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Server 2012 Essentials R2 Migration and User Profiles

I am migrating from an sbs 2003 box to new Essentials 2012 R2.  I find the documentation not as clear as it is in migrations to previous versions.  I understand there is no 'migration install' mode but it still seems that the new server becomes a dc on the existing sbs 2003 domain.  My assumption then is/was that on the client side, PCs and Users, it would all migrate over since the users/PCs are still in the same domain.  But I read in the instructions that you have to uninstall the sbs 2003 connect software and then connect the PCs to the new server.  My concern is that after that process, the user profiles on the client PC (they are not roaming) won't work and and new blank ones will be created since the PC is now connected to the new server.  Is this so?

Will profiles created on a machine joined to the domain before migration, still be used on a PC which the connector program to 2012 essentials was run?

I don't have a lab or any extra machines to experiment with...

2 Solutions
Brad BouchardInformation Systems Security OfficerCommented:
My instinct on this one would be to create a case with Microsoft and let them help you on that.  

My second inclination would be to have you turn on Folder Redirection and/or Roaming Profiles before the migration as they are both easy to setup and would take care of the profile issue you are saying might happen.

I, unfortunately, haven't done this exact scenario and I feel that someone who has actually performed this would be better suited to help you.

If you, however, want help with FR or RP let me know, thanks.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
2003 never had "connect" software. It did have a wizard that facilitated joining the domain, but it didn't install any specific SBS software. (Outlook 2003 was installed, but that isn't SBS specific.)

If you ran SBS 2003 premium, you may have also been installing the ISA proxy agent, but that was generic as well. And since migrating from 2003 requires removing ISA from the mix first, it is of course expected that you'd remove the proxy client. But again, not SBS specifc, and nothing to do with users or Active Directory.

So I'm not sure what you read or where, but that is the current situation on uninstalling "stuff."

Now, for 2012 R2, (and 2012 non-R2, and 2011 Essentials), if you migrate then yes, AD accounts will migrate with you. That is normal and expected. No worries there.

As far as installing the 2012 connect software, that is also normal, and is unique to the "essentials" line of products from 2011 on. The software *does* provide the option to migrate a local profile to a new domain account, but it is optional. The primary purpose of this connect piece is to handle client backups, status reporting to the server for the dashboard, and if you have DHCP on a router, which is supported with Essentials, the connect software makes sure that the server is still used for DNS to avoid the usual AD issues with DNS when DHCP is on a router.

Since your accounts are already domain accounts, and since the profiles are marked in the registry as belonging to those accounts through their SID, nothing changes. Simply choose not to migrate any profiles when you install the connect software. You'll still be logging in using the same domain credentials, and the existing profile will still be loaded since it matches. The connect software just brings the 'other' functionality that is unique to essentials.

Now, with that said, it is good to have a backup of the client as it always is when installing new software. And the client does use .Net and anybody who has apps with .Net knows things *can* go wrong. I'm not saying it is definitely smooth sailing. But as far as your local (as in not roaming) profiles go, they'll stay intact and AD will replicate with Essentials if you follow the migration documentation. New profiles will not be created just because you are installing the connector software.

Hope that helps,

WilMaTechAuthor Commented:
Thanks so much for your input, I suppose what's really throwing me is Step 3 below and maybe 6.  Clients are joined to a domain, not a server.  If this process simply adds this new server to the existing domain, there really shouldn't be a step of joining clients to anything new (where the new join risks the creation of new profiles).

I suspect the reality is what Cliff mentions, in that Step 3 really is just about uninstalling the extra software (which in SBS 2003 isn't that much) and installing the 2012 components like client backup rather than joining the PC to the domain (which the connectcomputer process does accomplish on a PC not currently part of the domain).  But with terminology below like 'Join client computer to new server' it's uncomfortable.

From: Migrate from Previous Versions to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials or Windows Server Essentials Experience

Step 1: Prepare your Source Server for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials migration
Step 2: Install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials as a new replica domain controller.
Step 3: Join computers to the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server.  This section explains how to join client computers to the new server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and updating Group Policy settings.
To uninstall Windows Server Connector on a client computer
To reconnect a client computer to the server

Step 4: Move settings and data to the Destination Server for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
Step 5: Enable folder redirection on the Destination Server for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials migration
Step 6: Demote and remove the Source Server from the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials network
Step 7: Perform post-migration tasks for the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials migration.
Step 8: Run the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Best Practices Analyzer.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
The first paragraph in the link you posted explains why step 3 is worded the way it is. I've cut and pasted for reference as well:

"This guide describes how to migrate from previous versions of Windows Small Business Server and Windows Server Essentials (including Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Windows Small Business Server 2008, and Windows Small Business Server 2003) to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials or to Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed."

The guide was written broadly enough to handle migrations not just from SBS, but from earlier versions of Essentials. And like Essentials 2012 R2, earlier versions of Essentials DO have connector software for status updating and client backups. If you were migrating from essentials 2011, for example, its connector is NOT compatible with 2012 R2. And it does connect the client to the essentials 2011 server specifically, not just the domain. During such an upgrade, the 2011 connector must be uninstalled and the 2012 R2 connector installed for all features to continue working.

Note that doing so will still not adversely impact user profiles.

So given that step 3 was written to cover a broad range of OSes, it does leave it to the admin doing the migration to read the details of that step and decide what software specifically needs to be uninstalled. But the wording and intent are, in fact, accurate.
WilMaTechAuthor Commented:
Thanks Cliff, I agree that since the documentation covers a few scenarios, it's a bit more general than previous migration guides.  Ultimately it was the word join that made me wary.   I'll do a bit experimenting including some bits from what Brad suggested.
Sorry to dig up an old thread, just wondering how this went?

Just about to migrate from Small Business Server Essentials 2011 to Essentials 2012 - Was reading the document an almost flagged the migration in favor of doing a re-join to a new domain - less than 20 users and I was thinking If i have to rejoin the computers to the domain then the time taken to create the answer file etc was probably not worth the hassle, Then I did wonder if wether running the connect wizard just installed the connector for local backup - reporting to sbs console etc.

Last few times I have done migrations it failed for one reason or another and I could have manually rebuilt server faster, so a bit apprehensive!

WilMaTechAuthor Commented:
Truth be told, following the outlined steps very carefully worked well.  Even when I had a couple unexpected errors, a quick 'net search found the solution.

The biggest challenge I had was with specific software packages on the client PCs.   in the registry they had many references using the UNC to the old server, specifically autocad and a more custom office mgt. app.
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