By Ivy / Last Updated February 2, 2021

User case

I have multiple server-based computers, but they are in different places. I need to use files on other computers frequently. Is it possible to synchronize files between Windows Servers for share? Any suggestion and comment are welcome.

- Question from Microsoft.com

Synchronize Files between Windows Servers

Surely, you can perform file sync among Windows servers. For Server users, you could use the built-in role services DFS replication. It’s free but complicated. Fortunately, you can turn to file sync software AOMEI Backupper Server to sync folders easily and quickly. And I'll introduce both methods later.

Why do you synchronize files between Windows Servers?

Before you start to sync folders between Windows Server 2012(R2)/2016/2019 or all the previous versions, let's get the three main reasons.

  • Easy access to team files. This is the most comon situations. If you have a work team or cooperate with a team, you need to see the files or folders of your team. Therefore, all the team members can get required information and work better.

  • Track the latest changes. In a team, all members may modify, delete, or add files, so it's necessary to keep up with the changes. Because it can reduce unnecessary trouble and make your work smoother.

  • Other reasons. Data loss prevention(i,e, customer's info), file transfer, centralized file management can still be a reason why you need to synchronize files between two Windows Servers or more.

Then, without further ado, let's start to sync folders between Windows Servers. Here are two methods for you. You can read them first and then choose one according to your needs.

Method 1: Synchronize files between Windows Servers via AOMEI Backupper Server

AOMEI Backupper Server is a trust and reliable file sync software for Server 2003/2008(R2)/2012(R2)/2016/2019 and Windows 7/8/8.1/10/XP/Vista. It supports 4 sync modes to meet different needs, including "Basic Sync", "Real-Time Sync", "Mirror Sync" and "Two-Way Sync". Thanks to its intuitive interface, most users can do folder sync between two servers without any obstacle.

You can sync folders between computers from various storage device, for example, the external hard drive, the USB flash drive, the cloud storage, the network share or NAS Devices. Even more, you can use it to sync data between 2 Windows Servers automatically with daily/weekly/monthly schedule sync options. Then, you don't need to worry about forgetting to sync someday. Also, Event triggers and USB plug in features are supported.

In addition, its advanced version AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus will be a great choice for IT technicians or small and medium-sized companies. It is capable of protecting unlimited servers within one company. Also, it provides billable technical support as a service to unlimited clients and allows you to copy installation directory to create portable version. No matter what version you use, it's all your decision.

Example: sync folders between Windows server 2012

Here you will learn how to sync folders between Windows Server 2012 with professional file sync software - AOMEI Backupper. The detailed steps are applicable to Windows Server 2016/2019 synchronize folders and other systems.

Step 1. Create a shared folder

To sync folder between Windows Server 2012, you need to use a shared folder as middle-man and set access permission for other servers, so you can share files with them.

Set Permission to Local Users

Step 2. Start Windows Server 2012 folder sync with the professional file sync software - AOMEI Backupper Server

Click the download button below to install it and then launch. In the main page of this software, click Sync and Basic Sync subsequently.

Download Free Trial Server 2008/2012/2016/2019
Secure Download

File Sync

There are three different sync modes you can choose and they are designed for different purposes.
>> Real-Time Sync: This feature helps when you want to monitor the synchronized files or folders in real-time and sync changes immediately when detected.
>> Mirror Sync: This feature is to keep files in the destination directory are exactly the same as source by deleting the newly added files and undoning changes or deletions in destination.
>> Two Way Sync: This feature tracks changes in both source directory and destination, and then syncs them to the other side.

Step 3. Add files or folders and destination path for folder sync

Click + Add Folder to select files or foldesr you want to sync. Then click the folder shapped button > Share/NAS > Add Network Location and fill in the required information. After that, the network location will be listed, just select the created shared folder as destination.

Add Sync Destination

Note: You can also sync file server with OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive for easy access. These cloud drive allows you to access files or folders from any device as long as there is a network connection.

Step 4. Set cutomized sync settings

Click Options to set customized sync settings. Click Schedule to automatically sync folders between Windows Server 2012. Then, confirm everything is OK and click Start Sync to move on.

  • Daily/weekly/monthly: Syncing files regularly always give users the latest file versioning and avoid data loss owing to forgeting to synchronize.

  • Event triggers: To sync files at a specific event, you can enable event triggers and then choose one among system shutdown, user logoff, system startup, user logon.

  • USB plug in: Want to sync files to USB drive and take it everywhere, you could use "USB plug in" feature to automatic sync files. Once it's detected, this software will sync files from or to the flash drive.

