The best way to move all files, shares, permissions from Windows server 2012 to Windows server 2016

I am moving my files from one retiring server to a new server.    Server1 to Server2.   The only thing these servers do is  provide File services for all of my users.   My question is basically this, I want to keep my server name the same, did not want to lose my shares and their permissions, so that all my users connections and embedded links in databases and spreadsheets would not break.

I have millions of files and backing up to tape or disk and restoring to Server2 would keep the shares and permissions but would take forever and I cannot be down for a very long period of time.    I could restore a full backup from tape/disk of Server1 to Server2 but the restore would take days.

I could also migrate from physical Server1 to a Virtual Server2 but I have no idea how long that would take with the amount of files that would be moving to the new server.

I am just looking for any suggestions on a better more efficient way to do this.
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If you have millions of files, you would need redundancy. Normally you have a second system of some kind, if you don't have it, you will have to create it now and synchronize them and then decommission the old one. Transferring shares and share permissions is easy (export and import of the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares), while transferring NTFS permissions is done together with the files using tools that can copy permissions, like robocopy, a built-in command line tool.

But the painful part will be the time the syncing takes - millions of files will take days.
what is your data size ?

In GB's or in TB's ?

export share permissions from source server as mentioned above
Backup and restore is the actual way of doing the migration, the robocopy can copy data with security permissions
it actually can mirror all data from source to target and it always do it with incremental way, meaning, when you run 1st copy it may run say for 4 days, after that you will again run same tool with same command, this time tool will migrate only incremental data since last copy
This way you need to run copy process in multiple pass and then its time to do cutover
before cutover, shutdown source server, join target server top domain with same name as source server
now import above registry on target server, note that source and target server volumes drive letters should match so that registry import will be successful
Now start using target server in place of source
if everything is fine, you can repurpose source server
if you find any issues, turn off target server and boot up old server and rejoin it to domain as roll back / fall back plan

if at all you don't want above, you can always setup DFS-Replication between source and target server and let allow to sync data completely from source to destination
once sync is complete, restore share registry on target and also replace target hostname to match source hostname
start using new server, if everything goes fine, keep replica few days and then remove it after confirmation
if find any issues, you can always restore source server

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Keelyn HenningIT System AdministratorCommented:
I am a fan of FreeFileSync. It can do everything you are looking to do with no down time really. You will need to make sure all the setting are set properly for what your needs are, compare the two systems, and than sync. What I like most about this tool is I can sync everyday until the day I want to switch over and 99.9% of the files are already transferred over. And best of all, it is a free tool.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
So first, let me say now is the time to take the hit and "break" existing links.  Don't try to keep the server name the same.  Microsoft continues to evolve SMB and with various MitM attacks, and signing protocols, you will only be creating pain.

Set up a new server.  Set up DFS.   Point the target to the existing old share, and start getting shortcuts, shares, scripts and so forth updated using the DFS name instead of the old server name.

Set up DFS-R.  Data will be synced to the new server lazily, but no real downtime.

When you are ready, update DFS-N and point the target to the new server.  

Fix what breaks.  

Retire old server.

Future migrations are easier because DFS is in place and not tied to a specific server anymore.

Shaun VermaakTechnical Specialist/DeveloperCommented:
Fix what breaks.
If one of the things that break is Excel files with UNC paths instead of an absolute path, use this process to fix them
Cliff GaliherCommented:
One reason to move to DFS though. Excel (and office on general) handles embedded UNC links properly. The article reinforces what I mean about the drawbacks of just giving a new machine an old name. It doesn't work as expected.

Or wait for 2019.
since source and destination servers are 2012 and 2016 (both OS are fully compatible and supported with each other), I don't see any challenge in keeping same hostname as SMB will remain in supported in any case

Setting up DFS name space and reroute shares with dfs name space is more complicated than simply replacing server hostname

DFS name space is good but need careful planning before setup and should not be mixed with file server migration
Once you migrate file server, you can define DFS name spaces
patrickmillerAuthor Commented:
You ask how much data.     10 TB
Cliff GaliherCommented:
I wouldn't mix DFS with a migration.  I suggested moving to DFS *before* migrating.  It makes migrating SIGNIFICANTLY easier. Just my opinion.
Patrick, do us a favor and give more feedback. The suggestions fill pages, your feedback so far is one sentence.
patrickmillerAuthor Commented:
I am not familiar with DFS but I would like to use it to do the replication.    I will need to find a good resource for helping me in setting up DFS on the servers and getting the replication started.  Are you able to setup DFS on a server that already has data on it?  Any suggestions on where I can get information that would assist me?
patrickmillerAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your assistance.
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Windows Server 2016

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