Windows Server 2019

Migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2019 with Storage Migration

In Migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2019 with Storage Migration we take a look at migrating from legacy servers to Windows Server 2019


  • Let’s take a look at the process of running the storage migration service and the requirements and the outcome for me in the lab.
  • The first thing I needed to do is install the Storage Migration Service and Storage Migration Service Proxy on the 17744 build server.
  •   Keep in mind the testing I was able to perform involved the Windows Insider releases along with taking a look as well as the RTM code in Eval form.

One of the fantastic new features of Windows Server 2019 is the Storage Migration service that allows easily migrating off an old server. Over the years Microsoft has introduced tools that allowed copying files and such, but there was always part of the desired functionality that you would want that was left out. Administrators have long wanted a tool that could fully automated the process of migrating off an old server over to a new server. This includes the ability to both move the files, shares, and permissions, but also assuming identity of the old server in cases where this is desired. The new Storage Migration tool found in the Windows Admin Center provides a powerful tool that allows this ability in an automated fashion. In this post, we will take a look at how to Migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2019 with Storage Migration.

Observations in Testing

So to begin with, I want to make a few observations of various things I noticed in testing.  Keep in mind the testing I was able to perform involved the Windows Insider releases along with taking a look as well as the RTM code in Eval form.  One of the interesting bits that I observed was the RTM code was missing the Storage Migration service and Proxy service.  Additionally, the Datacenter release, in various forms in the Insider release did not have the Storage Migration Service.

The release and testing that I performed was in the form of the Windows Insider build 17744.1001 which is the latest version of the Windows insider release.  Also, I noticed the Preview release of the Windows Admin center 1808 did not have the extension for the Storage Migration service by default.  The test that I ran involved using the 1809 release of the Windows Admin Center on top of the Standard edition version of Windows Server 2019 17744 build.  As you will see, I ran into some hurdles with testing Windows 2003 migration.  Of course, everything is still so new with the Storage Migration service that it is very lightly documented if at all at this point.

In testing I had the following:

  • Windows 2003 R2 x64 build – no patches installed
  • Windows Server 2019 Standard – 17744 build

Let’s take a look at the process of running the storage migration service and the requirements and the outcome for me in the lab.

Migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2019 with Storage Migration

The first thing I needed to do is install the Storage Migration Service and Storage Migration Service Proxy on the 17744 build server.

Installing the Storage Migration Service and Storage Migration Service Proxy in Windows Server 2019

You can see it from a different view here in PowerShell.

Different view at the Storage Migration Services in PowerShell

Add the required subfeatures needed…

Include additional components when adding the Storage Migration Service

Added and ready to install…

Storage Migration Service and Storage Migration Proxy Service added

Feature installation is successful.  Now back to Windows Admin Center.

Storage Migration Service and Storage Migration Service Proxy installation succeeded

You now see the Storage Migration Service listed in Windows Admin Center.

Storage Migration Service is now available in Windows Admin Center

WAC displays the overview of the process including the steps:

  • Inventory
  • Transfer
  • Cut over
Overview in Windows Admin Center of the Storage Migration Service process

Create a New job in the Storage Migration Service dashboard.

Run a new Storage Migration Service job

Name the new job.

Create a new job name

The first of the three step process involves the Inventory devices step.  Enter credentials here.

Enter credentials when inventorying the source of the Storage Migration

Add the source device to scan.  Click the Add a device button.

Add and scan a source device

Add the source device – here using the FQDN.

Add source device name

We need to scan the source device for shares, files, etc.  Click the Start scan button.

Start scan on source device

The initial scan for me errored out.  Just working on a theory I tried to simply connect to the admin share of the Windows 2003 server and received the following error, related to SMB 1.0.

SMB error when connecting to the legacy Windows 2003 server

Enabling SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support

Working on a hunch here this is why the Storage Migration Service failed to inventory the service.  I decided to add the SMB 1.0/CIFS support for Storage Migration to see if it gets me further.

Add support for SMB 1.0 and CIFS File Sharing in Windows Server 2019

After adding SMB 1.0 you will need to restart.

Finish out the wizard and restart the server

After restarting, i tried again and was able to successfully connect to Windows 2003.

After adding SMB 1.0 I can now browse shares on the Windows 2003 server

Now, the inventory process is successful.

The Windows Server 2019 storage migration scan now completes successfully

Moving along to the Transfer data step, enter the credentials.

Enter credentials for the destination device to transfer the files

Enter the destination device name and scan the device.

Add destination device and scan the device

After scanning, you will see the list of shares, path, type, size and you can choose to include the share or not.  Also, you can map the destination server drive if different.

Choose the shares to migrate and the destination for the data

Adjust transfer settings including retries, etc.

Adjust settings for the data transfer

Validate the settings by clicking the Validate button

Validate the source and destination devices

Next, you are down to the Start the transfer step.  Click the Start transfer button.

Start the transfer of files from the 2003 server to the Windows Server 2019 server

In trying multiple times to get this to work with Windows 2003, I ran into the error below: Couldn’t transfer storage on any of the endpoints.  Things tried below:

  • Enabled server component of SMB 1.0 (didn’t think this was necessary but tried it anyway)
  • Disabled UAC in Windows Server 2019
  • Rebooted Windows 2003 and Windows Server 2019 servers
  • Tried different files inside the shares
  • Added a new virtual disk and targeted this drive instead of the system drive.

The weird thing is the folders get created and files, but they are “0” file size.

Error migrating from Windows 2003 server to Windows Server 2019 using Storage Migration Service

The following error is displayed in event view for Windows Server 2019.

Event log error with the Storage Migration Service

I am sure I am missing something required here with Windows 2003, however, there is literally no information out there at this point for this functionality so working on trial and error.  I will keep this post updated as I continue to test.

So to feel good about at least getting to test the functionality, I tried Windows Server 2019 to Windows Server 2019.  As you can see below, the transfer of the same files is successful, albeit on the Windows Server 2019 platform.

The same transfer between Windows Server 2019 servers is successful

Shares are properly created and NTFS permissions are brought across as well.

Share and NTFS permissions are properly brought across

Now, for the cutover stage.  This allows actually assuming the identity of the old server if you need.  Again, credentials.

Enter credentials for the cutover process

Configure what you want to do with the network.  You can assume IP as well if you want.  Additionally, you can choose to generate a random computer name or specify what you want the old server to be renamed too after the new server assumes identity.

Configure network connection parameters for the cutover

Adjust the cutover time.

Adjust settings of the cutover time allotted

Validate the source and destination.

Validate source and destination for cutover

Start the cutover process.  This will reboot both servers a few times as each identity is changed.

Start the cutover process

After the cutover process is successful.  I was able to verify that the old server was renamed and the new server assumed the identity of the old server.  Very cool!

Storage Migration Service cutover is successful


I generally don’t like to create posts showing things I couldn’t get to work, however, this is showing preview functionality at this point and I know I am missing something for Windows 2003 functionality.  It is great to see that Microsoft is working on making this process to Migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2019 with Storage Migration as simple and easy as they can.  There is a ton of Windows 2003 servers still out in production environments according to Microsoft!  One documented and ironed out, this will eliminate all excuses to migrate off Windows 2003 up to Windows Server 2019 for file server platforms.  More to come…again, stay tuned to the post as I will keep it updated with findings.  Please comment if you have been experimenting with this also and have the key here that I am missing.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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