This content is part of the Essential Guide: Complete guide to RDS management and RDSH

Preparing for a Windows Server RDS migration

As Windows RDS becomes more important for troubleshooting remote systems, admins need to get a handle on prerequisites before an upgrade.

Windows' Remote Desktop is increasingly important for administering and troubleshooting remote systems. Windows Server RDS allows technicians to work across busy or far-flung organizations where it's impossible for IT staff to physically visit each system. RDS can be affected as aging Windows Server platforms are upgraded to Windows Server 2012 R2, so it's important for server administrators take the proper steps to preserve RDS capabilities during an upgrade. Let's review five steps for moving RDS to Windows Server 2012 R2.

RDS roles impose several prerequisites that must be moved or installed before the actual RDS migration. You must be an administrator -- a member of the Administrators group -- on both the source and destination server to proceed. The destination server must also be running Windows Server 2012 R2 before any RDS roles are migrated; roles like Session Host, Virtualization Host and Web Access demand that the destination and source server share the same name to facilitate the role migrations.

Some supporting features are typically installed along with the corresponding RDS role. For example, RD Virtualization Host requires admins to install Hyper-V hypervisor; RD Web Access requires a Web server such as Internet Information Services (IIS); RD Gateway needs IIS, RPC over HTTP Proxy and Network Policy and Access Services (NPAS). Check the destination server for these services prior to the migration. If they are not already installed, the RDS migration should install them for you, or you will need to add them before the corresponding RDS role is fully functional.

RDS carries several additional requirements you'll need to migrate or install separately. These include migrating the Domain Name System (DNS) Server, Active Directory Domain Services (particularly the remote desktop user profiles stored in AD) and Active Directory Certificates Services (with Group Policy Objects). Microsoft provides extensive instructions for each of these migration prerequisites.

It's a good idea to check each migration and verify the service is available and properly configured before migrating RDS. This will save time in testing or troubleshooting later.

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