this doesn't deal with the user and group migration either.


The Storage migration service known issues states with regard to users not transferring to and from a DC:

This is expected behavior if you attempted to migrate from or to a domain controller with Storage Migration Service and used the "migrate users and groups" option to rename or reuse accounts. instead of selecting "Don't transfer users and groups". DC migration is not supported with Storage Migration Service. Because a DC doesn't have true local users and groups, Storage Migration Service treats these security principals as it would when migrating between two member servers and attempts to adjust ACLs as instructed, leading to the errors and mangled or copied accounts.


So it looks like I can use the storage migration service to migrate only the data, shares etc. (as longs as I "Don't transfer users and groups", but how do I transfer users and groups from the old  to the new DC?

If this is going to be mostly a manual migration I am guessing that I may have to remove and re-add the workstations to the new Essentials server also using the Essentials connector?

Any basic step by step advice on how to perform this migration would be really welcomed and very much appreciated.



2 Replies

I would like to migrade a Windows Server 2016 Essentals to an Windows Server 2022 Essentials.
The same issue...no documentation to that.
Is it possible to deploy the 2022 as a DC next to the source server, move the FSMO roles to the target server and let them replicate over DFSR?
I guess it is 21 days time then to move all datas and within the 21 days the source server must degrade to a member server and shut off.
Could this be a good plan?

@TN0810 and @Ihaan121  -  Wondering how you made out with your migrations?  I'm looking down the same street and thinking its going to be easier to just backup the data and restore it in the new environment, then move the desktops to a new domain.