Tuesday, 29 October 2013

In-place upgrade SCCM 2012 SP1 to R2

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I'm not usually a fan of in-place upgrades. However this particular one is OK. I've done it a couple of times now without much fuss. It wasn't seamless for me on either occasion though - I broke my PXE booting and had to reinstall WDS/PXE to resolve. If you can carry out basic troubleshooting with ConfigMgr you should be OK.

Edit 2: CU1 for R2 now contains this hotfix. Install this Cumulative Update after the upgrade.

Edit 1: Hotfix has now been released solving the two known R2 issues
1. WDS crashing
2. Slow downloads while in Windows PE

You can download it here 

Before you commence the upgrade you should read the Planning to Upgrade System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide. This gives you full information on tasks you should carry out based on your infrastructure.
Also Review Pre-requisites for Site Systems.

Here is an extract:

Configuration Manager supports installing System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager to upgrade a site that runs Configuration Manager SP1. You can run the upgrade on the site servers of central administration sites and primary sites. After a primary site upgrades, you can then use the Configuration Manager console to upgrade secondary sites to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. It is not supported to upgrade a site that runs System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with no service pack to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. Instead, you must first upgrade to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1, and then upgrade to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

Note that you do not have to have a CU installed in order to qualify for upgrade.

You MUST, at the very least, install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit 8.1. You can download it here.

Now we are nearly ready to carry out the upgrade. But first:
  • Test the upgrade process on a copy of your site database (use /testdbupgrade)
  • Solve any existing issues (the upgrade won't fix them for you)
  • Fully patch the server
  • Reboot in case of pending reboots
  • Ensure you have a good backup
  • Disable site maintenance tasks for upgrade duration
  • Stop your Anti-Virus scanning

So let's start the upgrade (start at the top-level site in your hierarchy).

First we must uninstall the existing version of Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (version 8).

and then install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit 8.1

Note that we only require the following features:
  • Deployment Tools
  • Windows PE
  • USMT

Now launch the ConfigMgr 2012 R2 installation by double-clicking on splash.hta

The Setup wizard is launched

Click Next

When you launch the wizard on an existing SP1 site server the wizard detects this and defaults to "Upgrade the Configuration Manager site". Click Next.

Enter your license key.

Accept the License Terms.

Accept the License Terms for the additional software. 

Choose a location to download the prerequisite files and click next.

The files are downloaded.

Choose your required languages.

Verify the setup method - note it will say "Upgrade".

ConfigMgr runs the prerequisite check.. If it is successful you can click "Begin Install".

The ConfigMgr upgrade commences.

Upgrade is completed.

Open the ConfigMgrSetup.log file on the root of the C: drive.

Verify success.

Verify the new Site Version - 5.00.7958.1000.

Examine the Site Components for errors and test the functionality by carrying out simple deployments - software updates, software distribution, OSD.
(As I said at the beginning I had to repair my PXE booting configuration).

Now continue with the upgrades

Manually upgrade each Configuration Manager console that is installed on a computer other than the site server.

Secondary Sites:
Microsoft extract:
With System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, when you plan to upgrade an existing secondary site that uses SQL Server 2012 Express with no service pack, or retry a failed secondary site installation, you must first apply cumulative update 2 to the SQL Server 2012 Express installation on the secondary site server. This is because, when System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager installs SQL Server Express as part of a new secondary site installation, it installs SQL Server 2012 Express with no service pack and is unable to install the required cumulative update 2 as part of the installation. When you direct Configuration Manager to install SQL Server Express as part of a new site, the prerequisite check does not detect an existing installation of SQL Server Express, and then installs SQL Server Express as part of the site installation. During an upgrade or retry, if an existing version of SQL Server Express is detected that does not meet the minimum version requirement for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager of SQL Server 2012 Express with no service pack and cumulative update 2, the upgrade or retry will fail.

The moral of the story is - you must install SQL Express 2012 CU2 manually before carrying out the R2 upgrade of Secondary Sites.

When you upgrade a client, the current client software is uninstalled and the new client software version is installed. To upgrade clients, you can use any method that Configuration Manager supports.


Now don't forget to apply the R2 Hotfix (mentioned above).

You can download it here 


  1. Great Great Work!!

  2. Thanks a lot. Glad I could help.

  3. Going to be giving this a whirl after Super Tuesday. Thanks for the great documentation.

  4. Thx for manual, Gerry! Everything worked! )

  5. You're quite welcome. Glad it worked out. Don't forget to apply the Hotfix. It's very important.

  6. Thanks Gerry! Could you tell me if SQL needs to be upgraded to 2012? It is currently at 2008 R2. When I did a setup.exe /testdbupgrade I get a message that says I need to install Sql Server Native Client 2012, before running setup.

