Can you run Windows Server 2012 R2 on Windows Server 2008 R2?

Can you run Windows Server 2012 R2 on Windows Server 2008 R2?

Rate This
  • Comments 21

I have been asked this question a couple of times recently.  The odd thing, to me anyway, is that most of the people who have asked me have stated:

I read this article: about supported guest operating systems for Windows Server 2008 R2, and did not see Windows Server 2012 R2 listed.  Is it supported?

The answer is – no.  That is why it is not listed.

Generally speaking, we make sure that the we support the release immediately after the host operating system (i.e. 2012 on 2008 R2, 2012 R2 on 2012, etc…).  But we do not go beyond that.

If you really want to run Windows Server 2012 R2 in a virtual machine – I highly recommend that you upgrade your host first.  Besides which, there are so many great new features in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 that you should want to take advantage of!


Leave a Comment
  • Please add 5 and 6 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • I couldn't find any technet articles specifying that Win2012 R2 guest is supported on a Win2012 Hyper-v Host - can you confirm this is definitively supported and if there are any pre-reqs on the 2012 host e.g certain hotfixes or rollup updates?


  • Ben, dont take it personally, but that's the main problem with all you guys living in the Redmond campus location: you tend to forget, that there is a whole planet Earth outside of your fences, and real world is ALWAYS more complicated than the sterile labs that you all have in your minds.

    People are forced into this inconvenient situation because of the way you guys think: we (your customers) must explicitly ask stupid-sounding questions like this one: "I see that version X or Y is not on the supportability page, so I have to ask whether version X or Y is supported by your product or not?" Its not that we cannot read or understand written text (some cannot, but hopefully those are the stupid minority..), but just because something is not in the supportability list, for us -mortal people living outside of the Redmond campus- that doesnt AUTOMATICALLY mean that it is not supported. What about mistakes, or missing entries? That wouldnt be a the first occurrence, as the product documents  are usually full of mistakes, missing statements, mambo-jambo-avoiding-direct-answer type of pharagraphs, etc. People in general (yes, that includes some of your MVPs and other evangelists as well) got lost in faith of your company in the recent couple of years of fiasco, so people only believe something, that they see with their own eyes, and not via some obfuscated or convoluted indirect reasoning.

    Let me gice you a real world example:

    If you see an excel spreadsheet with sh*tloads of columns, most of the cells are filled in, but some rows not all the columns are fileld in (=empty), what do you think first:

    a) ahaa, those columns are not filled in because those columns are not applicable to that particular row OR

    b) the secretary / HR / the author of the document made a stupid mistake / it was friday afternoon when he updated the filed, and missed some vital info

    Most of us will automatically assume option b) and not option a).

    I wonder how will the indirect (un)supportability idea work in front of the jury, when somebody will sue MS due to some information not written clearly in the documents. Lawyers prefer the truth that is written down rather than truth that "does not present as supported in the table, so it must only mean unsupported"

    This kind of logic caused more headache than it cured.

  • TR -

    This is a little confusing (I admit).  Because we did not change the support operating systems between Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 - we just have a single article for both of them.  You can see it here: in the supported guest operating systems section.  Note that the top of this article states that it applies to both 2012 and 2012 R2.

    Soder -

    I understand your complaint, but you have made no recommendation to address it.  Documenting all unsupported configurations is not a viable option.  We do try to keep documentation up to date (and for reference, yes - I have had to handle numerous customer support escalations over incorrect documentation over the years).  

    One of the things we have done for a while now, to address exactly the kinds of concerns you are raising, is to have a "last modified" date on our articles.  In the case of the support article we are referring to here - it was last updated on November 2013.  So it would be reasonable to believe it is accurate.

    If you have any constructive suggestions on how we can improve our documentation here, please let me know.



  • @ben:

    In this particular example it wouldnt hurt anybody, to say it clearly and loudly (without the linked corporate BS):

    "NO, we do NOT support Windows server 2012 R2 or any later OS version running as a guest on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyperv."

    Its simple as that! No need to complicate! I know exactly why you guys complicate this, I am also from a similar sized company as yours: bureaucracy coming from everywhere, the marketing / PR guys kills all clever and simple engineering level ideas. I understand you are pushed to make "BIG" statements, when in real life something simple like the example above would be just fine, and everybody could go home satisfied.