Schedule Sync Files

Notes ✎...
• Don't modify the source folder name, otherwise the sync task will fail.
• You are allowed to manage all the sync tasks in Home tab.
• To access data in the shared folder, type IP address of the computer in the search box and press Enter, then double-click the share folder to see your data.

Method 2: Synchronize files between Windows Servers using DFS Replication

Windows Server DFS replication is one of the role services in the File and Storage Services role. This technology was first introduced in Windows Server 2003 R2 and is retained in later versions, including Windows Server 2008/2008 R2/2012/2016/2019. And the latter version has a continuous improvement.

With DFS Replication, you can efficiently do folder replication in Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019 and its R2 version. It uses a compression algorithm known as remote differential compression (RDC) to detect changes to the data in a file, then enables DFS Replication to replicate only the changed file blocks rather than the entire file. And it can resolve the administrative issue that XCopy and Robocopy cannot.

DFS replication is not installed by default, here you will start to install DFS replication and then perform folder replication in Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019 and its R2 version effortlessly.

Please note that you need an Active Directory Domain if you want to use DFS Replication feature. And it only sync files stored in partition with NTFS file system (DFS replication does not sync files located in partition formatted with FAT32, exFAT, etc). If not, this method will not work for you. In this case, you can go back to the first method.

Part 1: Install DFS replication for sync

Step 1. Go to Add Roles

You can select this feature through Server Manager > click Role on the left panel > tag on Add Roles on the right panel.

Add Roles

Step 2. Install File Services role

Then, you will enter the Before You Begin page, click Next. After that, tick File Services role in the Service Roles page and click Next.

Choose File Services

Step 3. Install DFS Replication role service

Choose DFS Replication

Step 4. Confirm this installation

Click Install to ensure you want to install the selected roles, role services, or features.

Install DFS Replication

Step 5. Complete the installation

Wait for a while, the installation process will be completed with words "Installation succeeded" displayed, and then click Close to close this page.

Installation Succeed

Part 2: Configure DFS Replication and perform the first file replication

Step 1. Start new replication

Click Start -> Administrative Tools -> DFS Management subsequently, then Right click Replication and choose New Replication Group in the DFS Management console.

Replication and New Replication Group

Step 2. Choose Replication Group Type

Replication Group Type

Step 3. Set name and domain for replication group

Name and Domain

Step 4. Add server computer you want to share files with

Click Add and look up the servers in Active Directory, then select the servers you want to share files or folders and click Next.

Step 5. Select Full Mesh Topology

This feature make the shared files or folders stay to sync among all of the servers regardless of where the files are updated.

Notes ✎...
• You need at least three servers to execute this operation.
• You will be noted to use Hub and spoke. However, there is no need to use it in most cases, so you can use it or not according to your situation.

Step 6. Choose full bandwidth

This feature can keep the files in sync all the time.

Step 7. Set a primary member

Primary member is very useful during the first synchronization, it will first sync files in the Primary member if there are any conflicts, but only once. And then, all the files will be synchronized nearly instantaneously, because the Full mesh topology treats all servers as equals.

Step 8. Select files or folders you want to sync

Click Add and you will enter a new window, then select the folders you want to replicate and click Next. You can use the default existing permissions because it works in most cases. However, you still can set custom permissions.

Step 9. Choose local folder store files or folders

Now, you will see all the selected servers and you will be noted that the local path is not set and it's disabled. Then click Edit and select enabled as well as choose the local folder on the remote server.

Step 10. Start the first replication

Review whatever you have selected, confirm all the settings and click Create to start the first initial replication. It may take 15 minutes or longer.

Note: If you use Server 2012 R2/2016/2019, you still can share a folder between two servers with work folders multiple sync share.

Conclusion

To synchronize files between Windows Servers, you could use both DFS replication and AOMEI Backupper Server. In addition, some users want to use command line, such as, XCopy or Robocopy, but you will encounter administrative nightmare if you set multiple synchronization directions. Thus, you'd better use previous two options.

By comparison, you may find that syncing files with file sync software - AOMEI Backupper Server is much easier. The interface is intuitive, and the entire process only takes a few clicks. And it has more useful features, such as, daily/weekly/monthly schedule sync, event triggers, USB plug in, compression etc.

Meanwhile, AOMEI Backupper Server is a backup and restore software, which could help you create system backup, disk backup, partition backup, file backup, differential backup, backup incremental to network share, backup restore to different computer etc.