I have recently installed a second Domain Controller in our Domain.

Because our old file server is about to die from old age and dust. So my dire need is the knowledge on how to move the file structure from the old server to the new. With all the rights and restrictions intact.

Is there a easy way to do this, somehow i feel that copy, paste wont do it.

Thankfull for some feedback and insight


Use the Microsoft File Server Migration Toolkit

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Backup and restore of the data with most modern backup programs will include NTFS permissions.

If the share permissions / configuration are relatively simple then just document them and re-create them on the new box.

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  • +1 because you just can't test backup/restore enough. ;) – Kara Marfia Jul 6 '09 at 14:10
  • I've never heard anyone say "Y'know, we just had too many backups on this one, next time we won't bother so much" at the end washup for any major project I've worked on – Rob Moir Jul 6 '09 at 15:26

Robocopy can also do this on a command line basis

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If you've got a spare machine or a VM, you can do this while preserving the name of the old domain controller computer.

  • Promote a new computer to a domain contrller, running on spare hardware or a virtual machine using DCPROMO. Let's call this the "temporary DC".
  • Transfer any FSMO roles from the computer being replaced (calling this one the "old DC") to the "temporary DC".
  • Demote the "old DC" to a member server computer.
  • Rename the "temporary DC" to another name.
  • Install Windows on the replacement computer if it's not already installed. Let's call this the "new DC".
  • Rename / name the new DC as the old DC was already named.
  • Promote the "new DC" to a domain controller.
  • Transfer any FSMO roles from the "temporary DC" to the "new DC".

Now you've got a new DC running with the same name as the old computer.

  • Using XCOPY with the "/k /r /e /c /h /y /a" switches, copy the contents of the "data" folders from the "old DC" to the "new DC". This command will preserve permissions, but you should be sure that the permissions in the folder you're copying into are as you'd like them to be for the root, since they will inherit down anywhere they're permitted to.
  • Using REGEDIT, export the contents of "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanManServer\Shares" from the "old DC".
  • Edit the registry export file with Notepad. Remove the entries for any shares that won't be present on the "new DC". When done, import this registry file on the "new DC" by double-clicking the .REG file.
  • Using REGEDIT on the "new DC", examine the contents of the imported registry key above. Each shared folder will have a REG_MULTI_SZ entry under that key. Modify the "Path=" lines to refer to the proper location of the files on the "new DC".
  • Reboot the "new DC" and you should see all your shares working. Watch the System Event Log on boot to see any shares that could not be recreated becase you didn't set their paths properly.

Give that a go. That's a procedure we've used you years to replace DCs that are file servers in many Customer sites.

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  • The one step I didn't see you include is "wait for replication" especially between steps 3 & 4. I'd be worried about conflicts. – Jim B Jul 6 '09 at 17:24
  • @Jim B: I'm assuming copious quantities of forcing replication. Between steps 3 and 4, though, there should be no AD replication-related issues. – Evan Anderson Jul 6 '09 at 17:34

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