Some people may have learned about Windows Server Migration Tools. You want your files or some other data to be shared among multiple Windows Servers; in that case, Windows Server Migration Tools can help you realize it. This article on MiniTool Website will reveal a guide for using Windows Server Migration Tools.

Migration tools are used to manage and facilitate the modernization of an organization's IT infrastructure and resources.

They support the migration of files, databases, applications, operating systems, physical and virtual servers, networks, and data centers to new or upgraded platforms and products.

As one member of the migration tools, Windows Server Migration Tool can also play the role to meet your demands. So, what is Windows Server Migration Tool?

What Is Windows Server Migration Tools?

Windows Server Migration Tools can help you migrate server roles, features, operating system settings, and other file data to servers, including later versions of Windows Server.

The server migration tool allows users to transfer all assets from the current server to the new server. This tool can run as a shell script on the server you want to move. When you are prepared to migrate to Windows Server, it can be your right hand.

How to Use Windows Server Migration Tools?

As for how to use Windows Server Migration Tool, you will learn it in three parts as follows.

Part 1: Prepare for Installation

Before you install the Windows Server Migration Tools, there is some information you need to verify.

Point 1: Check if your operating system is supported.

The supported source server operating systems are as follows:

  • Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2012

For those systems, you can migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012.

For Windows Server 2012 R2 and the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2012 R2, you can only migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2.

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Windows Server Migration Tools are also available for the newer versions of Windows Server except the above. But you can’t migrate to a destination server that is running an operating system in a different system UI language.

Note: Roles that are running on the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 cannot be migrated.

Point 2: Make sure your source server has at least 23MB of space for the Windows Server Migration Tools deployment folder.

Besides, for the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003/2003 R2 source server, you need to install Windows PowerShell.

Part 2: Install Windows Server Migration Tools

Point 1. Install Windows Server Migration Tools on the destination and source servers.

There are two different installation methods you can choose:

Method 1: Use Windows PowerShell

Step 1: Right-click the Windows PowerShell on the Windows Start screen.

Step 2: Click Run as Administrator and type the following command on the pop-up window and press Enter.

Install-WindowsFeature Migration –ComputerName

Then the installation will be prepared. You can wait for a moment and then follow the instruction to finish that.

Method 2: Use Server Manager

Step 1: Type Server Manager in the Search box and press Enter.

Step 2: Click on Add Roles and Features under the Manage tab and then Next.

Step 3: Select your destination server and then Next.

Step 4: Go to the Features tab and check the box of Windows Server Migration Tools. Then click Next.

Step 5: Click Install after confirming your installation selections.

Point 2. Create a deployment folder on the destination computer.

In this section, you need to create the deployment folder on your destination server that is running Windows Server Migration Tools. Please do as follows:

Step 1: Type cmd on the Start screen, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

Step 2: Type the following command and press Enter.

cd %Windir%\System32\ServerMigrationTools\

step 3: Based on your destination Windows Server version, type one of the following commands. They represent the path of the deployment folder on the source computer. Then press Enter.

For Windows Server 2012 - SmigDeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS12 /path

For Windows Server 2008 R2 - SmigDeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS08R2 /path

For Windows Server 2008 - SmigDeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS08 /path

For Windows Server 2003 - SmigDeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS03 /path

After that, the deployment folder has been set up.

Point 3. Register Windows Server Migration Tools on the source computer.

The Windows Server Migration Tools need to be registered with Windows PowerShell before you start to use it.

There are two things you need to check out if you are using Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 is installed on Windows Server 2003.
  • Windows PowerShell 1.0 or a later version is installed on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003.

Step 1: Copy the deployment folder generated by the destination computer to a local drive on the source one.

Note: Ensure that the operating system architecture of the deployment folder matches that of the source computer to which you are copying the folder.

Step 2: On the source computer, press the Windows and X keys together and select Command Prompt from the menu.

Step 3: At the Command Prompt, switch to the directory where the Windows Server Migration Tools deployment folder is copied in Step 1.

Step 4: Type the following command and press Enter to register Windows Server Migration Tools cmdlets.


After finishing those three points, you have successfully installed the Windows Server Migration Tool. In the next part, you can migrate data using Windows Server Migration Tools.

Part 3: Use Windows Server Migration Tools

Situation 1: Export the local users from the source server.

Step 1: Type Server Manager in the Search box and open it on the source server.

Step 2: Click Tools.

Step 3: Open the Windows Server Migration Tools.

Step 4: Run the following command:

Export-SmigServerSetting -User All -Group –Path C:SysAdminExportMigUsersGroups –Verbose

Situation 2: Import local users to the targeted Server.

