I'm setting up a new Active Directory server and need to migrate all the shared directories from the old server. I've found a lot of information about DFS Replication, but that isn't available until 2003 R2. I can't figure out how to replicate files from 2003 to 2008 R2 with FRS or if that's even possible.

I don't need long term replication; I'll retire the old server once the new one is stable.

I'd prefer a solution that maintains continuity, but if that isn't possible I can stay after hours for a changeover.

If this helps: - The current domain and functional level is Windows Server 2003 - On both the 2003 SP2 and 2008 R2 servers, "File Replication Service" is a running service.

3 Answers 3


Eliminating downtime completely is difficult and usually undesirable - you don't want to impersonate your old server for eternity, so the users should start using the new name some time - you have to choose if they should manually switch, you'll script the changes for them etc. Since it's a different and complicated subject, let me know if you want me to write up on it.

You need to migrate two parts - the CIFS share definitions and the actual files.

Migrating the share definitions is usually easy - they're represented as registry entries.
This KB article shows you how to do it, and since it applies to versions 2003 and 2008r2, I'll think the structure is similar enough. Just back up everything beforehand, and make sure the keys do look similar on both servers.
After modifying the registry, either reboot the server or restart the "server" service (a.k.a lanmanserver).

Migrating the files is messier, but still doable. I use robocopy, because you can use the /mir switch to make the destination directory look like the original.
I run this command over and over (and measure the time taken for each run) until most of the files have been migrated (every time the run only copies the modified files, meaning it takes less).
When I see the robocopy run takes a reasonable amount of time (e.g. 30 mins for a gigantic directory, because merely going over all files takes a long time), I take the old server share down (for user access), run it one last time, and then take the new server share up (again, for user access). That way no user data is being "forgotten" on the old server, and no data on the new server is being overwritten by the migration.
You can customize robocopy to preserve permissions, access times etc.

  • I hadn't thought about it that way; good point. Sounds like a solid plan. Aug 8, 2014 at 23:28

In the past I would just use something like Xcopy or even Synctoy to migrate file server data to a new system. NTFS permissions are copied over and then you just recreate the shares. More recently I've used Bvckup 2, its ability to run delta copies and ease to setup as a service are really slick. You can setup something that syncs to the new server in real time until you're ready to go live with it. If it were me I would get everything copied over and disable the shares on the old server. If there's somehow anything missing I'd go manually copy it over.

DFS is sort of over complicating things. Its more useful in situations where you have file servers you need to keep in sync between offices that are in different locations or something like that.

  • Good tool. It's running now and seems to be going smoothly. Aug 8, 2014 at 23:26

I use this program to keep shares in sync when needed...


It is not free but it is a very useful tool. It can sync in real-time or a specified interval, will copy permissions and only copies the diff as well.

I have had no problems using this program.

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