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I currently have a file and print server running Windows Server 2003.

I would like to replace the OS hard drive with a new one, running server 2008 R2.

Currently, all the files are stored on two other hard drives on the same server.

When I replace the current OS hard drive, I assume that all the current permissions on all the folders will be lost.

Is there a way to preserve those sharing/security permissions, so I can "seamlessly" upgrade the server?

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migrated from Jan 12 '12 at 2:26

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You want to replace the physical hard drive or just the OS? – HostBits Jan 12 '12 at 2:34
Define "upgrade". Do you mean in-place? Then - yes, the permissions should be preserved. – Vick Vega Jan 12 '12 at 2:44

Robocopy has the ability to preserve ACLs during file transfer.

robocopy source dest /MIR

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While true, this wouldn't be applicable here. The files aren't moving anywhere. – HostBits Jan 12 '12 at 2:38

Is this file server a domain member, or is it a standalone server in a workgroup? NTFS file permissions use SIDs (security identifiers) to reference users and groups.

In a workgroup environment, the SIDs are defined on the fileserver itself, as part of the local users and groups configured on that server. If you are wiping out the boot disk and installing a new operating system entirely, then the permissions will reference SIDs that no longer exist, so you'll need to reset all of the permissions. But if you're just doing an upgrade, that won't affect the local users and groups so the permissions will remain intact.

In a domain environment, the SIDs for domain users are defined on the domain controllers. So even if you wipe out the boot drive and reinstall a new operating system, the files on your data drive are still using the same SIDs, and they are still defined by your domain controllers, so the permissions are totally perserved.

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