I recently had a nasty issue with my seriously awesome laptop (Lenovo ThinkPad P50 with a Samsung 950 Pro NVMe n.2 SSD). After a full shutdown (hold Shift when shutting down Windows 10) on the next power on I got a BitLocker recovery prompt.
That’s happened before, so I just powered off and back on like I’ve always done. However, this time I was greeted with a foreboding BCD error:
The synopsis: Using Windows 10/8.1 Enterprise media, Windows Pro can be upgraded to Enterprise edition while keeping installed apps, personal files, and settings.
The story: I ran into an interesting scenario where I needed to run Windows 8.1 Enterprise. Pro just wouldn’t cut it because of the lack of support for BranchCache, DirectAccess, etc. Keep in mind that I’m specifically referring to a technical solution and NOT a licensing solution to this challenge. A valid license is still required. After digging around the web I found 3 primary resources for the conversion or upgrade.
Using media (ISO, USB drive) Windows 8/8.1 Pro can be upgraded to Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, but the language is misleading.
Windows 8 (non-pro) can be upgraded to Windows 8.1 and you can keep Windows settings, personal files, and applications.
Windows 8/8.1 (non-pro) and Windows 8 Pro/Pro with Media Center can be upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro and you can keep Windows settings, personal files, and applications.
Interestingly, the Pro to Enterprise section does not mention anything about keeping any settings, files, or apps. The next section makes a note about not keeping settings, files and apps during a cross-language installation, then a table follows that shows several scenarios and what you can/can not keep. Pro to Enterprise is not listed in the table. Thus the implication is that during a Pro to Enterprise upgrade, you can’t keep any existing data or customizations.
As it turns out, this is just a lack of specificity in the article. Upgrading Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 8.1 Enterprise does give the option to keep settings, files, and apps… and it works.
Do remember, that this is an OS upgrade… the existing installation of Windows is moved to the Windows.old folder and a new installation of Windows is created. Ensure you have a good 5+ GB of free space on the system drive (Drive C).
Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade to Enterprise.
Windows 8.1 Pro installed using the sample GVLK KMS key. DISM shows that the only Edition which can be upgraded to is Pro with Media Center.
I installed a Windows App (Adobe Photoshop Express), 7-zip, created a WordPad document, and set Bing.com as my home page.
Running Windows Setup from a Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO.
I get to keep my settings, personal files, and apps!
After a few reboots and logging in as my original admin account, we see that Windows is now Enterprise edition and there are no TargetEditions available. The upgradation (yes, that is a real word) is complete!
We also see that the customizations I made were retained.
Lastly wee see the old Windows installation was backed up (renamed).
What about Windows 10
I haven’t duplicated the effort for Windows 10 yet, but I’m confident the same scenario is in play.
I can say that DISM will not change the edition of an online image (a running Windows computer).
However, the Windows Store can do that for at least some upgrade scenarios, although I’m 99.9% sure Enterprise edition will NOT work this way.
It’s a good day to not be assigned to a customer… Microsoft released Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926!
I took a moment to download all 4 ISO files (Professional and Enterprise, 32 and 64 bit), inventoried the ISOs to help keep track of them, and deployed one in my ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU3 Hyper-V lab. Here are some interesting first impressions.
ConfigMgr client install
CCMSetup.exe shows the computer is domain joined and X64. Nothing unexpected there. But notice the operating system “ ‘Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview’ (10.0.9926). Service Pack (0.0). SuiteMask = 272. Product Type = 18.”
Interesting. Let’s back up a minute and see what Windows says.
Command Prompt shows “Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.9926]”
About Windows (WinVer) shows “Version 10.0 (Build 9926)”
Let’s explore what WMI has to say about the OS
Manufacturer : Microsoft Corporation Caption : Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview Version : 10.0.9926 BuildNumber : 9926 OperatingSystemSKU : 48 OSArchitecture : 64-bit OSLanguage : 1033 OSProductSuite : 256 OSType : 18 ProductType : 1 ServicePackMajorVersion : 0 ServicePackMinorVersion : 0 SuiteMask : 272
Back to ConfigMgr
OK, CCMSetup completed successfully and everything looks good.
Now this is odd… ClientIDManagerStartup.log shows “OS Version: 6.2”. I thought it was 10.0.9926.
Just to compare
Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9860 shows 6.2
Windows Server 2012 R2 shows 6.2
Windows 8.1 Update 2 shows 6.2
Windows 7 SP1 shows 6.1
At least there is some consistency, but where in the world is ConfigMgr pulling that from!
Let’s flip over to our ConfigMgr console.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the 9860 build and the 9926 build from a device object property perspective.
Build 9860 shows the operating system as “Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 6.4”
Build 9926 shows the operating system as “Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 10.0”
And here is a side-by-side comparison of the operating system data from Hardware Inventory as shown in Resource Explorer.
Build 9860 shows a Caption of “Microsoft Windows Technical Preview” and a version of “6.4.9860”
Build 9926 shows a Caption of “Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview” and a version of “10.0.9926”
With Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926, Microsoft has definitely changed directions with the version and left behind the 6.x series.
From a ConfigMgr perspective, the client is successfully installing, getting machine policies, running hardware and software inventory, running Software Update scans, and Compliance Setting scans. Everything looks good… now for some OS Deployment.