Preparing Tools For Migration to Windows Server 2012

Before you start

Objectives: Learn how to prepare the Windows Server Migration Tools which can be used to migrate to Windows Server 2012. We will only prepare the necessary tools, we won’t do the actual migration of roles and features.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: server, migration, tools, Windows, PowerShell, command, features, case, machine, R2, migrate, roles

Which Editions Can Be Migrated

All the tools we mention here are actually PowerShell commandlets. We can use those tools to migrate from Windows Server 2003, either SP2, or R2. We can also migrate from Windows Server 2008, either the full edition, or the full edition running R2. We can’t migrate from Windows Server 2008 Core edition because it doesn’t have .NET framework which is necessary for migration. We can also transfer features from Windows Server 2012, either full or core edition.

We can migrate from physical machine to virtual machine, and we can also transfer from virtual machine to the physical machine. Actually, we can go in any direction. We can do a physical to physical, virtual to virtual, physical to virtual, and virtual to physical migration. It doesn’t matter if the system is physical or virtual.

When transferring to the Win Server 2012, we can only transfer to the same user interface language. For example, if we have a Server installed in Croatian language, and we want to migrate to the Server which is using English language, it’s not going to work.

User which is performing the migration has to have administrative rights on both machines. By using PowerShell scripts we can migrate features, shares, data, system settings, roles, etc.

Installing Migration Tools Using Wizard

We can install Migration Tools in Windows Server 2012 in several ways. When we log on to the Win Server 2012, we will see a Dashboard. On this window we can click on the “Add roles and features” option. We can also click on the Manage option in the upper right hand corner. Notice that here we also have options to remove roles and features, add servers, and create server groups.

1 Dashboard


We can use the Add Servers option to manage remote servers trough the same console. Using Server Groups we can make single configuration change which will affect multiple servers at once.

When we click on the “Add roles and features” option, the wizard will appear. We will click Next on the introduction page. The first thing we have to do is select the installation type.

 2 Installation Type

Installation Type

In our case we will select Role-based or feature-based installation. On the next screen we have to select the destination server.  In our case we will select the server from the server pool and select the only available server which is the server on which we are working on.

 3 Destination Server

Server Selection

On the next screen we can select server roles. Our feature is not listed here, so we will simply click on the Next button.

 4 Server Roles

Server Roles

On the features window we have to check the “Windows Server Migration Tools” option.

 5 Select Features


On the next screen we simply confirm our selection by clicking the Install button. So, this is one way of installing migration tools on our server. Let’s see how to install Migration Tools by using PowerShell.

Installing Migration Tools Using PowerShell

We have to run PowerShell as administrator. To do that, right-click on the PowerShell icon and select the “Run as administrator” option.

 6 Right-click PowerShell

Right-click PowerShell

So, now we have to enter the command to install Migration tools. The whole command to do just that is: “Install-WindowsFeature Migration“.

 7 PowerShell Migration Command

Install Migration Command

If we have to install this feature remotely, we also have to add the computer name to the command. For example, the command to install Migration Tools on computer named “cicnavi” would be: “Install-WindowsFeature Migration – ComputerName cicnavi”.

Once the installation is complete, we will see the result of our action. The exit code should be Success as in our case.

 8 PS Success


Deploying Tools With CMD on Server 2012

The next thing we need to do is go to the CMD. We will click on the Start charm and start typing CMD. This will automatically take us to the Search feature. Again, we have to run CMD as administrator, so once we find it, we have to right-click it and then select the “Run as administrator” option.

The first thing we have to do in CMD run the Server Migration Deployment utility. This utility is located in C:\Windows\System32\ServerMigrationTools directory. The name of the tool is SmigDeploy.exe. We have to extract this utility and we have to specify the architecture of the operating system that we are migrating from (x86 or amd64). We also have to specify the OS that we are migrating from and also the path to where the package will be extracted. The OS parameter can contain “WS08” if we are migrating from Win Server 2008, “WS08R2” if we are migrating from Server 2008 R2, or “WS03” if we are migrating from Windows Server 2003. The path can be local, or we can enter the UNC path to the directory on the remote machine. In our case we will be migrating from 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 R2. We will extract files directly to the Server 2008 machine by using its IP address ( in our case). We have created a shared folder on Server 2008 machine called “WMT”. The whole command is: “smigdeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS08R2 /path \\\WMT“.

9-smigdeploy Command

simgdeploy Command

Once this is complete, we will go to the Windows Server 2008 R2 system and check the “WMT” folder, in which we have deployed our migration utilities. In WMT we will now see a new folder called “SMT_ws08R2_amd64”. The name of this folder depends on the options we set during deployment, so your folder might be different.

There are some requirements for Server Migration Tools. When it comes to Windows Server 2003, we have to ensure that we have at least 25 MB of free space, we have to have .NET Framework 2.0 and SP1, and we have to have PowerShell 2.0. On Windows Server 2008 we have to have 25 MB of free space and PowerShell installed. On Windows Server 2008 R2 we have to ensure that we have 25 MB of free space.

The next step in the migration is to register the Migration Tools in Windows Server 2008 R2. For that we will be using CMD again with elevated privileges (run as administrator). Once in CMD we will have to change to our migration tools directory, which is C:\WMT in our case (we defined this ourselves) and then to the folder created during deployment (SMT_ws08R2_amd64 in our case).

 10 SMT 2008

WMT Directory Content

The next thing we have to do is enter the command: “.\smigdeploy” on the source computer (2008 R2 in our case is the source, 2012 is the destination system).

 11 Register Migration Tools

Register Migration Tools

Once this command is finished we will see a PowerShell prompt which we can use to start typing in migration commands.

 12 PowerShell

PowerShell Prompt

Basically, that’s it. We have prepared the tools necessary to do the migration of roles and features from other machine.