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In Place Upgrade Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step

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The below section describes a step-by-step guide for upgrading a Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to Microsoft® Skype for Business Server 2015. Unlike previous versions of Lync, Skype for Business now supports in-place upgrading. Meaning that you can use your existing Lync Server 2013 hardware to be used for Skype for Business. Read more here.

The installation considers a single server environment with a Lync Server 2013 with the basic roles collocated. Additional details of the topology and architecture of the lab environment which was used in the installation is described here;

Domain Controller
Operating System Windows Server 2012 R2
Forest func Level Windows Server 2012 R2
Domain func Level Windows Server 2012 R2
Lync Server 2013
Operating System Windows Server 2012 R2
Server Edition Lync 2013 Standard Edition

Note: The in-place upgrade requires all Lync Server 2013 services to be stopped. Therefore a mandatory user downtime will be required for an approx. of 60-90 minutes (may vary). So as a best practice;

  1. Choose a weekend for your upgrade.
  2. Notify all users of the downtime.
  3. Take backups.
  4. Get some pop-corn, a movie and a Red Bull.

The upgrade process for S4B is quite easy and features 5 steps;

  1. Prepare Environment and Install prerequisites
  2. Upgrade, Publish Topology and upgrade databases using Topology Builder.
  3. Stop all Lync Server 2013 services.
  4. Perform in-place upgrade.
  5. Start Services, verify and Go home!

Prepare Environment and Install prerequisites

Ensure that your Lync Server 2013 server has the latest patches. Download and install following hotfixes, patches;

  • Install CU5+ latest hotfix to Lync 2013 topology
  • PowerShell RTM version (6.2.9200.0) or later
  • Have at least SQL server 2012 SP1 installed*
  • Operating System Hotfixes:

*Lync Server 2013 comes with and installs SQL server 2012 express natively. However you may need to update your SQL express with the SP1 or later.

Note: In case you missed any S4B prerequisites, fear not. The Upgrade wizard will check and ask you do get the requirements installed and you can resume the setup.

Upgrade, Publish Topology and upgrade databases using Topology Builder

Note: It is required that the Skype for Business Topology Builder installation should be performed on a server or a workstation that has not been configured with any Lync Server 2013 components. For the demonstration of the lab, a Windows 8.1 workstation will be used.

  1. On a Server/Computer that has no Lync Server roles deployed, insert the Skype for Business installation media.
  2. Navigate to X:\Setup\amd64\ and run Setup.exe
  3. On the installation page, select the Update option and click Install.

  1. On the End User License Agreement page, select the I accept term and click OK.

  1. The Setup will install the core components.

  1. Once the installation is completed, click Finish to exit the wizard.

  1. Click Start, search and run Skype for Business Server 2015 Topology Builder.

  1. On the Topology Builder window, select Download Topology from existing deployment and click OK. This will download the existing Lync 2013 topology.

  1. Save the topology to a preferred location.
  2. On the Topology Builder, expand and navigate to Skype for Business Server > Lync Server 2013 > Standard Edition Front End Servers. (This is your existing front end pool)

  1. Right click on the FQDN of the Lync 2013 under the Standard Edition Front End Servers section and click on Upgrade to Skype for Business Server 2015.

  1. On the confirmation window, click Yes. (Please note that this step is not reversible)

  1. Once completed, note that your existing Lync 2013 Front End server(s) will be moved and listed under the Topology Builders’ Skype for Business Server 2015 section.

  1. On the topology builder, right click on the Skype for Business Server and select Publish Topology.

  1. On the Publish Topology window, click on Next.

  1. On the Select databases page, select the database that will be used to publish the topology and click Next.

  1. Now the new topology will be published.

  1. Once the wizard is completed, verify that the status of all steps are Successful. Click next to exit.

Stop Lync Server 2013 services

Now that the Lync topology is marked as ‘To be upgraded’, we will be shutting down all Lync services running on all Front End servers within the pool. Note that during this time users will be affected with a downtime. If you do not wish to have a downtime, you can move the users to a different pool as a temporary measure.

  1. Navigate to a Lync Server 2013 server.
  2. Open the Lync Server Management Shell.
  3. Type the below command and press enter. This will stop all Lync 2013 services on the server.

    Disable-CsComputer -Scorch

Perform In-place Upgrade

Now that we have stopped all Lync 2013 pool services in all the front end servers, we will move with the in-place upgrade of Skype for Business Server 2015.

  1. Navigate to the Lync 2013 Front End server.
  2. Locate the installation media on your computer, and then double-click \Setup\amd64\Setup.exe
  3. Microsoft Visual C++ setup will be installed.

  1. Once completed, the Skype for Business Upgrade Setup wizard will be loaded.
  2. You can choose an option to whether to install any updates at this stage or install them later. Click Next to proceed.

  1. On the License Agreement page, accept and click OK.
  2. Now a new window will be loaded that will give a real time status of your in-place upgrade.

  1. Each performed task and relevant information will be displayed on the lower part of the window.

  1. Skype for Business will now perform the upgrade process as shown in the upgrade window.

  1. If any prerequisites is missing, the installation will prompt for the missing bits. Install the missing bits and you can continue from Step 2 where the setup will resume from where it left off.
  2. Once the upgrade process is completed, ensure all tasks have been executed successfully and click on OK.

  1. On the Next Steps page, review and click OK.

Start Services

Prior to starting the services of your Front End Servers/Pool ensure that all servers within the selected pool is successful with the In-Place upgrade setup. Once this term is ensured, the following command will be run on a single Front End server that will start Skype for Business services on all the services within the pool

  1. Navigate to Skype for Business PowerShell console.
  2. Start all Skype for Business services on the server by running the following command.


Now it’s time to test and verify that all services are up and running. You can use the Event viewer and Logs to collect information for any warnings and errors.

Keep calm and Skype on!!!

Note:Please note that the above information is pre-release content, therefore provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. The content may be changed as and when the finalized information is been publicly announced by Microsoft.