    1. No, you don't need SQL 2012 Julie. However you WILL require either SQL 2008 R2 SP1 with min CU6 OR SQL 2008 R2 SP2.

  7. Great document.
    I'd like to know if (same) SP1 licence key can be used to upgrage to R2.
    Many thanks.

  8. Great walkthrough with plenty of watch-outs :) !! Thanks Gerry; it's a big help !!!

  9. Gerry--

    I just upgraded my SCCM 2K12 SP1 environment today using your directions as one of my inputs.
    Can you tell I'm working in my PMP!

    Thanks much,


  10. HI SIR ......



    1. Have a look in the ccm.log file for further information.

  11. Gerry, Thanks for Quidelines,
    Obs, the account who is running the Upgrade needs to be SysAdmin at SQL SCCM DB.
    Otherwise, you will get strange Errors, wich will not quide you to orginal reason...
    Warm rgds. markkuh

  12. Hi gerry We have SCCM 2012 SP1 with CU1 installed will it be a problem to do the upgrade having CU1?

    1. No problem Gerald. That is supported.

    2. Hi Gerry we have actually

      ConfigMgr2012 RTM built 7711

      So I want to arrived to :

      Config mgr 2012 R2 CU1 5.00.7958.1203 built 7958 tj=The last update

      What is the best practice to arrived to this top version ?

      I have to uninstall RTM version before install SP1 and apply all update ?

      I read this :

      You cannot upgrade a site to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager until all sites in the hierarchy run System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1.

      Best regard .


    3. You need to do in-place upgrades as follows:

      RTM - SP1
      SP1 - R2
      R2 to R2 CU1

  13. I see during the upgrade it wants you to accept sql express, however I don't use sql express I use the full version of sql 2008 r2 why do I have to have those checked?

    1. That's normal. It is required for the installation of secondary sites if you need them later. You must select it.

  14. Hello Gary,

    I have a question to ask about SCCM SP1 and i plan to upgrade other System center products to R2 and keep SCCM at SP1 for now.. Reason is my management relies heavily on the SCCM and want to know if SCSM will have an issue accessing SCCM SP1 for components and accessing the CMDB for SCCM.

    Thank you,


    1. I don't know for sure, However it certainly would be best practice to have all the products at the same version. I wouldn't be happy with that arrangement.

  15. Can this be done without much disruption to application deployment? We have one CAS and one Primary server. Thanks.

    1. There should be no disruption to application deployments. You should however complete the migration as soon as possible (clients etc).

  16. Hi Gerry,

    You have a great blog here. On this topic, you said the PXE / WDS broke during the upgrade. Knowing that this one of the essential parts of SCCM, could you kindly expand on what exactly happened and how you fixed it please ?

    Thanks a lot for taking time to publish this blog.


    1. Thanks Nalin. I've upgraded several single-server solutions where a single DP resides on the Primary Site Server. On some occasions, after the upgrade, OSD via PXE does not work any more. I've had to disable PXE support and re-enable (this process uninstalls and re-installs WDS).

  17. Hi Gerry, Does the R2 Hotfix mentioned above need to be applied only to CAS, Primary Sites, or everything including Secondary Sites and Clients ?


    1. You don't need to use the hotfix anymore. It is now included in Cumulative Updates. See here for installing CUs


  18. Hi Gerry,

    Thanks for your excellent blog. We also like to upgrade our VM to Win2012 R2 from Wind2012. Do you suggest doing this before upgrading SCCM to R2?

    1. It really doesn't matter Edy. However If I had to do it I would upgrade the OS first. Leave sufficient time between the upgrades in case of issues.

  19. Hi Gerry,

    Great write up. I just did this in our DEV environment and came across a couple of gotcha's.

    1) I went from 2012 SP1 CU2 to R2 CU3. It seems the client upgrade package created with the R2 CU3 install can't be used to upgrade the SP1 CU2 client. Not a huge deal as I will just use client push to force an uninstall/reinstall.

    2) Our x64 boot image updated correctly but the x86 didn't and instead a new x86 boot image was created. I manually updated the x86 boot image and then removed the new one and that seems to have worked.

    3) I also had PXE issues.....in fact the distribution point just reverted back to default settings. I knew the roles would be reinstalled but didn't realise I would need to configure the DP role again.