    For the reference, the "Last updated" tag does not mean anything at all. Age of an article does not guarantee, it has been seen by so many eyes -MANYEYEBALLStheory- it has matured enough that it does not contain mistakes. In parallel, just because the article has been updated 1 day ago, its not a guarantee all errors that was present yesterday have been eliminated. Multi-year document bugs can easily live unnoticed. For your reference, a nice example just from today:

    Lync 2013, deployed in thousands of companies worldwide since October 2012. Still, the firewall port reference diagram contains missing ports.

    Even if it has been last updated 4 months ago.

    Following your logic, as the port is not in the list, it wouldn't be needed. Turns out for 1,5+ years nobody noticed the list is incomplete. Its not a minor issue, most of the customers run draconian firewalls: everything is blocked unless explicitly allowed.

  • Soder -

    Stating in our documentation that we will not be supporting any version past Windows Server 2012 on Windows Server 2008 R2 is a reasonable suggestion.  Thanks!  I will pass it on to the documentation team.



  • @ben: thanks for that, appreciate! Though, I will not hold my breath waiting for the result. I have been through such games already a couple of times with the Lync document team, with close to 0 effectiveness.

  • I can tell a secret, 2012r2 run very well on 2008r2...

  • @dude: and thats the other aspect of this entire comedy. Not supported != not working (more or less fine).

  • @Ben Armstrong [MSFT],

    Thanks for the nice article.

    Regarding the discussion about documentation, I have a suggestion (which you guys might already are familiar with). There is this new concept of writing articles, blogs, technical docs etc, a product of Indie-Web group. It hosts your documentation on source control (say GitHub's git private repo) and let reader suggest changes/improvements. The change action turn the text space into a markdown editor (like stackoverflow, codeplex and github) and eventually user sends a PR (pull-request). Once its accepted, the change would reflect on the original website. No databases, no complications..

    This can bring a lot of goodness and cleanliness in MSDN/TechNet docs.

    Well if I am allowed to go a little beyond it, please suggest the Connect team, MSDN blog developers (third-party Telligent folks) and Social Forums devs to bring markdown editor in text areas. This will enhance the productivity and take this communication medium to next level of effectiveness. They can borrow it from Codeplex team.

    Thanks in anticipation.

  • Hi,

    @Ben Armstrong:

    thank you for this information. But, would this mean that if in near future there was a "Windows Server 9" and shortly afterwards a "Windows Server 9 R2" (like it was with Server 2012 and a year later Server 2012 R2), that Server 9 would be supported on a Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Host, but Server 9 R2 would not be supported on a 2012 R2 Hyper-V Host?

    That would not be so nice because I'm running a Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V host which I don't want to upgrade for the next few years to ensure the existing VMs remain available without downtime, but I would like to install next Windows Server OS (R2) as a VM when it will be released.

    (But as "not supported" != "not working", I hope if Server 9 will be supported, following version will also work.)

  • This "upgrade or else!" support model worked well when there was one true Windows client version and one true Windows server, but now Microsoft should recognize that there's a plurality of Windows versions in the wild, and forcing people to upgrade is annoying them - if it happens too fast.

  • Hi @soder!

    We worked with Ben to make a few updates, based on your feedback, to the information about supported guest operating systems.

    We pulled the guest OS support information out of the current Hyper-V overview and split it into 2 topics:

    - Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 -

    - Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 -

    We also added a note about Windows Server 2012 being the last version of Windows that will be supported as a guest operating system on 2008 R2 to this topic:

    - About Virtual Machines and Guest Operating Systems -

    Please keep commenting on what you would like to see in the documentation. We really do listen :)

  • When there is a free hypervisor product available, why not upgrade? :)

  • So what about Win8.1?

  • Wait a minute.  Windows Server 2008 R2 is still under *mainstream* support.  You're not supposed to start abandoning your products until the "extended" support phase.  It's not unreasonable for your customers to expect you to fully support a product, with full interoperability, during the mainstream support phase.  

    If there really are great reasons to upgrade Windows on the physical systems, then allow your customers to choose to do that for all those great reasons.

Page 1 of 2 (21 items) 12