Windows 2003 file server to Windows 2008 transition - can I keep old UNC paths?

Posted on 2011-03-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I want to transition our Windows 2003 32-bit domain controllers to Windows 2008 R2 64-bit domain controllers, moving from physical servers to VMware VMs in the process.  My primary DC is also our primary file server.  I have read several articles on transitioning a domain to a new platform and understand that this is not an atypical need.   The snag I have is that we use some proprietary software that unfortunately has UNC paths specified in very many places.   While changing these paths is obviously not impossible, it would make the transition to the new DCs far more noticeable to my users and risky to me than I'd like.   We're a small shop and I don't have a real test lab (although VMware admittedly does help with isolating production from test).  

What would be the best way to build out new servers to replace the old and still be able to keep the shared files accessible at \\oldserver\\fileserver instead of \\newserver\fileserver?   It seems I might be able to make this work with a DNS alias by following a couple of the directions at but I don't know if that would cause me problems in a production environment.  

What are my options?  Am I pretty much stuck with creating a new server name and changing all of the UNC paths?  
Question by:izgoblin
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Expert Comment

ID: 35019547
A new server name with a DNS A record would do the job and the shares would all work on the new server as long as the sharenames remain the same.

Expert Comment

ID: 35019558
Setting up an alias in DNS is probably the easiest solution.  Go into DNS, add a new C-NAME record that has the old server as it's name, and point it to the new server.  As long as the share on the new server has the same name and security permissions, you should be good to go.

Alternatively, you can do a backup of the file server after hours or on a weekend, and then restore all the files to the new server and then change the new server's name to be the same as the old one.  You'll just need to recreate the shares and make sure they have the same name and permissions after you're done.
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Expert Comment

ID: 35019568
I don't think you would need to make the changes in that link....
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Expert Comment

ID: 35019607
Ignore last - I have just tested it where we did this previously and the shares don't work using the old alias.... Will test some more and report back.
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Accepted Solution

scriven_j earned 350 total points
ID: 35019635
OK - I have looked and the registry key you identified is the solution:-;en-us;281308&Product=win2000
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Expert Comment

ID: 35019662
Use the Microsoft link as this has additional information not mentioned in the link you posted.
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Expert Comment

ID: 35019670
Any problems getting it working, post back for assistance.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35021352
Thanks!   I can't reboot the server right now but am glad to hear that this is a perfectly acceptable and tested solution.   I was really dreading having to test all of the changes we would have to make...

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