Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

File Server (File Share) to SharePoint Online Migration Guide

Last Update: 7/21/2017 11:29 AM
This article has been moved to our new Help Center. Please update your bookmarks.

​​​​​File Server (File Share) to SharePoint Online Migration Guide

Important: When you sign in to MigrationWiz, you are redirected to the Getting Started page in MSPComplete. To get to a migration project created before April 4, 2017, click the Go to Projects button on the Getting Started Page. To create a new project for the migration scenario documented in this article, click the waffle icon (waffle.png) in the top navigation bar of MSPComplete, and select the appropriate migration product.

  • This is the complete onboarding task flow for migrating file shares from File Servers to SharePoint Online document libraries
  • Complete each step in order. Links to corresponding Knowledge Base articles are provided.
  • If performing a file server home directory to OneDrive for Business migration, refer to KB005477.
  • SharePoint Online has certain limitations. You should be aware of these limitations before performing your migration. They are documented in this article: KB005058. The good news is that by using MigrationWiz, these limitations can be overcome by setting a few MigrationWiz Advanced Options. These are included in this migration guide.
  • The Destination must be SharePoint Online or SharePoint On-Premises 2010 or later.
  • If permissions are to be included in the migration, users must exist on Office 365 and have SKU licenses assigned to them.
  • The diagram below provides a high-level overview of the steps involved in migrating a small number of file shares. The key difference for this type of migration scenario is that this one requires an Azure subscription, and the use of the BitTitan UploaderWiz utility to upload the file shares to Azure before they can be migrated into SharePoint Online, using MigrationWiz.
  • This specific migration scenario (i.e., File Server file shares to SharePoint Online) is free and does not require any MigrationWiz licenses.
  • You will need to create separate MigrationWiz projects for each file share. You will create a baseline project first with all the Advanced Options set, and then use the MigrationWiz Clone feature to create one MigrationWiz project per file share, based on this first baseline project.


Prepare the Azure Environment

  1. Estimate Azure storage costs. This step is optional, but is useful in order to provide the customer with upfront storage costs ahead of time. KB005177
  2. Buy an Azure subscription (or use the free one-month trial, and be aware that this option is only viable if you are performing a very small migration). KB004996

  3. See KB004832 to create an Azure storage account. Take note of the Storage Account Name and the Primary Access Key. (In Azure, from the storage screen, click on Manage Access Keys at the bottom of the screen.) These need to be entered into the MigrationWiz document project when specifying the Source settings. We recommend that you create an Azure Storage Account in the same Microsoft data center as the Destination Office 365 tenant. There is no need to create any Azure containers for this migration. Separate containers are created on a per-home directory basis. During migration, MigrationWiz will create two separate metadata files (with extensions: -directory.metadata and -files.metadata) which will be added to each container. These are used during migration by MigrationWiz, to build the folder structure in OneDrive for Business and to migrate the permissions. They should not be deleted until after the migration. KB004832

Prepare the Destination Environment

  1. Create a SharePoint Online administrator or Site Collection administrator account to be used for migration, or use the global admin account for the tenant. More information can be found here.
  2. Create a SharePoint document library. Note: Make a note of the site URL where the document library is stored. This will be entered when creating your MSPComplete Destination endpoint.
  3. Before beginning the migration project, create the structure of the document libraries, and also create the actual document libraries on the Destination SharePoint Online site. Note: Refer to this Microsoft training video for more information on the steps to do this: Create your document library.

Upload Files to Azure (Note: Steps are performed from a file server, or a computer joined to the domain, when logged in with the domain admin account, with local admin rights to the machine.)

  1. Download and extract the UploaderWiz utility from here (e.g., extract into the c:\apps\uploaderwiz directory).
  2. Set the file share migration batch to read-only access by user, and inform the users that a migration is occurring and that their file shares are now read-only. (This will prevent the user from adding files to these file shares during the migration). KB005479
  3. From the command console, running as administrator, from the directory that UploaderWiz was extracted into, run the following command (replace the x's with your own information): KB004997
    • UploaderWiz -accesskey "xxxxxxxx" -secretkey "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" -type azureblobs -rootpath "xxxxxxxx" -homedrive true


  • If there are problems with the upload, and you need troubleshooting help, refer to KB005473.
  • If you are performing these steps from a domain-joined computer, a network drive needs to be mapped from the domain-joined computer to the file server, and the root path needs to match this drive letter, followed by the directory path, e.g., "x:\home files" (if there are spaces in the path, you need to surround the path with quotation marks) or x:\fileshare.
  • the parameter -homedrive true creates separate blob containers for each file share, under your top-level Azure blob container.