Step 1: Follow the route to open Windows Server Migration Tools on the destination server.

Server ManagerToolsWindows Server Migration Tools

Step 2: Run the following command:

Import-SmigServerSetting –User Enabled –Group -Path C:SysAdminExportMigUsersGroups –Verbose

How to Remove Windows Server Migration Tools?

For the above part, you have learned how to install and use Windows Server Migration Tools. If you want to know how to remove it, the issue will be clarified in this part.

Step 1: Type Windows PowerShell in the Search box and run it as an administrator.

Step 2: Type the following, and then press Enter.

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Migration –ComputerName

Then the Windows Server Migration Tools can be safely removed.

Alternative for Windows Server Migration Tools

As you can see, the installation process of Windows Server Migration Tools is complicated and the tool is less flexible. Although it can help you transfer data, the command you need to remember is hard for a non-professional.

If you want to enjoy a similar function as Windows Server Migration Tools and more sync features with easy operations, MiniTool ShadowMaker can be an optimal option.

You can easily synchronize files between Windows Servers. First of all, you can download and install this program and you will get a 30-day free trial version.

Free Download

Step 1: Click Keep trial to enter the program.

Step 2: Switch to the Sync tab and click the Source section.

switch to the Sync tab

Step 3: Choose the files you want to sync and then click OK.

select source file

Step 4: Click the Destination section to select a destination folder to save the synchronized files. Here, you can sync your files to multiple places, such as the Administrator account folder, Libraries, Computer, and NAS.

If you want to sync your files to another server, you can choose Shared and then click Add new to input path, user name, and password. Then click OK and then OK to save your changes.

input path, user name, and password

Step 5: After selecting the sync source and target, you can click the Sync Now button to immediately execute the synchronization operation. Or click Sync Later and then start the delayed sync task on the Manage page.

Different from Windows Server Migration Tools, more useful features are developed here. For example, you can also configure your scheduled sync tasks and set exclude conditions to filter backup files. Also, you can compare the contents of the file.

Further Reading: Server Migration and How to Plan for It?

Now that we've covered Windows Server Migration Tools, we can expand a little bit further and discuss what server migration is.

Server migration is a term used to describe copying or moving critical data from one server to another and configuring the target server to replace the first server.

How to Plan for Server Migration?

First of all, a complete and accurate picture of your existing infrastructure, including all data, hardware, software, and network components is necessary for successful data migration.

There are five points to Windows Server Migration steps.

Point 1: Prepare your new server

It is critical that your new server be properly sized and prepared for any incoming data and digital assets.

Point 2: Assess data fidelity

It is important to ensure that all data is taken into account before the migration and installed correctly after the migration.

Point 3: Data transfer

With the new server in place and all the data properly secured and ready for migration, it's time for the final replication. Data transfer is typically the most time-consuming part of the migration. You’d better prepare a good Internet environment.

You can read this article to learn a good Internet speed: What Is a Good Internet Speed? Check the Answer Right Now!

Point 4: Testing (QA/QC)

Checking for full functionality and full data transfer can be time-consuming and cumbersome, but the time is worth it and prevents problems from being discovered much later.

Point 5: Change DNS

After all of that, you can switch your DNS so traffic goes from the old server to the new infrastructure. It’s a relatively simple process in most cases.

This article has introduced how to install, use, and remove Windows Server Migration Tools. If you are interested in or find it useful, you can share it on Twitter.Click to Tweet

Bottom Line:

You can weigh the value of the Windows Server Migration Tool and make the decision based on your own situation. Windows Server Migration Tool can be your right hand for your better experience. You can also carry on migration with the help of other sync programs.

If you have encountered any issues when using MiniTool ShadowMaker, you can leave a message in the following comment zone and we will reply as soon as possible. If you need any help when using MiniTool software, you may contact us via [email protected].

Windows Server Migration Tools FAQ

How much does server migration cost?

This manual effort drives the cost of such migrations, typically ranging from 00 per server at the low end, to 00 for an average case, and as high as 000 for more complex scenarios.

How long does it take to migrate servers?

Depending on a variety of factors, including the amount of data being migrated, the stability of the original server, or other unforeseeable issues, a typical migration can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It is best to plan for this process to take a few weeks.

What are the advantages of a server migration?

Businesses typically migrate servers for increased capacity, faster response times, and a host of other important benefits. Whether you anticipate migrating servers in 5 months or 5 years, it's never too early to take these planning tips into consideration.

Why is server migration important?

Organizations may migrate to: Take advantage of new technology or better service, or ensure that the operating system (OS) and the hardware beneath it stay up-to-date with current technology. Move to the cloud for increased flexibility or scalability.

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