Upgrade Domain Controller From Server 2016 to Server 2019

In this post we are are going to upgrade Domain Controller from “Server 2016” to “Server 2019”, this is also known as in-place Upgrade. There are few Pre-requisites. You will need to run adprep /forestprep and adprep /domainprep manually. Adprep /forestprep needs to be run only once in the forest. Adprep /domainprep needs to be run once in each domain in which you have domain controllers that you are upgrading to Windows Server 2016.

If you try to run in-place upgrade process without running adprep tool you will get following error as shown in the image:
Active Directory on this domain controller does not contain Windows Server 2019 ADPREP /FORESTPREP updates.

Before starting upgrade, lets verify current OS Version, open Windows + run and type “Winver”, this will show current OS version and build:

Verify Current AD Schema

Verify current AD schema by running Powershell (in elevated mode) and run following command:


 Get-ADObject (Get-ADRootDSE).schemaNamingContext -Property objectVersion 

You can see objectversion is showing as 87, which means we have “Windows Server 2016” schema, here is more information on various schema numbers:

AD version objectVersion
Windows Server 2000 13
Windows Server 2003 30
Windows Server 2003 R2 31
Windows Server 2008 44
Windows Server 2008 R2 47
Windows Server 2012 56
Windows Server 2012 R2 69
Windows Server 2016 87
Windows Server 2019 88

Copy the Windows Server 2019 source to “c:\Server 2019”, this source contains the adprep utility under support\adprep folder:

Open command prompt (in elevated mode) and navigate to location c:\Server 2019\support\adprep. Run Command “adprep.exe /forestprep

Type C and press Enter to continue with upgrade of Schema. This will upgrade current schema version from 87 to 88.

This process creates 2 log files under c:\windows\debug\adprep\logs\yyyymmddhhmmss with name ADPrep.log & ldif.log.
ADPrep.log will show you successful upgrade of Schema.
ldif.log will show you attributes which has been extended to schema such as ms-PKI-DPAPIMasterKeys, ms-PKI-RoamingTimeStamp and others.

Run “Adprep.exe /domainprep” to update the domain-wide information

Lets begin with Windows Server 2019 in-place Upgrade process by navigating to c:\Server 2019. Right click setup.exe and select “Run as Administrator“.

Next page will show the information whether to update , lets select “Not right now” and click on Next.

Select Image “Windows Server 2019 Datacenter (Desktop Experience)” as our current Operating System is Server 2016 Datacenter (Desktop Experience).

Under “Applicable notices and license terms”, click “Accept” to continue

Under “Choose what to keep” page, select “keep personal files and apps” to retain all files and applications and click “Next”

Under “Ready to Install” page, click on “Install” to begin the in-place upgrade process.

This process will first extract binaries under hidden folder “c:\$WINDOWS.~BT“.

Once extracted, system will reboot and server upgrade process will initiate.

Once upgrade process is completed, you can login to Domain Controller. Open Windows + R and run “Winver” to show OS version. This will show OS version as 1809 (ie Server 2019) and build version as 17763.xx

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