Windows 2003 SBS Transition Pack Upgrade

Man, where do I start with this…

Had to transition a client that had fully outgrown their SBS server. To cut a long story short, its not that they hit the 75 user limit. It’s because they wanted to introduce extra complexity that an SBS system couldn’t handle. Ie. Multiple secondary servers, file replication, etc.

Just to make other people’s lives easier, here’s the order  in which the transition needs to be performed:

Windows 2003 SBS Premium (non R2)
1. Upgrade to 2003 SBS Premium R2
2. Apply SBS 2003 Transition Pack
3. Test and Deploy server applications to other servers
4. Purchase kit

1. Upgrade to 2003 Premium R2

Before attempting the Upgrade to R2, make sure you only have SP1 installed on the SBS server. It’ll make you’re life a lot easier. If it’s been patched to SP2, remove it. Also, make sure that SP1 for SBS has been applied “properly”. If you’re picking up a site from an IT admin that has no idea, then double check. SBS SP1 contains 5 patches that need to be applied. Obtain from here:

If SBS SP1 has not been applied properly, then you’ll probably get all sorts of errors saying SBS is not the right SP level.

Once you’ve sorted this out, run the SBS R2 upgrade.

2. Apply SBS 2003 Transition Pack

Now, from the yellow slip in the box, it appears you can transition directly from R1 SBS (and you don’t need to transition from R2 SBS). But in my case, my licensing contact said I had to transition from R2 SBS so I followed his advice. In the end, the bulk of the cost is with the Transition pack anyway, the R2 upgrade is outweighed.

Installing the Transition pack involves inserting the CD and following the wizard. It does the rest. After a few reboots, everything should complete. I had an issue however with the second phase of the transition. I received the following message:

Report System CompatabilityThe following items are not compatible with windows.

The compatability issue with some of these items must be resolved before running setup again.

X Small Business Server 4.0

! Service packs and/or quicm fix (QFE) updates

! Port configuration for Routing ans RemoteAccess Service

! Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 interoperability issues (Read Details)

The upgrade then bombed out, restarted the server and said it was complete. Same error as here:

Nonetheless, everything looks ok. All the SBS branding has been converted to Standard. This last part that bombed out appears to only update the OS and it’s files. The SBS transition happens in the steps prior.

To prevent this from happening to you, and for a successful transition, I can only suggest you try this:

And finally, here we go to the GOTCHAS!This is truly what the post is aimed towards - this is what people call PSS for.

6-Before installing the transition pack make sure you Export and Remove the following

registry key:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosftSmall Business

Note: There will be a SMALLBUSINESSSERVER key and that is OK, we are only interested

in the “Small Business” key. Presence of this registry key when installing the

Transition pack may cause it to fail.

Hope this helps with anyone else attempting this transition.

3. Test and Deploy server applications to other servers

Test to make sure your SBS server is no longer SBS. You should see that the licensing logging service has now been disabled. Also, I performed an ADPREP and introduced a secondary domain controller. Seems to have worked well. This is something you would not be able to do if the SBS restrictions were still in place.

You can now install your applications on other servers. For me, the aim was to get SQL 2005 onto a seperate server. I can offer a tip here. Attempt to install SQL 2005 onto the SBS box first so you can obtain the serial number. The serial is autofilled, so you won’t find it written anywhere. With the serial, you can then install it onto a seperate server. Please keep in mind that if you have not transitioned SBS, you are not entitled to do this. Furthermore, when you transition SBS you need to buy seperate SQL CALs as the transition pack only covers Exchange!

4. Purchase Kit

This is what I purchase to complete my upgrade (this covers SBS R1 Premium to SBS R2 Premium, and covers the one install of Windows 2003, Exchange and SQL only):


Transition Pack -> MS WIN SBS PRM 03 R2 5 CLT TRANS


SQL Licences -> Microsoft SQL Workgroup CAL 2008 Sngl OPEN No Level User CAL

Last word

Not such a bad experience in the end considering the amount of time it could’ve taken without the transition pack. What I should also mention is that although I had SBS R2 to begin with, after the transition it’s just 2003 Standard R1. I looked this up online, and the consensus is that SBS R2 is not actually Windows Server 2003 R2.

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