How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade of Windows Server 2003

For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 292175 .


If you have already performed the emergency repair process and the computer still does not operate normally, you may want to do an in-place upgrade of the existing installation.

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Note You do not have to start up the computer from the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM to do an in-place upgrade unless the computer cannot start in the usual manner. If you can start the computer as usual, just start the in-place upgrade from within the operating system by running the WINNT32.exe file on the CD-ROM.

An in-place upgrade is the final alternative before you have to reinstall the operating system. Note that it takes the same amount of time to do the upgrade as to reinstall the operating system. Also, some of your customized Windows settings may be lost through this process.

To perform an in-place upgrade of Windows Server 2003, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows Server 2003 CD in the CD-ROM drive or the DVD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer. Windows Setup begins.
  2. Press ENTER (to continue) when the Welcome to Setup window appears.
  3. Press F8 to accept the License Agreement.
  4. Use the arrow keys to highlight the Windows Server 2003 installation that you want to upgrade, and then press R (to Repair).

    Note If the Setup program does not detect a previous installation but just continues to the partitioning screen, an in-place upgrade may not be possible. To detect an existing installation, the Boot.ini file must be correct, the installed registry files must be intact, and the build number must be the same. If these are not all true, Setup will not find the installation to do an in-place upgrade.
  5. Windows Server 2003 Setup performs an in-place upgrade of the existing installation. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.