How to Migrate From 2003 To 2008 R2 Part 1: File Server

Folders and Permissions

You can either use the Microsoft FSMT tool, or you can use Robocopy (more powerful). The MS FSMT tool can be found here and is pretty straightforward so I’ll leave you to Google it. Robocopy is built into 2008 and I personally prefer it as it is much, much more powerful, so the rest of this guide will be aimed at using it.

Firstly, from a command prompt on the target server perform the initial copy using something similar to the below:

robocopy \\source_server\source_folder D:\target_folder /e /zb /copyall /log:D:\initial_copy.log

This will bring not just the files over but also their attributes such as their NTFS permissions which makes life easier, plus it will write the whole process to a log file for later perusal.

Then when ready for the final setup, run the mirror (incremental) version:

robocopy \\source_server\D$\source_folder D:\target_folder /e /zb /mir /log:D:\mirror_copy.log

This basically copies anything that differs including permissions etc.

It’s worth noting that you will also have to perform the following to allow XP machines to access the shares:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters /v DisableStrictNameChecking /t REG_DWORD /d 1

Then reboot the server


If you have used the FSMT, it will have set them up for you but if you used Robocopy there’s an easy method to move them over, simply export the shares reg key from the source server and import it into the target server registry then reboot.

It can be found here:

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13 responses to “How to Migrate From 2003 To 2008 R2 Part 1: File Server”

  1. Joe says :

    Hello SysBadMin,

    I would like to thank you for such a great article, it was exactly what I am looking for as I am planning a Windows 2003 File Server share migration to Windows 2008 Server. With the power of robocopy and your registry suggestion, migrating file server share is a piece of cake.

    However, I would like your expertise regarding putting all the robocopy syntax command into a batch file and schedule it to run in Task Scheduler. I took your robocopy syntax and copy it to a batch file. When I right click on the batch file and do “Run As Administrator” the job runs fine. But when I schedule it in Task Scheduler, it runs but I get “ERROR : You do not have the Manage Auditing user right.” The same thing happen when I double click on that batch file too.

    In Task Scheduler, I even had it run as “Administrator” with “run with highest privileges” and with “Run whether user is logged on or not”. Nothing seems to work. I have google it and there are suggestions to change the option for “Start In”, to where the batch file is. I did that too but still no success.

    I would like to schedule it, so that I can have it run off hours over the weekend. Anyhow ideas I sure would appreciate it. I am running Windows 2008 Server R2 32bit.

    Thanks In Advance,


  2. microsoft office 2007 free download says :

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who
    had been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch due
    to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to
    talk about this topic here on your site.

  3. cartas de cumpleaños para una amiga says :

    Very good blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
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  4. Amlal says :

    I m in the process of migrating severals server from Windows 2003 Server R2 (32 bit ) to Windows 2008 Server R2 (64 bit), and I want to keep the same IP and the same Name, should I just rename the server and keep the same IP on the new server after I m done with robocopy command, or is there any thing that i should do?

    Thank you

  5. crakkstuh says :

    after your howTo… is it possible to shut down the old server, delete the computer object in AD and rename the new server to the old one? would it work? thanks in advance

  6. מנעולנים גבעת שמואל says :

    I enjoy reading through a post that can make people think.
    Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  7. Lavonne says :

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  8. JACK REACHER says :


  9. Dan says :

    lol so you’re worried about performance? how many files are you transferring exactly? the transfer speed largely depends upon the number of files that’s why we have third party tools for transferring files quickly. I have used robocopy before and it fails when the files are in reallllllllyyyyy large numbers..try gs rich copy 360…once i could transfer all my files (more than a million of them) in about 40% of time as compared to robocopy

  10. STEVE Lathom says :

    One thing worth mentioning. I migrated my CA from 2003 to 2012R2. The registry export from 2003 contains the paths to the CertLog folder in System32. But 2003 still useses C:\WINNT as the %systemroot%. Since 2008, this folder is no longer called WINT but Windows. So when you import the .reg file, the wrong path is added to the registry. This causes the ADCS service to fail with a PATH_NOT_FOUND error.

    I manually edited the registry and replaced C:\WINT with C:\WINDOWS in the \HKLM\SYSTEM\Currentcontrolset\Services\CertSvc\Configuration
    after which the services starts succesfully….you can use third party software to transfer the large amount of files very quickly..i use gs richcopy 360 to transferr my all large amount of files.

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