Upgrade DHCP Along With Windows Server Upgrades

 In Microsoft, Microsoft Windows

Windows Server upgrades are never simple. There are lots of connections and dependencies, and everything needs to be handled correctly to avoid introducing problems that turn an upgrade into a nightmare. With upcoming Windows end of life dates in mind, let’s take a look at one of the services you need to upgrade: DHCP.

DHCP Defined

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. All devices on a network need an IP address to access the network and services; DHCP makes managing those addresses automatic. This eliminates manual effort that would be required to assign address, modify them when a device is moved to another subnet, and reclaim them when devices are removed. Along with eliminating the manual work, DHCP eliminates the inevitable configuration errors when addresses are managed manually, such as two computers being assigned the same address.

Using DHCP requires a server that owns the pool of addresses and assigns (“leases”) an address to clients on the network.

Upcoming Windows Server End of Life Dates

Understanding how to upgrade DHCP is particularly important if you’re running Windows 2008 or Windows 2007; the end of support date for both is January 2020. That means Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for that version after that date, so not upgrading exposes you to ongoing, increasing security risks.

Which version should you use?

Although extended support for Windows 10 is available until late 2025, mainstream support ends late 2020, so it’s worth beginning to think about upgrading that version now, rather than making it your new target. Similarly, Windows Server 2012 is already in extended support, so it’s not a good choice for your new version.

Windows 2016 ends mainstream support in 2022; The latest version of Windows Server, Windows Server 2019, will receive mainstream support up to 2024, with extended support reaching 2029.

Migrating DHCP to New Versions

Depending on the details of your installation, a DHCP migration may be as simple as using Windows Server’s GUI to backup and restore the DHCP details. However, migrating from very old versions of DHCP to the latest Windows Server version can be more complex and require some manual work. Use NETSH to export the DHCP database to a temporary file; then use NETSH on the new server to import the file. Then use the DHCP console to verify that the details were loaded successfully.

After ensuring the DHCP data is correctly loaded, configure DHCP for proper failover. Older versions of DHCP relied on a split scope model that should be replaced by the more modern DHCP failover mode.

Prescient Solutions provides complete support for Microsoft products, including installation and upgrades of all Windows Server versions and associated services. Contact us to learn how the certified Microsoft experts at Prescient Solutions can streamline your Windows upgrade process.

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