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Additional DC/Server hosting new DFS - Best way to move existing info to new share setup

Posted on 2010-11-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hi all,

We are implementing a new server into our setup.  Previously, we only had one server hosting all shares and no DFS has been implemented.  All users have their my documents redirected to a share on the server and all is working fine.  The server is a 2003 R2 standard edition.

What im planning on doing is implementing a new server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition server to host a DFS as well as a DC/GC/DNS.  The DFS will host the data from the redirected folders as well as other company data.  I am wanting to move away from redirected folders and simply map a drive via GP to a DFS home folder share for each user which will house the data that was stored previously in their My Docs.

What im wanting to know is how would you move the data to new newly created DFS?
Question by:msha094
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Expert Comment

ID: 34236187
As per Microsoft Knowledge Base article "http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321805", I wouldn't rely upon a mapped drive for redirected folders. It's a bad scene. Trust me.

I'm not clear from your description if you wish to the move data or replicate it, but both are possible. No big magic, just read this TechNet Step-by-Step guide and you should be fine: "http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732863(WS.10).aspx".

If you have resources and time enough do a quick test of this offline, perhaps within a virtual machine network on your PC or spare server, then you'll have a much less stressful first attempt. A day in the lab is worth two in the bush.

Author Comment

ID: 34242170
As i mentioned, i am moving away from redirected folders and simply creating a share for private storage for each user.  This share will be part of the DFS structure and be available to users regarless of the site they are in.  This location will be mapped to a drive on each users profile via GP.

As for the DFS and moving data into the DFS structure, the server the data currently resides on will eventually be retired.  Thus all info will be moved from there to the new server which will hold the DFS namespace etc and the new data/shares.  Should i simply copy the infomation using robocopy or the like, and then implement the DFS based on the information stored/copied to the new storage location?  

In terms of replication, i cant as currently there is no DFS setup in the organisation.  Are you suggesting that i setup the DFS and then replicate the info into the correct folder in the DFS?

Am i making sense?

Accepted Solution

Denegar earned 2000 total points
ID: 34255196
You are making perfect sense. Apparently I wasn't reading your original post very carefully. My bad. (This is what I get for working 12 hours non-stop.)

From my own experiences with DFS, I recommend creating the DFS shares on the new server first, then moving the data to them. This will give you the time and flexibility to test the new DFS shares and drive mappings before commiting all your data to them.

I wasn't sure if you were going to keep the 2003 server running, nor was I sure if you already had the data shared via DFS on the 2003 server, so yes, one possible option was to create DFS shares on the new 2008 server, replicate the data, then remove the 2003 server from the DFS namespace at a future date. Since it sounds like you plan on decomissioning it soon, and don't already have DFS on it, I wouldn't bother with this; it will just add unnecessary complexity to the situation.

For the file copy procedure, you might like to try the GUI front-end for Robocopy or even better, RichCopy. Both were created by Microsoft employees and are available for free from Microsoft (this the same way the command-line robocopy was created and eventually made it into Windows distributions). Download either of them from the links at the top of these articles:

Robocopy: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2006.11.utilityspotlight.aspx
RichCopy: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

I hope this helps, and best of luck!   :)

PS  I'm curious to know why you are planning on no longer using Folder Redirection. I have found it to be better than mapped drives to personal shares, since most software saves by default to the "My Documents" / "Documents" folder, and fighting this default can be aggravating to users. Some software (like MS Office) can be configured to save to an alternate location, but many can't, and will keep trying to save to the default document folder. If the purpose of this is to differentiate between private files stored in each user's "My Documents" folder and more collaborative files stored in personal folders on a common share that are available to other users, then perhaps this is the way to go. If not, may I ask why this is your plan? Have you encountered issues with folder redirection? Is there something with the configuration of your Active Directory, group policies, sites, etc. that is a barrier to making this work for you as desired? I ask only because in my 11 years as a consulting systems engineering for over a hundred corporate and government clients, I have seen both strategies used and folder redirection has almost always been the best option, as it is transparent to the user, works with the defaults of the operating system and software, and once configured as desired, requires almost no I.T. management.
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Author Comment

ID: 34255622
The real reason im doing this is to allow users with laptops that need personal storage  for things such as photos, music (itunes library's etc).  The company we are working for dont want laptops locked down so people are always storing huge amounts of music and photos in their my docs which has been redirected to the server and taking up unecessary space.  This way if i train them, company documents are stored in the home folder and made available offline, and my docs is personal storage.  If that is lost well - do i really care as an IT manager? not really - as long as company documents are intact!  I could get into only redirecting certain folders etc but this way its a pretty easy process and they really dont miss/loose anything.

My last question is if i go with this home folder structure, i have to create the folders manually each time a new user comes on board right? Is there a way to automate the creation of the share/folder?

Author Comment

ID: 34255645
We do normally use folder redirection and agree that for most situations its great.

Expert Comment

ID: 34263918
Ah, that makes sense. You're a very accommodating IT Manager. You must have very happy users.

If you are going to map true "Home Folders" for your users, then you simply add this to the user accounts' profile configuration in Active Directory. First create a folder on your server (I like to call it "Home") and share it to all users (I like to call it "Home$") with Share permissions of "Everyone = Full" and NTFS permissions of Administrators, Creator Owner and System as-is, but change Users to special permissions of only Allow "List Folder / Read Data" and Allow "Create Folder / Append Data" and make sure it applies only to "This folder only" -- don't give the Users account any permissions beyond these specific ones. This change ensures that users can access the share only enough to create their own folder (which Active Directory actually does on their behalf during the process described below) and that they can get into each of their own folders once they have been created, yet keeps them from poking about where they don't belong. [This is documented in numerous places on Microsoft's website.]

To create the home folder mappings for all your target users:

1. Select all user accounts you want to change in Active Directory
2. Right click and choose Properties
3. View the Profile tab
4. Enable "Home folder"
5. Select "Connect"
6. Choose a drive letter to map, such as "H:"
7. Type in a path for the home share, using the "%UserName%" variable for the user account name, such as:


When you click OK to apply this to all the users, Active Directory will create a folder on each user's behalf (so they become the owner of it) in the Home$ share, each folder having the name set to the user account logon name.

For new individual accounts created in the future, your can set this same path and AD will again automatically change the %UserName% variable into a new folder for them, owned by them and named to match their logon name.

This also works just as well when you copy an account: Active Directory will create a new home folder for the new account automatically if the original account had a home folder.

I hope this helps.

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