Recommendations for migrating User Home Directorties from 2003 to 2008r2

Hello all and thanks for your time and expertise.

Here's my scenario:

I have to migrate my old file server (2003 standard and contains all of the building's home directories for staff and students) to server 2008 r2.  I would love to go to 2012 but budgets are brutal right now.  

Anyway, I've done some research but I would love to know what you guys feel are the best practices for executing this migration.  Should I use the File server Migration toolkit?  Will this move and maintain my shares and permissions for those shares?  Should I use robocopy.  Should I use DFS, further - do you recommend using DFS for file shares (user home directories and there are many) in the future.

Just want to handle this process in the best possible way.  Your recommendations are greatly appreciated.
pendal1IT ManagerAsked:
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NinjaStyle82Systems AdministratorCommented:
I think DFS might be a waste of space unless you need to distribute the shares among multiple servers. Depending on how they are set up in active directory, it might be easy to just copy the files to the new server, recreate the user directory share using the same structure as the old shares, then change the user home directory paths in AD. Since they are home directories AD should re-grant the correct permissions automatically.

You could also robocopy the shares with the permissions and just replace the server name in the UNC path in AD to match the new server name.
NVITEnd-user supportCommented:
Here is a step-by-step example using the FSMT
pendal1IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the replies gentlemen.
I'm still cloudy on a few items so please bear with me.
The only item I'm worried about in this mix is moving my users' home directories and there are a ton as this is a school.  Moving a standard share should be zero problem.
My current home directory server is called, for example: fileprt
The users' home directories are located at Home$\staff (or Teachers or Students\Username.
I map home folders in AD using the following syntax which creates the folders and sets the permissions:  \\fileprt\home$\Teachers\%username%
New server name is fileprt2.  (Please note changing the AD mappings can be done easily by right clicking all of the users and entering the above syntax.)  
Should I 1) Create the Home$ share on my new server and then move my home directories via FSMT, for example.  And then should I 2) remap the AD profile setting for all users using the syntax above with the new server name included.  I may get an error the folder already exists but that should be ok and this syntax will apply the proper permissions.  Please let me know if this sounds like a workable approach.  
Much appreciated.
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NinjaStyle82Systems AdministratorCommented:
Hey pendal1, that makes sense to me. You are right it will reassign the permissions if the directories exist. What you described is how I would go about it.

Copy the directories over, verify the permissions on the parent folders is how you like them, then select all staff, fix home directory path. Make sure all looks good, then hit students the same way.

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pendal1IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks Frank.  We have a four day work week in the summer with Thursday being the end of the week.  I'm going to try this migration then.  Please hang with me and I will update.  And don't hesitate to give me any further tips you may think I need.  Just want this process to go smoothly.  Best wishes and I promise to close this question as soon as I can.
Mark GalvinManaging Director / Principal ConsultantCommented:
pendal1IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Not really impressed with the FSMT tool.  Doesn't like copying shares within a share and then appends the source server name to the migrated shares on the destination server.  
Was thinking of trying a third party tool like Sys-Manage copyright 2 which seems pretty good.  Anyone ever use copyright2?  Thanks.
Mark GalvinManaging Director / Principal ConsultantCommented:

As per my previous comment I have written an article about using Robocopy to pretty much do what you need.
pendal1IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Your input and recommendations are greatly appreciated.
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