Vault Server 2021 no longer compatible with Windows Server 2012/2012 R2

The latest version of Vault server 2021 comes with a number of new enhancements and bug fixes which can be found here. However, before rushing out and implementing this latest version it is wise to check the Windows compatibility table further down and more importantly to note that Vault 2021 no longer supports Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2. Therefore, if you are currently running on this OS and want to use Vault 2021 then you will need to upgrade to either Windows server 2016 or 2019.

Vault/Windows Server Compatibility

Ways of Upgrading

It is possible, but not recommended, to perform an in-place upgrade so the same hardware, server roles and settings can be kept intact without flattening the server. This would normally take 2-3 hours depending on the specification and size of the server. However, it is only possible to perform an in-place upgrade for a version two-newer than your current version. So, if the end goal is Windows server 2019 and you are currently running 2012, then it would have to be upgraded to 2016 first, and then to 2019. Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016 can be directly upgraded to 2019 in one step. This method is not recommended as there is nothing to return to if the OS breaks during the upgrade process, so a back-up would be required to restore it in this scenario. You will also need to check that any applications installed are compatible with the new server version, and these may need to be reinstalled/newer versions installed if they are not.

The simplest and recommended way to upgrade the windows server is to perform a clean install. Where the previous version and applications are uninstalled, and the new version is installed in its place. The install typically takes between 1 – 2 hours, not including the time to install any applications. Your data will need to be backed up prior to this to be able to restore it after the install is complete.


There are some restrictions regarding the upgrade process:

  • You cannot upgrade from a 32-bit system to a 64-bit system. All editions of Windows Server 2016 and 2019 are 64-bit.
  • Upgrades from one language to another are not supported.
  • Upgrades to and from Alpha, beta and pre-release versions of Windows Server 2016 are not supported. If this is the case uninstall the current OS and perform a clean installation to Windows Server 2016.
  • Upgrades that switch from a Server Core installation to a Server with a Desktop installation (or vice versa) are not supported.
  • No users will have access to the server whilst upgrading/installing the new OS.


  • It is important that whoever is upgrading their Windows server has a thorough understanding of the possible issues they may face, or risk the upgrade failing or losing their data.
  • It is more difficult to fix a half-installed OS than to perform the installation correctly in the first place, causing unnecessary down time for the server.
  • Consider using Symetri’s consultancy services for Windows and Vault upgrades, if interested please contact Symetri, or if you are an existing customer then please contact your Account Manager to obtain a quote.

Useful Links

Full detail of removed features from WS 2019 

Check system requirements for Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2012

System requirements for Vault 2021 - Click here

What’s new in Vault 2021 – Click here

For more information please contact us on 0345 370 1444 or email