Upgrade Windows Server 2012 Essentials to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard

There is no direct upgrade path from Windows Server 2012 Essentials to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. These are the steps I performed as a workaround:

Transition to Windows Server 2012 Standard

Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator, and then run the following command.

dism /online /set-edition:ServerStandard /accepteula /productkey:Product Key

Where Product Key is the product key for your copy of Windows Server 2012 Standard.

The server restarts to finish the transition process.

Upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2

  1. Mount the Windows Server 2012 R2 media and follow the wizard.

Install the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Experience Role

  1. Open Server Manager on your server
  2. Select Dashboard on the left hand navigation bar
  3. Click the Add Roles and Features link
  4. In the Add Roles Features Wizard, review the before you begin message and click Next
  5. On Installation Type verify Role-based or Feature-based installation is selected and click Next
  6. On Server Selection Screen, select the server you wish to install the Essentials Experience on and click Next
  7. On Server Roles select Windows Server Essentials Experience.  You may be prompted to add additional features for the Windows Server Essentials Experience,  review the additions and click Add Features:
    imageNotice: The Essentials experience will also install the Web Server Role, After you have added roles and features click Next:
  8. On Features, review the selections and Click Next
  9. On Window Server Essentials Experience, review the message and click Nextimage
  10. On Web Server Role (IIS) review the message and click Next
  11. On Role and Services, review the selections and click Next.
  12. On Confirmation review the installation and click Install
  13. On Results, verify the installation was successful and click Close.
  14. You will be returned to Server Manager, and in the upper left hand portion of the Window click on the notification flag.
  15. Click on Configure Windows Server Essentials
  16. On Configure Windows Server Essentials welcome page review the message and click Next
  17. On Company information fill in your Company name and Domain name and click Next
  18. On Create a network administrator account, type in the information for your administrator account and click Configure.   The configuration process may take up to 30 minutes and your server will reboot, so go get your favorite beverage and relax.
  19. After server reboots you will see the Results, verify the installation was successful and click Close.  Also close server manager.

Windows 8 Dynamic Ticks Freezing Issue

I built a new system with Windows 8 and was having random freezing issues. I tried updating drivers and the BIOS for my motherboard to no avail.

Oddly enough it seemed to get better when the Intel virtualization extensions were disabled but still not gone completely.

After a bit of digging I found a suggestion to disable dynamic ticks which is a new powers saving feature in Windows 8.

Simply open an elevated command prompt, issue the following command, and reboot:

bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes

ASUS Xonar DX Prevents Sleep

When Dolby Digital Live (DDL) or DTS Interactive encoding is enabled on ASUS Xonar DX cards, you might notice that your computer no longer goes to sleep automatically after the designated inactivity timeout period. If DDL/DTS-I is disabled (giving only 2-channel PCM output over SPDIF, or when using direct analogue outputs), sleep works as expected.

On Windows Vista, Windows 7 and 8, automatic sleep will not occur when audio streams are playing, the idea being the user does not want the system to go to sleep whilst it is playing music (but otherwise idle). Most sound card drivers behave correctly and only mark themselves as playing a stream when they are actually playing a stream. This includes the Xonar DX driver when operating in its normal analogue mode (or SPDIF without encoding).

When DDL or DTS encoding is enabled, the Xonar DX driver will always be marked as in use, even when not actually playing any audio streams. The ideal solution would be for ASUS to fix their driver, but a workaround is to tell Windows to ignore the Xonar DX driver and allow sleep anyway.

  1. Open a command console with administrative priviledges.
  2. Type:
    powercfg /requestsoverride DRIVER "ASUS Xonar DX Audio Device" SYSTEM
  3. Verify that the Xonar DX has been added to the override list by typing:
    powercfg /requestsoverride

If at any point in the future you wish to remove the override, type

powercfg /requestsoverride DRIVER "ASUS Xonar DX Audio Device"

(without SYSTEM on the end)

The only downside that I am aware of from overriding the Xonar DX driver is that the system may now sleep whilst you are playing music unattended. It will NOT sleep whilst playing video files.