Windows 2016 Migration – The Complete Step-by-Step Guide


It’s time to upgrade the lab to Windows Server 2016, but unfortunately the Windows 2016 Migration Guides from Microsoft is still under development…

Windows 2016 Migration

Using my Automation Framework it’s pretty easy for me to spin up or simply replace servers in my lab, but Roles & Features like Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, ADFS, CA and File Shares are something I want to do a controlled Windows 2012 R2 to Windows 2016 Migration on.

In my exercise below I’ve demoted my DC-02 (WS12R2) and then just installed a new Windows 2016 Server. Let’s get Started.

Windows 2016 Migration

Active Directory Migration

Luckily my fellow CTP Stephane Thirion has already written a post Migrating FSMO Roles in Windows 2016 that covers this. The only thing missing in his first script is the following:

DHCP Migration

This was straight forward using PowerShell. Run the following command on DC-01:

Copy the folder C:\Export to DC-02 and run the following command:

Certificate Authorities Migration

Follow this Microsoft post Step-By-Step: Migrating The Active Directory Certificate Service From Windows Server 2003 to 2012 R2.

ADFS Migration

Windows 2016 Migration

Follow the post Upgrading to AD FS in Windows Server 2016. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten my configuration details to join my ADFS farm.

I’ll just Disable ADFS Federation for Office 365 and then follow the post Getting Started with Office 365 to set it up again on Windows 2016.

File Server Migration

This is probably the most important part. I’ve researched using various tools for this including Microsoft File Server Migration Toolkit, but in my experience the easiest solution is still Robocopy.

The following command will replicate Files, Folders and Permissions to the new DC-02. Run the following command from DC-01:

The final task is to export the registry key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares

Windows 2016 Migration

Since I’m going to still host all my Shares on DC-01 I’m now going to demote it, delete the VM, install Windows 2016 and follow the first section of this post.

After everything is up and running I’ll replicate the files and folders back to DC-01, import the registry key and restart the server.

That’s it, pretty straight forward when you need to perform a Windows 2016 Migration because of the 180 day time-bomb or whatever other reason.



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6 thoughts on “Windows 2016 Migration – The Complete Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. Thanks for telling us Stephane left something out of his script, however, you don’t tell us where in the script the missing line should go. :sigh:

  2. File server migration is tedious task when there are huge files to copy and any disruption in it can lead to wastage of time and that’s what happened to me many times. That’s when I started to look for other software and my friend suggested me to use GS richcopy. This software is simple and packed with features. It notifies me when task is done and never hangs in between. Try it its best!

  3. Nice and well written article, but I will go with Colin Anksh. I took his advice and came here to thank this guy. Your software- GS Richcopy 360 worked really well, I recently used to to migrate my server. Thanks again man!

  4. Baretto is right..I’ve been using gs richcopy360 too and it is wonderful – supports long file path names as well as NTFS permissions.


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