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Switching from one file server to another can be tricky, but is imperative to the success of your business. Here’s our guide to efficient file server migration.

There are plenty of reasons your company might require a file server migration.

Perhaps you’re moving to another office. Your IT resources could have expanded. You could be doing major updates with new software or hardware.

A file server migration can be a time-consuming process. It can also be difficult.

As an IT pro, it’s your job to oversee the migration process and ensure everything goes smoothly. That can be a lot of pressure, especially if you’ve never been responsible for a file server move before.

Luckily, we have five handy tips for managing the whole process if you’re using Windows. Read on before you start your file server migration.

Table of Contents:

  1. Start by Installing Windows Tools
  2. Create a Windows PowerShell session
    1. Loading Executable Files
    2. Finding Executable Files
    3. Requesting Help
  3. Prep for the File Server Migration
  4. Finish the Migration
  5. Make Sure Source Server is Retired After Migration

1. Start by Installing Windows Tools

A Windows migration requires the installation of Windows Server Migration Tools. With these, you can access shared folders, operating system settings, and server roles.

You can download the Windows Server Migration Tools on Windows’ website.

These tools are meant to prevent migration conflicts, ensure migration completeness and correctness, and shorten the amount of time needed for migration.

2. Create a Windows PowerShell Session

If your computers are running Windows Server 2008 R2 or later, the command-line interface known as Windows PowerShell is included. You’ll need this now.

Each time you use Windows PowerShell, you start a session. In that session, you generate command-lets or cmdlets for short.

These cmdlets are very helpful when it comes to Windows file server migration. By knowing which commands to input, Windows PowerShell can load executable files, search for these files, and provide help.

We’ll now explain how to do each of these tasks within a Windows PowerShell session.

Loading Executable Files

To load an executable file, you must first know the name of that file. Once you know the name, start by typing an ampersand. This is the “&” sign.

Then type the name of your executable file. These can be in all caps or all lowercase or even a mix of the two. Windows PowerShell will read it the same way.

So why the ampersand? To Windows PowerShell, the ampersand tells it to search. It’s known as a call operator.

Once you type the ampersand and the name of the executable file, it should display.

Finding Executable Files

What if you can’t find the executable file you need, though? Do you have to stop the file migration process and go look for it?

No, you don’t. But Windows PowerShell allows you to search within its framework. Here’s how.

If the executable file is in the directory and has a space anywhere in its name, type PS C:WindowsSystem32> & ".executable test.exe".

If the executable file does not have a space in its name but is still in the directory, type PS C:WindowsSystem32> &.notepad.exe.

Lastly, if you’re not sure if the executable file is in the directory, type PS C:WindowsSystem32notepad.exe.

Requesting Help

If you need more help than finding executable files, you can ask the Windows PowerShell. Simply input the following: Get-Help <cmdlet_name> -full.

With this line of text, you can get usage guidelines, parameters, and syntax on any cmdlet.

3. Prep for the File Server Migration

Before you can actually start the file server migration, you need to do some prep work. This includes the following:

  • Preparing all computers
  • Checking the source server
  • Backing up the source server
  • Preparing the destination server

These steps are all very important. Missing or skipping one could disrupt the migration process.

You will have to check both the software and hardware requirements for your destination server. During this time, it doesn’t hurt to make sure your source server is up-to-date as well.

In terms of software, you should install service packs and critical upgrades. If the source server needs these updates, take care of that.

You’ll also have to double-check that your source server and destination server are compatible. There’s a migration matrix you can use to confirm compatibility.

file server migration


4. Finish the Migration

Once you’ve double-checked that all your prep work is done, the actual file server migration can begin.

You can do two kinds of migrations: physical data migration and copy data migration.

If doing physical data migration, you must be the only one accessing the server. You will have to shut the server down at one point. If you can schedule the migration on a weekend or after working hours, this is best.

You can also do a copy data migration, which requires two phases. While the server does not have to go down during this process, it’s still best if you’re the only one using it.

During this process, certain files may be inaccessible. Data could accidentally be erased. The server will be slower than usual.

5. Make Sure the Source Server Is Retired After Verification

Once the file server migration is complete, your work isn’t over. You need to do verifications to make sure everything transferred correctly.

Here’s a checklist for what you should verify:

  • File Server Resource Manager or FSRM migration
  • Computer configuration on all machines
  • DFS Replication migration
  • DFS Namespaces migration
  • Shared folder migration
  • Local groups and users migration
  • File services migration

Once you’ve gone through each of those and verified them, go to the source server. Disconnect or retire this.

That will involve you getting rid of domain-based namespaces and stand-alone namespaces. To do so, run DFSUtil.exe. It’s recommended to wait at least five minutes for the DFS Namespace client cache to empty.

If you find you made a mistake at any point, it is possible to roll back your progress. You can roll back migration for computers, shared folders, certain data, and DFS Namespaces.

To prevent mistakes when doing a file server migration or importing to the cloud, rely on HubStor. This service allows Windows users to search and archive content and store data on the cloud. HubStor is also compatible with Microsoft Azure.

If you do happen to run into trouble during your migration, you know your data is stored securely in the cloud. You can easily access it, assess what went wrong, and get back to work.

Don’t stress about your storage needs for another day. Contact HubStor today!

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