    I am assuming this is all normal and I didn't just do something wrong but figured I would post my experience here in case someone else sees the same.

    1. Thanks for posting. It's good to let others know of the possible challenges.

  20. Hi Gerry,
    Am receiving the following error "Unsupported Upgrade path" .

    1. You will have to give me further information. What exactly are you doing?

  21. Hi,
    Thanks for all your nice posts. I wonder if there is any way to "prestage" the R2 Upgrade on remote locations with Secondary Sites. We need to perform the upgrade within a short time frame and because of the big amount of download data, it would be great if the content could be stored local in advance.

    Christian Handschuher

    1. I don't believe that there is anything you can do about that Christian. You have to upgrade the secondary site using the console and this will initiate the copy of the required files.

    2. yes, that was my misgiving as well.

      Thanks for your quick reply Gerry.

  22. When it asks about accepting for sql and sql express for 2012, it doesn't actually update the version of sql, does it? From the way the installation is worded, it sounds like it does, but am I correct in assuming it leaves the current sql 2008 db intact?

    1. Are you asking about accepting the terms to use SQL Express 2012? SQL Express will be used if you ever deploy Secondary Sites. That's what this is about - nothing to worry about.
      As for your database being intact, you need to run /testdbupgrade on a copy of your database first to verify that there are no issues.

  23. Thanks for the guide. This is really useful. We have a single-server SCCM deployment and are trying to upgrade to 2012 R2, however it fails immediately after the 'Begin Install'. The logs states that the setup detects a preSP1 build, but then reports a later build. I attach the log section below. I have checked and we were running SP1 and I have even applied CU5 just in case, but it still detects 771. Any ideas very welcome as I am completely stuck.

    INFO: Setup detected an existing Configuration Manager installation. Currently installed version is 7711~ $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.016-60>
    INFO: Phase is 1C7~ $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.016-60>
    WARNING: Failed to initialize COM to get SDK Providers. It might already be initialized. return code: 80010106. $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.016-60>
    INFO: SDK Provider is on SCCM.noclimb.com. $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.021-60>
    INFO: Setting the default CSV folder path $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.022-60>
    INFO: Language: Mobile Device (INTL), LangPack: 0. $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.022-60>
    INFO: Configuration Manager Build Number = 7958 $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.071-60>
    INFO: Configuration Manager Version = 5.0 $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.072-60>
    INFO: Configuration Manager Minimum Build Number = 800 $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.072-60>
    INFO: Verifying Configuration Manager Active Directory Schema Extensions. $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.072-60>
    INFO: Found DS Root:CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=noclimb,DC=com~ $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.077-60>
    INFO: Verifying Configuration Manager Active Directory Schema Extensions. $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.079-60>
    INFO: Found DS Root:CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=noclimb,DC=com~ $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.082-60>
    ERROR: Setup cannot upgrade the installed version of Configuration Manager. To upgrade, the site must be running System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1. $$<05-21-2015 23:11:51.084-60>

    1. That's a new one. I've not seen it before. I would contact Microsoft CSS with that. You could cause more problems if you try to meddle with this.

    2. I had another crack at it this morning and worked out it was related to the Admin Console. Even though I had the SP1 build of the console installed, it was reporting the older version in the registry. I wrote a post about it here: http://new2.itbuilder.co.uk/Blog/entryid/96/cannot-upgrade-system-center-configuration-manager-sccm-2012-sp1-to-2012-r2

  24. After upgrading server to 2012 R2 SP1 CU2 from 2012 R2 CU3, I am attempting to upgrade the clients (windows 8.1 x64) using the deployment package (KB3100144) created by the Server upgrade.
    The clients are currently running Configmgr2012sc-r2-kb2994331, which matched the server version.
    Unfortunately it fails to upgrade the client. Running it locally reports that the upgrade cannot be installed because the program to be upgraded may be missing (which it isnt), or that it may update a different version.

    Anyone else seen this ?
    Is there an interim update I need to run on the client ?

    Many thanks

  25. I cannot disable Update Application Catalog Tables so SP2 cannot proceed....Any suggestions how I can disable this maintenance task. All others are fine

    1. Where are you seeing the reference to "disable Update Application Catalog Tables"? What is exact error?

  26. Thank you very much for good article Mr. Hampson.

  27. Hi, Does SQL SERVER 2008 SP2 supports SCCM 2012 r2sp1.If not, what steps should i take to upgrade SQL SERVER while maintaining my SCCM configuration.