Upgrade Standard to Enterprise Without Reinstall

Posted On 2011-11-04 by FortyPoundHead
Tags: Tip Tutorial Windows Commandline Windows Server 2008 Windows
Views: 3534

Recently, I had occasion to upgrade the RAM in one of my servers from 32 GB to 96 GB. Cool, huh? One minor problem, though. The installed operating system is Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard. What's the big deal, you say? Win2k8 Standard only supports up to 32 GB. After installing the RAM and booting the machine, I go directly to the computer properties and find 96 GB installed, 32 GB Usable. Not cool.

Visions of rebuilding the box entered my subconscious. BS, I says, there is a way around this. Read on to find out how to upgrade to Enterprise, without a reinstall.

Really. This five minute fix to change editions will save you hours of re-installing an OS. Don't forget to pay attention to licensing requirements! Since you'll be upgrading to a new edition, you'll also have to change the licensing model that you have purchased.

The tool we are going to be using for this is called the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool, or DISM. DISM is a command-line tool that can be used to service a Windows image or to prepare a Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) image. It replaces Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), PEimg, and Intlcfg. The functionality that was included in these tools is now consolidated in one tool (DISM.exe), and new functionality has been added to improve the experience for offline servicing.

That's a lot of features for one tool! There are tons of things you can do with this handy little utility, but we'll be concentrating on the Windows Edition-Servicing functions. Like most command line tools, the utility includes some basic switches:

Switch Description
When used immediately after an edition-servicing command-line option, information about the option and the arguments is displayed. Additional Help topics might become available when an image is specified.Dism /Online /Get-CurrentEdition /?
/Get-CurrentEdition Displays the edition of the specified image.Dism /Online /Get-CurrentEdition
/Get-TargetEdition Displays a list of Windows editions that an image can be changed toDism /Online /Get-TargetEditions
/Set-Edition: {/ProductKey:} Use the /Set-Edition option without the /ProductKey option to change an offline Windows image to a higher edition. Use /Get-TargetEditions to find the edition ID. Use the /Set-Edition option with the /ProductKey option only to change a running Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system to a higher edition.DISM /online /set-edition:ServerEnterprise /ProductKey:
/Set-ProductKey: The /Set-ProductKey option can only be used to enter the product key for the current edition in an offline Windows image after you change an offline Windows image to a higher edition using the /Set-Edition option.Dism /Image:C:\test\offline /Set-ProductKey:

I wasn't able to get DISM to recognize any of the keys I threw at it, such as MSDN, Volume License (VL), Multiple Activation Key (MAK), or even the KMS key. The only way I could get DISM to work was with a temporary key, which from what I hear expires three days after installation. Enter it as shown here:
DISM /online /set-edition:ServerEnterprise /ProductKey:489J6-VHDMP-X63PK-3K798-CPX3Y
Product key is a temp key. Be sure to re-install KMS-based key from your licensing server, and re-activate after the rebooting.

I hope this saves someone out there from the pain of a re-install. It certainly helped me out!

About the Author

FortyPoundHead has posted a total of 1974 articles.

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