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johmsmallberries

Is there any (unsupported) way to upgrade Windows server 2003x86 beyon

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I have a windows 2003 x86 enterprise server  from my company MSDN and was thinking about upgrading now that it is almost EOL. I run it with PAE to get the full 8Gb of memory in my server. If I upgrade it to Server 2008 x86 , then it seems like this is the end of the line, since 2008R2 is only available as 64 bits.

 

The main thing I like from 2003server is the PAE mode. Since PAE patches exist for the windows 7  x86 kernel, I was wondering if anyone had tried to downgrade the 2003 o/s  to windows xp x86 and tried to go vista x86 and then windows 7x86. This way I could keep all my installed programs and settings from 2003 and still have the full 8Gb. I know this path is not supported by microsoft but in theory I was thinking it might be possible since 2003 and xp are so similar.

 

Thanks.

Edited by johmsmallberries

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You could just get another HDD, or SSD, to replace your existing drive, install Win7 and your apps, copy over the data from your original drive, and then you could reformat the original drive to use for more data storage.  It would take some money and a bit of time, but you would have a reliable system.  The way you proposed just sounds inefficient and fraught with peril, so much so that if you were going to try it, IF it was even possible, I would strongly suggest backing up the original drive to another drive, so you would need another drive anyway, and it would probably take longer and you would be likely to have to redo or adjust your settings at each stage anyway.  Just my 2 cents.

 

Cheers and Regards

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Thanks for the idea. I was thinking of going straight to 7 or 8 on 64bit, but the problem is that over the years  I’ve installed so many programs that I’de rather just keep what I have – it would take me a long time to reinstall everything.

 

The 32bit system that I have now, was originally upgraded from NT4.0 server, and I have continuously upgraded through NT4 to 2000, 2003, and now 2003R2. Honestly I would just stay on 2003R2 if MSFT would continue supporting it. I chose the server O/S (at the time) because I had MSDN and it seemed like the most flexible thing at the time, but now it seems like windows 7 pro or 8 will do what I need just as well (with the PAE patch).

 

I have been imaging my drive to an SSD to try various paths. I can upgrade to  server 2008 without any issues, but if I temporarily  convert it to XP to do the upgrade to Vista, so much the better since I could go on to a more modern windows 7 or 8.

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I understand your points, but hmmmm

NT4 => 2000 => 2003 => 2003R2 => XP => Vista => Win7

Seems awfully convoluted. There just has to be all kinds of extraneous left-over crap in the registry and system directories that is just a waste and possibly likely to cause problems at some point, even if the conversions happened "correctly". While it will indeed take you a long time to start from scratch, I really feel you will be better off and also think it will actually take less time than the path you are proposing. I've never heard of a way to truly convert a server OS back to a client version to the point that it can be successfully upgraded to another client version, but maybe someone else has. Good luck!

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt

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In MS world, Downgrade is a licensing term. Server and Desktop OS are on separate paths. I do not think you can do a repair install with an XP Pro disc on an existing installation of Server 2003. It might be possible to trick the installer, but that would be work for some testing system and NOT something you'd want to do on a production system.

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In MS world, Downgrade is a licensing term.

...while in real world it describes either of:

2003R2 => XP

XP => Vista

;)

:lol:

jaclaz

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I figured since there are only 10 files that are different between 2003/xp and this is a dev machine it was no big problem to experiment with.

I just want to be on Vista for 5 minutes in order to go to Windows 7 :)

But yeah, I would stay on 2003 forever if MSFT would support it.

 

Trying to tell the Vista installer its XP with Application Verifier almost works, but not quite.
Just replacing some files and the registry keys to make 2003 behave as XP almost works too, but you get the 8007002 error from winlogin and can't finish.

In terms of upgrading, what does actually seem to half-work, bizarrely, is replacing the software registry on a plain XP with  my 120Mb one from 2003 :) 
 

Edited by johmsmallberries

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Why go to Vista at all, versus going directly from XP to Windows 7?  ( I haven't checked to see if this is a valid upgrade path or not.)

 

Cheers and Regards

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Why go to Vista at all, versus going directly from XP to Windows 7?  ( I haven't checked to see if this is a valid upgrade path or not.)

 

Cheers and Regards

Licensing wise, yes. But you need to clean install. 

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