Robocopy – File Server Migration

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KB ID 0001233 Dtd 25/08/16

Problem

I've done a lot of migrations, and moving a client's files and shared data, usually makes them cringe. 

File Migration

I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard 'We can't have any downtime', which is fine, until you tell them how much its going to cost to do this on a Saturday! 

As I posted recently, Microsoft have made this a lot easier with the file serve migration tools, which will do the whole thing for you, and migrate profiles, and shares etc.

Windows Server – Migrating Files / Folders / Shares / User Profiles

Thats great, but I find sometimes it's a little 'sluggish' when copying data, and sometimes it's better to just go 'old school'  and use Robocopy.

Solution

Why Robocopy? Well the advantage to Robocopy, is you can use it to only copy new files or files that have changed. So in a two step procedure, you can do an initial file copy during working hours, then copy the differences out of hours, and repoint people to the new shares.

Tip: Unless you know the network well, always assume there's some shares you don't know about, run the fsmgmt.msc tool and expand 'shares'.

Robocopy Step 1

Just in case things go wrong, I'm going to generate a log of whats going on, so I can see any errors or files skipped when I've finished. On the root of the destination servers C: drive create a folder called ROBOCOPY-Logs, and within this folder create another folder called Last-Copy, (you will see why later).

Replace the values in red below, to suit you environment;

robocopy \\OLDSERVER\d$\FOLDER D:\FOLDER /e /zb /copy:DATSOU /r:3 /w:3 /log:c:\ROBOCOPY-Logs\FOLDER.log /V /NP 

Where OLDSERVER is the source fileserver, D$ is the drive letter on the Source Server, and D is the drive letter on the new server.

What are those switches doing?

  • /E Copy subdirectories recursively, (including empty ones.)
  • /ZB Use 'restartable' mode, and if this fails use 'backup' mode.
  • /copy:DATSOU Copy Data, Attributes, Time Stamps, Security, Owner, aUditing information
  • /R:3 Retry three times, if you don't specify this, it will retry one million times!
  • /W:3 Wait time between the retries above.
  • /log Will output the log to the folder we created above.
  • /V Produce output in verbose (detailed) mode.
  • /NP Do not show percentage progress

Robocopy Step 2

The second time, the command is virtually the same, with one extra switch, (see below).

robocopy \\OLDSERVER\d$\FOLDER D:\FOLDER /e /zb /copy:DATSOU /MIR /r:3 /w:3 /log:c:\ROBOCOPY-Logs\Last-Copy\FOLDER.log /V /NP 

  • /MIR This is the 'mirror directory' switch, and people are scared of it. Why? Because in the documentation it says it removes or 'purges' files. People mistakenly think that it will remove any files from the source that do not exist in the destination. This is incorrect it will only remove files from the destination that no longer exist in the source.

 

It Has Not Copied Share Permissions!

That's correct, I never said it would, it copies NTFS permissions, ownership and ACL information. If you want to copy Share permissions then use the smigdeploy tools from the link I posted above.

Can I Copy the Share Permissions Afterwards?

Yes, if you take a look at the following article, (I wrote a while ago,) you can see me doing just that, after a file copy.

Migrating – Folders and Share Permissions

I Can't Copy Profiles / I get Permissions Errors?

  • Make sure the user you are using to copy files with, is a member of the 'Backup Operators' Group.
  • Make sure you execute the Robocopy command from an administrative command window.
  • Try doing the copy from the SOURCE server.

 

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

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Author: PeteLong

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