How to migrate data from a Windows 7 "File Server" to a new Windows 2016 File Server.

Don Williams Jr
Don Williams Jr used Ask the Experts™
on
I have two Windows 7 systems, acting as File Servers, that I need to migrate to Windows Server 2016. One system is setup (crudly) as the "main" Server; all User Shares are linked to that box. The 2nd system acts as the backup; mirroring of the data is accomplished by a script that utilizes ROBOCOPY that copies all the data from the Storage Array attached to System 1 to the Storage Array attached to System 2. I need to also be able to copy over (retain) ALL the Shares and permissions (ACL). Obvisouly you can't do an IPU from Windows 7 to Server 2016, nor do I think the the FSMT will run on Windows 7.

Since the shares, and files are on a Storage Array attached to the machine(s), if I do a fresh install of Server 2016, will it retain the permissions (ACL) of the shares? I know I'll have to reshare the data to point it to the new machine, but I'm concerned about the ACL for each share. I read this article from Microsoft: Saving and restoring existing Windows shares, and was wondering if this is all I needed to do. Since the data is already on the Storage Arrays attached to the machines, there is nothing to ROBOCOPY over after the new OS install.

Can someone please give me some insite on how I shoud do this?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
For the number of people that Windows 7 can manage, if it were me, I would set up the Server 2016 new, and set up the users new as well.

Then copy the needed data into the appropriate folders.

The differences between Windows 7 and Server 2016 are pretty vast.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer

Commented:
Since you don't have a server already, I imagine that there is no domain. Since you're going to a server, you should also be going to a domain. This means that all existing local accounts and their SIDs will have no meaning in a domain environment. Setup new users and domain global and domain local security groups. Setup new shares on the new server, and setup correct domain local group based NTFS permissions on the new server. Then copy all data over, and let the files and directories inherit the new permission structure.

Since everything is going to get re-done, I would setup a DFS Namespace and map all shares to that. It will make future migrations much simpler.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Since you're going to a server, you should also be going to a domain.

Agree. And I just assumed a domain and AD.
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Author

Commented:
I'm sorry guys, I should have clarified this. We're already domain with full AD.

I inhenerited this mess, and just finished migrating them to a Windows 2016 domain infrastructure. Their existing "file server" is the last piece of the migration. The current windows 7 machines are joined to the domain. The acl are based on the user's domain accounts. No local nom-domain account exist anymore. All users are put into groups, with the groups have the permissions.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
So then is it now feasible (I think so) to just copy user data to the correct folders. Or, does "completed the migration" mean just that?
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer

Commented:
If there are no groups in use that are local to the Windows 7, and they are all domain groups and accounts, then yes, your article about saving and restoring shares using the registry is valid. I sometimes need to edit the physical path to the shares when migrating from server to server if the file layout changes, but it works well. I only import the information regarding shares I create. I do not import any admin shares.

Author

Commented:
That is correct. All accounts are Domain accounts; no local accounts exist on the network. I already changed the acl's on the shares to reflect the the appropriate domain groups that the User's were put in, and individual user accounts were removed.

I'm reusing the Windows 7 hardware as they have 32 cores and 192GB ram, and the attached Storage Arrays will be left connected and untouched. All I need to do is remove Windows 7, and install Server 2016. I fully expect to have to edit some physical paths, and to perform some other house cleaning.

My plan would be to take one of the machines down, install Server 2016, bring it back up, join it to the domain, and copy the REG keys over. Once that machined "settled," I'd do the same thing to the other machine; I want to set up a DFS Namespace, so if one machine dies, they can still access their data housed on the other machine's Storage Array; like AD does with SYSVOL.

I'm not a Storage Engineer, so I just want to make sure I'm looking at this correctly.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer

Commented:
You sounds like you're in good shape.

Have you used DFS Namespace before? It can be setup independently of the migration, but having DFS Namespace in place makes the migration much easier. If you have to redo drive mappings anyway, do it once to point to DFS and be done with it forever.

You must have a small network, and Windows Pro accepts only a limited number of concurrent connections.

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