At my day job, we are getting ready to open a new office. It's going to be a relatively small office, but we still wanted to have a local domain controller on hand for authentication, DNS, DHCP, etc.
We decided that this would be a physical host, and since we weren't going to run any virtual servers in that office, we decided to go with Windows 2016 Standard edition to save on licensing costs. Well, despite that being the plan, when my Systems Administrator installed Windows, he accidentally opted for Windows 2016 Datacenter edition!
The problem with this is that you can easily upgrade Windows Standard to Datacenter using DISM from the command line. Downgrading from Datacenter to Standard is not officially supported though...
That being said, it can certainly be done. Since this isn't officially supported, I recommend making sure you have a good backup just in case, because you do this at your own risk!
Here's what you need to do:
- Open the registry editor on the machine you want to downgrade
- Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
- Edit the EditionID key to say ServerStandard
- Edit the ProductName key to say Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
- Close out of the registry editor
- Run the Windows 2016 Installer from the install disk, thumb drive or a local folder
- When prompted, enter your Windows 2016 key and follow the prompts to "upgrade" Windows