Step-by-Step for Upgrading to Windows Server 2016

The following is a simple example of upgrading the Contoso forest from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016.

  1. Join the new Windows Server 2016 to your forest. Restart when prompted.
  2. Sign in to the new Windows Server 2016 with a domain admin account.
  3. In Server Manager, under Add Roles and Features, install Active Directory Domain Services on the new Windows Server 2016. This will automatically run adprep on the 2012 R2 forest and domain.                     
  4. In Server Manager, click the yellow triangle, and from the drop-down click Promote the server to a domain controller.
  5. On the Deployment Configuration screen, select Add a domain controller to an existing forest and click next.
  6. On the Domain Controller options screen, enter the Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) password and click next.
  7. For the remainder of the screens click Next.
  8. On the Prerequisite Check screen, click install. Once the restart has completed you can sign back in.
  9. On the Windows Server 2012 R2 server, in Server Manager, under tools, select Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell.
  10. In the PowerShell windows use the Move-ADDirectoryServerOperationMasterRole to move the FSMO roles. You can type the name of each -OperationMasterRole or use numbers to specify the roles.
    Move-ADDirectoryServerOperationMasterRole -Identity "DC-W2K16" -OperationMasterRole 0,1,2,3,4

  11. Verify the roles have been moved by going to the Windows Server 2016 server, in Server Manager, under tools, select Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell. Use the Get-ADDomain and Get-ADForest cmdlets to view the FSMO role holders.
  12. Demote and remove the Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controller.
  13. Once the server is demoted and removed you can raise the forest functional and domain functional levels to Windows Server 2016.