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As administrators upgrade from earlier versions of Windows server operating systems such as Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 to Windows 2003 Server, many of them encounter difficulties with migrating and consolidating shared folders from one or more 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 least, they would 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, 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 easier, Microsoft created the File Server Migration Toolkit, a package of programs that addresses different tasks when migrating files and shares from one server to another.
The Toolkit contains the following 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 made.
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 that is 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 great deal of migration 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!