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Windows Server 2008 as a File Server, Migration from Windows 2003 R2

Posted on 2008-09-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
We are currently looking to consolidate 3 file servers running Windows 2003 Std R2 SP2 onto one new Windows 2008 server. I've come to find a bit of conflicting information regarding the best methods to move the data and permissions over intact.

I was thinking of using the File Server Migration tool but version 1.1 is needed to support Windows 2008 and that is still in beta... I don't quite trust it. The other option I was thinking of is Robocopy to move the files and preserve permissions but I've never used this and am looking for a decent guide and/or better solution.

The other concern is regarding DFS. We have a domain level DFS running on Windows 2003 R2 SP2, all our DC's are w2k3 R2 SP2. I plan to add the 2008 server into the DFS tree however I wanted to know if it is fully compatible; are there any caveats ? (we are not doing replication).

1. Best method/practices/things to consider on a w2k3 > w2k8 file server migration
2. Will DFS between 2003 and 2008 work ? are there things to consider ?

Question by:ccatarella
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Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 1000 total points
ID: 22597744

> 1. Best method/practices/things to consider on a w2k3 > w2k8 file server migration

You want to do the migration after hours. Alternatively, if you plan to do it in stages, make sure you have a full plan of everything which will be migrated during each stage, and that no one happens to be accessing any file shares while they are being migrated (thus the out-of-hours comment).

Since it is just a one-time move, ROBOCOPY would probably be your best option for moving the files over. DFS Replication (DFS-R) is good if you wanted to replicate to a new server and keep the old replication partner on the 2003 R2 server, but for single file migrations, I would highly recommend robocopy is used instead.

The syntax for robocopy which you'd need, to include copying of NTFS ACLs, would probably be as follows:

ROBOCOPY \\2003-Server\<drive-letter>$\foldername-to-copy \\2008-Server\<drive-letter>$\foldername-to-copy-to *.* /E /COPY:DATSOU /DCOPY:T

Of course, try that syntax on a smaller folder just to make sure it works and iron out any teething issues before putting it to work on your live file shares. Once the files are copied, you will need to re-establish the share name on the new server; it is easier to re-establish the share than copy that data over, and I would never use the File Server Migration Tool, even when it is out of beta.

> Will DFS between 2003 and 2008 work ? are there things to consider ?

DFS between 2003 and 2008 definitely does work, although the only thing to remember is that with DFS-R, replication from / to any 2003 non-R2 server will use the slower FRS instead. DFS-R cannot be used on an SBS Server, either.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31501197
Thanks, that's exactly what i needed.
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 22651453
You're most welcome,
Thanks very much!

Expert Comment

ID: 34044752
Did it work for you?
am trying to copy from Windows server 2003 to windows storage server 2007,
but permissions are not copied!!!!

any ideas?

Author Comment

ID: 34098771
Yes it worked very well.

Be sure that you:

A: Are using NTFS for your file system
B: Are joined to the same domain (if a non domain environment I do not believe this will work, the security IDs would be different even if you recreate UserA as a local account on the new server)
C: Use the latest copy of Robocopy for XP/2003. You can find it as part of the Robocopy GUI package.
D: Run it on the source server

Example Command:

:: /E - process all subdirectories
:: /MIR - mirror directory tree; removes files no longer in source
:: /B - opens file in backup mode
:: /DCOPY:T - copy directory timestamps
:: /COPYALL - copy all file attributes including security
:: /NP - do not display % copied for each file
:: /V - verbose output
:: /TEE - shows process in cmd window when using logging
:: /LOG+: - append output to log file
:: /M - use for incremental only; copies only files/folders with archive bit then resets bit on source
:: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Robocopy.exe source destination /E /MIR /B /DCOPY:T /COPYALL /NP /V /TEE /LOG+:C:\FullCopy.log

You can also look into the File Server Migration tool from Microsoft - it is much more GUI/Wizard based and does a good job... I just like the control and detail of a command line. I would stay away from RichCopy until a few more revisions go by... I've seen instances where it dorks out and not everything makes it over.

Keep in mind the Robocopy versions for Vista/2008 and up will not run on 2003 - so you cannot just copy the executable to your 2003 server. The commands are the same for the most part.

 If you'd like a more step by step approach you could open your own question or contact me if there is a PM system with EE? I've had quite a bit of experience with this at this point lol.

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