MSPComplete Steps (

  1. Create the customer. KB005421
  2. Create the Source and Destination endpoints.

    • For the Source endpoint:
      • Click on EndPoints > Add Endpoint > Enter endpoint name > For endpoint type, select Azure File System.
      • Enter Storage Account Name and Access Key in fields provided.
    • For the Destination endpoint:
      • Click on EndPoints > Add Endpoint > Enter endpoint name > For endpoint type, select SharePoint.
      • Enter the URL for the top-level SharePoint document library,
      • Enter the administrator username and password in the fields. Note: This must be either a Global administrator, SharePoint Online administrator, or a Site Collection administrator account.
  3. Launch Document migration (select All Products/Document Migration).

MigrationWiz Steps

  1. Set up the Project. Create project > Create a document project > Name the project > Select MSPComplete customer >Select Source endpoint > Select Destination endpoint.  Note: This first project is the baseline project, from which all other projects will be cloned. We recommend that you call this "baseline", for easy  reference.
  2. Set the Project Advanced Options.  KB004834
    • Add ShrinkFoldersMaxLength=200 under Support/Support options. KB005007
    • Add FolderLimit=20000 under Support/Support options.  This increases the maximum number of folders for the migration to 20,000. Large companies might have more than 10,000 folders (the default) to migrate, so we recommend increasing the folder limit to 20,000.  KB005557
    • Add RenameConflictingFiles=1 under Support/Support optionsKB005058  Refer to the section in this article with the heading "Multiple files with the same name limitation".
    • Add InitializationTimeout=28800000 under Support/Support optionsKB005242
    • Note: There are no spaces on either side of the "=" sign, and the entries are case-sensitive, so pay special attention to the capital letters in the commands above.
    • Set the Preferred BitTitan Data Center. For the fastest migration speeds, select the Data Center that is closest to your Office 365 Destination tenant.  KB004268
  3. Clone the Project. Click on the Edit Project button > Select Clone Project from the drop-down list > Enter the name for the new Project (each new project should be named after the file share name) >Click on the Clone Project button.  Important: Repeat this process to create one MigrationWiz project per file share.  KB005487
  4. In each cloned MigrationWiz project, add an item for the file share to be migrated. Select Add/Quick Add and enter the Destination SharePoint document library name. 
    • Notes:
      • The Source entry field will already contain the Azure information, based on the Source endpoint.
      • The Destination Library field will be the name of the SharePoint document library, e.g., Sales. It does not need the entire URL because this was captured when setting up the Destination endpoint.
  5. In each cloned MigrationWiz project, set the Project Advanced Option for the container name. KB004834
    • Specify the correct container name under the Source: File System/Container Name field. By default, the container name is migrationwiz. This must be changed or your migration will fail. This must be set to match the name of the Azure container that was created on your Azure subscription when the home directories were uploaded in the previous step, under the Prepare Source File Server Environment section. Typically, this will match the name of the home directory, unless the home directory contained any special characters (including spaces and uppercase characters). In such cases, the Azure container name could be different, and so the names should be checked within Azure. KB005484
  6. Run Verify Credentials. KB004511
  7. Perform a Full Migration pass.  Checkmark the box next to the Root Path > Select the Start button from the drop-down list > Select Full Migration > Click on the Start Migration buttonKB004938

Post-Migration Steps

  1. Remove access to the Source file shares.
  2. Provide training on SharePoint Online.
  3. Decommission the file server. Perform this step only after migrating all data from the file server, such as home directories, when you are certain that you will not be returning to the file server.
  4. Delete all the Azure blob containers that were created during the upload to Azure.
    • Important:
      • This will prevent incurring post-migration Azure costs for these containers.
      • Be careful to only delete the containers created by UploaderWiz; these will be names that match the file shares, and have a create date from the date of the upload.