Windows server Migration tool is a new offering on Microsoft servers which is further enhanced in windows Server 2012. We decided to use these for Hyper V migration from a Windows 2008 R2 server to Windows 2012 R2 server. However the migration didn’t go as Planned and we ended up doing a traditional Copy VHD migration process, But still there were quite some learning during the process on installing and configuring Windows server Migration tool, so I decided to share the same

Lets start below

1) Install the Windows server migration tool on both source (win2k8R2) and destination (Win2k12R2) server

This tool is not something which you need to download , rather its feature which just needs to be installed. You can either open server manager and install the same via GUI or use power shell to install it. Open Powershell with Run as admin privilege  and follow the following code

Import-module Server Manager

Add-WindowsFeature Migration

Install this role on both Source and Destination servers,Reboot the server if needed

2) Now once the Migration Tools are installed, as we are migrating from an older OS i.e. Win 2k8R2 to WIndows 2012 R2, so we need to do couple of more steps to get Migration tools works

a) Create Deployment folder for source servers on destination server

Open Cmd  on destination server with Admin Rights (Run as Admin)

Browse to directory where server tools are installed, default
cd %Windir%\System32\ServerMigrationTools\

As my source server is WIn2k8R2 X64 bit, so the command which I am going to execute is

SmigDeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS08R2 /path <deployment folder path> (c:\ServerMigTool)

PS: You can also specify a network path as the path for the deployment folder. Verify that you have access to the network path before you create the deployment folder.

b)  The other task to be done is to Register Windows server migration tool on source computer

Before you can run the Windows Server Migration Tools snap-in for the first time on a source server that is running an older release of Windows Server than your destination server, it must be registered with     Windows PowerShell. Use SmigDeploy.exe to register the Windows Server Migration Tools snap-in on a migration source server that is running an older release of Windows Server than your destination server  (that is, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003).

Now to register the tool, start by copying the folder on Destination server which you created in step a) to some local location on source server, say the C:\ drive, so the path will become c:\

Open CMD (Run as Admin) on source server

Browse to the directory in which you copied the Deployment folder content from Destination server just now

Once inside that directory, execute ./smigdeploy.exe to  complete the registration

I got the following error Here

SmigDeploy.exe is checking for prerequisites.

SmigDeploy.exe is registering Windows Server Migration Tools cmdlets with Windows PowerShell.

Unhandled Exception: System.Security.SecurityException: Requested registry access is not allowed.
at Microsoft.Win32.RegistryKey.OpenSubKey(String name, Boolean writable)
at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.Migration.SmigDeploy.Application.RegisterPrerequisiteCheck()
at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.Migration.SmigDeploy.Application.Register()at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.Migration.SmigDeploy.Application.Main(Stri
ng[] args)
The Zone of the assembly that failed was:


Error On source Computer while registering SMIGDeploy

Error On source Computer while registering SMIGDeploy

As it looks to be a permission error, so I decided to use my old trusted tool ProcMon to Identify which permission is missing. And did find the cause was a missing registry permission

Gave Full control permission to administrator after taking ownership on following keys on Registry



I re-executed the same command and this indeed fixed my issue. But this time when I tried register, I got an error that “Another Copy of Windows Server Migration Tools is registered on the computer. Reverse the registration of the existing copy of Windows Server Migration”  Refer Screen shot

SmigDeploy error after providing required registry permission in previous step

SmigDeploy error after providing required registry permission in previous step

So I did run SmigDeploy.exe /unregister and then Ran SmigDeploy.exe to re-register.  To my delight it did get registered this time.When registration is finished, a status message is displayed that indicates that the registration finished successfully, and a Windows PowerShell session opens. You can run Windows Server Migration Tools cmdlets in  this Windows Power-Shell session window.

SMIGdeploy and Powershell launched

SMIGdeploy and Powershell launched

From here on-wards the Hyper V  migration did not go as planned, as the SMIGDeploy.exe wasnt even showing Hyper V as a installed feature on the server, I assume that was because I still had all the virtual in powered on state, unfortunately it wasn’t an option for us to turn all of them Off , so we just went with the traditional migration approach, described below for your reference.

1) Logon to the Source server and open Hyper V Console

2) Delete all the snap shots from the virtual servers and shut all of them down or rather you can shut only the Virtual which you are migrating now and then migrate the rest

one by one.

2) Make sure all the Snapshot file (AVHD) have converged back into the original VHD files ( This process may take quite some time, depending on the size of Snapshot/AVHD’s)

3) Copy the VHD files to the new host

4) Install Hyper V role on the new Windows 2012 R2 server and then start configuring new virtual machine on it from scratch.  Provide it same config (Number of NIC’s, RAM, Processor) as at the source server and specify to use the respective copied over VHD’s with each server.

PS:1)Windows 2012 R2 has come with a new format for Virtual Harddrives which is Vhdx, however VHD’s are still equally supported on it

      2) Exporting the virtual Machines from Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2 is not possible, Please check our this article, to know more

If the above doesn’t fix you issue and you are still looking for support, Please check out our paid support options Here 

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An automobile enthusiast at heart and computer geek by profession, started my Career with MS in 2005.Left Jobs and started Pledge Technologies (the parent company to Grishbi) back in 2009.We have been providing IT consulting to various Small and Medium businesses across US and UK since then.Our company specialises in Microsoft Server technologies like AD, Exchange, the rest and with numerous Office 365 migrations under our belt, we quite an expert with that too. Whatever we learn in our day to day life, we share it back on Grishbi as a Thank for all the love and support our customers have given us.
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