Windows Tutorials

Keep Old Server Name During File Server Migration

In this complete guide I will show you how to migrate a old Windows File Server 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019 and windows server 2022 to a new Server Host Name while keeping the OLD Server Host Name. 

Step 1 : Stand up your new file server, mine is called FS2.

Step 2 : Make sure to keep the same folder structure if possible as you see in your old server, in my case it is called FS1. 

Step 3 : I like to use software called SyncFolders , it can be used to transfer all your files with NTFS permissions from Source (FS1) to Detestation (FS2) 

Step 4 : In my case I configured the SyncFolders Software to Point my FS1 D:\ drive TO \\FS2\D$ or you can just share the D drive from FS2. You can also schedule this software to run hourly or nightly it will sync the files recently changed.

Step 5: Go to old file server, for me is FS1 and copy the the LanManServer\Shares Registry entry.

Navigate to the following Registry Key:


Export this entire “Shares” key to a safe location. (I usually name it “Key to Import”) Copy this exported key to NEW server for use later in this process.

Step 6 : Go to the new server mine would be FS2 and go to the same Registry key above and make a backup of LanmanServer\Shares , just in case you need it for recovery. 

Step 7 : Once these copies are complete, you are ready to begin the actual cut-over. We will be now making changes to the old server FS1. 

    1. Change the IP Address of OLD server to something that wont be in use.
    2. Change the Computer Name of OLD server to like FS1old and re-boot. (Do NOT remove from Domain)
    3. After reboot, open Command Prompt and type “ipconfig /registerdns

Step 8 : Now to make the required changes for FS2 to take over keeping the old server HostName.

    1. Log into your domain controller and open DNS Manager
    2. Within your Forward Lookup Zones expand to your domain name.
    3. Right click and add New Alias (CNAME).
    4. In the Ailas name use the old server name for me it was FS1
    5. Within the fully qualified field type in FS2.domainexample.local, leave the checkbox unchecked and click okay.
    6. Just making this CNAME change will now allow you to access shares, you will have to add SPN to the new file server.
    7. To register the SPN for the DNS alias (CNAME) records, use the Setspn tool with the following syntax within CMD:
      setspn -A host/your_ALIAS_name newservername
      setspn -A host/ newservername

    8. Open Command Prompt and type “ipconfig /registerdns

Step 9 : Import the registry key you created from FS1 onto FS2, this will share out all the folders for access.

Step 10 : Reboot all the workstations and you should now be able to access all the file paths using old server name on the new server you can also update group policy to point to the new server if needed. With this type of method you can minimize access issues while you work on making GPO changes or Logon Script changes.


I hope this article was helpful, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If you would like to be notified of when I create a new post, you can subscribe to my blog alert.

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Patrick Domingues


  1. Well, instead of it working I get the ” the local device name is already in use”. I am going to stand up 2 fresh servers and try again but might need some assistance.

  2. I did not change the IP but I did rename it and shut it down. With the two new test servers I stood up I did set them static and am just about back to that point in the second go through.

  3. Hi Patrick,
    First off, awesome guide! Been looking for a way to do this for awhile now.
    Kinda have 2 questions tho.
    1st, for host/your_ALIAS_name, what does this reference to?
    2nd, after the setSPN step, would hardcoded links that uses the old server name still works in MS Access/Excel?

    1. Hello Ash,

      Thank you for the visit. your_alias_name is the old file server host name
      Hardcoded links that use the old server’s name should still work, included mapped drives to old server names.

  4. Hello
    Great step by step
    Is it possible to skip change the ip of the old server? I think here the key is to release the old server name computer account.

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