U-Move backs up, restores, and migrates Active Directory environments

Move It!

Well-Managed Migration

U-Move supports migrations to newer versions of the Windows Server operating system. As part of the test, I wanted to migrate a domain from Windows Server 2016 to 2019. The wizard on the Upgrade tab, although not fully automated – unlike the previous procedures – proves to be just as useful. The tool guides you through the necessary steps, removing the need for all that test overhead that you would otherwise have to go through manually as part of the migration. It checked up front that the new server and domain met all the requirements and then took care of replication tests and Flexible Single Master Operation (FSMO) role relocation (Figure 3), and it helped decommission the old DC.

Figure 3: U-Move takes care of FSMO role relocation.

To convince myself that this operation worked, I first added an instance of a Windows Server 2019 member server to my DC that was running Windows Server 2016. After launching the upgrade wizard, it prompts you to create a new project, which means U-Move can pause a migration and continue it at a later time. In the next step, U-Move connects to the old DC (in this case, the local server) and to the designated target server. On the target, it installs the U-Move remote agent and checks both servers and the AD for suitability for the upgrade, presenting a detailed report after doing so.

In the following dialog step, however, you have to get involved: U-Move explains the steps for manually installing the AD services on the target server and then upgrading it to the DC in the domain. After the obligatory reboot, U-Move takes over again, checking the new DC, as well as the replication between the two, and then recommends that you create a backup of both DCs. This was followed by a check of DNS replication and NTP settings, as well as moving the FSMO roles  – a significant reduction in workload compared with doing all these steps manually. Last but not least, U-Move walks you through the optional postmigration steps and helps you remove the old DC on Windows Server 2016.


U-Move for Active Directory backs up and restores individual DCs and Active Directory environments faster and more easily than would be possible with the on-board tools that come with Windows Server. (See "The Verdict" box.) With the wizards and the extensive and comprehensible online help, the tool offers massive relief for migration projects or for setting up a test environment identical to your production AD.

The Verdict


  Backup speed and size: 8

  Simple restore: 7

  Clone: 8

  Migration support: 7

  Online help: 8


  Perfect as a supplement or alternative to Windows Server Backup.

  Restrictions apply for companies running additional services not supported by U-Move on DCs.

  Not useful for companies without Active Directory.

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