Administrators upgrading from earlier versions of Windows server operating systems to Windows 2003 Server often encounter difficulties with migrating and consolidating shared folders from the older server platforms.
Part of the problem is due to changes in conventions and technology. Administrators may want to migrate older Universal Naming Convention (UNC) network paths to newer Distributed File System (DFS) shares where possible. At the very least, they would probably like to preserve as many of the existing UNC shares as they can.
Copying everything by hand over to the new servers isn't the way to go. It's slow and cumbersome and there's too much room for error -- and if you're migrating dozens or even hundreds of shares, it's taxing on one's sanity as well. To make this chore less onerous, Microsoft created the File Server Migration Toolkit, a package of programs that address the many administrative tasks that come up when migrating files and shares from one server to another.
The toolkit contains two programs:
File Server Migration Wizard: The wizard interface application lets you select which folders to migrate. Permissions, auditing and folder shares are all easy to copy; you can automatically create DFS links for each copied folder; and you can even pre-stage events on the target server to make sure the changes made aren't destructive. When run, the wizard generates a detailed, printable report of all the changes
DFS Consolidation Root Wizard: This app allows administrators to create DFS links for old UNC pathnames, so people who attempt to access the original UNC pathname for a moved share will be redirected to a DFS link. Before you run this wizard, you'll need the hotfix described in article 829885 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.
The File Server Migration Wizard does not perform bandwidth throttling. In other words, it'll use all the available bandwidth it can find to perform its operations. If you have a good deal of migrating to do, you may want to do it after hours to minimize the impact on your local network.
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!
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This was first published in October 2005