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I am new to DFS and need to rename an existing DFS root (OldDFS$) to a new name (NewDFS$) so that it's clearer to its users. This is on an AD domain and there is no replication of the DFS data. The current DFS root points to a Domain Controller (DC1) running Windows Server 2003 R2. The actual data (links, targets?) is on another server (Server1). The data in those links (targets?) can stay in place on the same server and drives. I just want the DFS root to have a new name. I really don't want to lose any data or have to replicate it, as there is 200 GB of data in the DFS folders.

What I want to do:

Change DFS name \\domain.com\OldDFS$

To DFS name \\domain.com\NewDFS$

My current DFS root target is: \\DC1\OldDFS$

I have three links (or are these targets?) under the current root, none of which needs to change:

\\server1\link1$
\\server1\link2$
\\server1\link3$

How do I go about this?

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I don't think it's possible to rename a DFS Root but there's nothing stopping you from creating a new DFS Root and transitioning the users to the new DFS Root.

  • Really basic follow-up question, but can I create a new root that refers to the OldDFS$ name, or do I have to replicate the data to a new name? When I delete the old root, does it remove the data as well? – Carl C Sep 9 '10 at 14:57
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    Are you referring to the DFS namespace or the shares that the DFS link targets point to? Removing the DFS links, link targets, and root doesn't touch any of the actual shares or the data in those shares. Think of DFS as a way of providing a common "distributed" set of "pointers" to the shares that exist in your environment. You can create a new DFS Root with new links and link targets without affecting the current DFS Root or link targets, then modify your login scripts, etc. to "point" to the new DFS namespace. – joeqwerty Sep 9 '10 at 15:11
  • Thank you for your response. That answers the question about removing the OldDFS$ piece. So, to accomplish what I want, I would just add a new DFS root with the name \\domain.com\NewDFS$ pointing to the same \\server1\link1$, link2$ and link3$. Then I would remove the OldDFS$ root without affecting the data? I feel like I must be missing something here. Is that it? – Carl C Sep 9 '10 at 18:38
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    Nope, that's about it. Create the new DFS Root, create the new links, create the link targets, and bada-bing you're in business. Just make sure to update everything that points to the old DFS to point to the new DFS, like logon scripts. – joeqwerty Sep 9 '10 at 20:30
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To save effort if you are renaming a large namespace, you can use export and import.

First export OldDFS$ to a .xml file. Command line:

dfsutil root export \\domain.com\OldDFS$ DfsExport.xml

Then edit the .xml file and rename all occurrences of OldDFS$ to NewDFS$. You can use Notepad, or any text editor if you don't have an XML editor. Save.

In the DFS console, create the new namespace NewDFS$ but leave it empty.

Now Import from the .xml file that you prepared. Command line:

dfsutil root import merge DfsExport.xml \\domain.com\NewDFS$

Check what got created. Add additional Namespace servers if needed. Switch your users over to use \domain.com\NewDFS$, and finally delete the OldDFS$ Namespace.

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