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Sharepoint Portal 2003 Migration from one machine to another in a different domain

This is my story about a Sharepoint migration I recently was involved with in moving from one machine to another. Hopefully my post can provide a couple of tips/tricks for those who are tasked with performing such a feat. At a 10,000 foot level, the migration was to take an existing Sharepoint server running on a single machine in an existing Active Directory domain and recreate this environment on a new server in a different domain. The goal was to have users be able to login with their existing user id, have their existing MySites, links to documents etc. The goal was to provide as much as a *zero-touch* experience as possible.
After researching I was unable to find any supported tool from Microsoft moving an existing Sharepoint implementation to another domain. The closest process I could find was in the disaster recovery documentation. (  ) However, this process did not mention anything about moving the Sharepoint installation to a new domain.

After some further searching, I found a tool written by Keith Richie ( ) that appeared to help make this goal possible. The tool was *non-supported* by Microsoft but appeared to achieve in migrating existing users, groups and the profile database after a restoring the databases on a new machine running in a different domain. This tool would be run after *restoring* the existing SITE, SERVICES and PROFILE databases. Here is the link to information about the tool. (  )

This tool is NOT supported by PSS and any attempt to call in and get support probably won’t get you anywhere, consider yourself warned. I used version 2.2 and was an enhancement to help also migrating the profiles database. Without talking too much more, the tool helped achieve what I needed regarding the user, profile information. There was other items in the process I had to handle in addition to *migrating* user information. Items like search settings, custom web-parts also had to be re-registered on the new server.

My advice is to test the migration process a few times before going live. Have some *power* users test everything out will help ensure everything works. Some of the issues I ran into was the restore didn’t completely register *custom* web parts. Another issue I ran into was the first installation I performed was done under one administrative user but I wanted Sharepoint run under a different domain *service* account. My suggestion is to create a user id, grant this user id local administrator on the machine and perform ALL installations and configurations while logged in as this user. This might not apply in your environment but took me 2 complete rebuilds of the server to do realize this was the best way to handle everything. Also, take a good inventory of all web parts before moving to the new server. They might need to be registered in the GAC or locally to the individual Sharepoint site. I used the ‘stsadm.exe’ command line tool to register on the new machine. Also make sure you get the Microsoft Office webparts if these are used in your environment.  Other downloads are available at

In conclusion, it is possible but not only after many hours of testing was I able to achieve my goal. This would have not been possible without the tool written by Keith, this post is a *HUGE* thanks for taking the time to write and make this tool available. Hopefully the Sharepoint dev team realizes the need for such a tool and makes it available in future releases. As a result, I have many happy clients for being able to achieve this and most of the users barely knew we moved to a new machine. The silence we heard days after the migration proved the process worked, much to the success of the SPSUserUtil program. I wish you all the best of luck in your Sharepoint migration!

At a high-level, here is the main steps I performed in the migration. This by no means is a complete list and there are several days in each step but hopefully this will provide some guidelines.

-Created an AD user and granted local administrative rights on the machine running Sharepoint
-Re-created all the Sharepoint groups, users in the new domain
-Installed Windows 2003 Standard server
-Installed SQL Server 2000 with service pack 3
-Installed WSS and Sharepoint portal 2003 with all related hot-fixes, service packs
-Installed all standard web-parts such as those for Office 2003.
-Used SQL Server functionality to backup the databases on existing machine and restore on the new server
-Used Sharepoint Portal feature to *restore* an existing portal on the new machine
-Ran the *special* hot-fixes that are related to the SPSUserUTIL. (this is documented in the readme file) on the SITES, PROFILES databases
-Ran the spsuserutil utility to query and also migrate users, groups and profile databases.
-Re-registered custom web-parts to the specific Sharepoint sites.
-Recreated or fixed search functionality.
-Logged into WSS, unchecked, clicked OK and re-checked the WSS functionality to fix MSSearch that is used for MySites search.


Steve Schofield
Microsoft MVP – ASP/ASP.NET
ASPInsider Member – MCP
Powerful Web Hosting Solutions
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