By Ivy / Last Updated July 14, 2020

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.

Synchronize Files between Windows Servers

Surely, you can sync files between two or more Windows Servers. For Server users, you could use the built-in role services DFS replication. It’s free but complicated. But if you want an easier way, you could consider using a reliable file sync software.

Why do you synchronize files between Windows Servers?

  • 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 team member 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, 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 Server 2012/2012 R2/2016/2019 and its previous operating system. Here are two methods for you. Click the anchor text and jump to your preference.

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

AOMEI Backupper Server is a trust and reliable file sync software for Server 2008/2012/2016/2019 and its R2 version. Thanks to its intuitive interface, most users can do folder sync between two servers without any obstacle. And it supports syncing all kinds of file system, including NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.

Want to automatically sync folders between Windows Servers? This software can do for you with its schedule settings or real-time sync feature. In schedule settings, you can enjoy event triggers, daily/weekly/monthly and USB plug in. In addition, its highlight feature real-time sync can monitor changes in file or folder, and synchronize the new added, modified or deleted files from source to target path when detected.

Specific steps to sync files between Windows servers

Step 1. Create a shared folder and set up permission for the servers you want to share files with.

Step 2. Download AOMEI Backupper Server, install and launch it. Then, click Backup and File Sync subsequently.

Free Trial

File Sync

Step 3. Click + Add Folder to select files or foldesr you want to sync, then click the folder shapped button > Share/NAS > Add Network Location and select the 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 5. To automatically sync your files, click Schedule and select one or more settings. After that, click "Start Sync".

  • Daily/weekly/monthly: To sync 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 between system shutdown, user logoff, system startup and user logon.

  • USB plug in: To sync files more flexible, you can prepare a USB drive and create a schedule backup with "USB plug in" feature, then this software will sync files from or to the flash drive when connected to your computer.

  • Real-time sync: With the help of this feature, you will never miss any detected changes. Because it will sync the changed files immediately.

Schedule Sync Files

Method 2: Synchronize files between Windows Server 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. And the latter version has a continuous improvement.

With DFS Replication, you can efficiently do folder replication in Windows Server 2008/2012/2016 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.

This method is divided into 2 parts, including Installing DFS replication and perform folder replication in Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019 and its R2 version. Because the DFS replication is not installed by default. Then, ensure you have a Active Directory Domain and all your files are NTFS file system (DFS replication does not sync files with FAT32, exFAT, etc). If not, this method will not work for you. In this case, you can go back to third-party file sync software.

Install DFS replication for sync

Step 1. Go to Server Manager, click Role on the left panel and tag on Add Roles on the right panel.

Add Roles

Step 2. Click Server Roles and tick the checkbox before File Services, then tap on Next.

Choose File Services

Step 3. Click Role Services and tick the checkbox before DFS Replication, then tag on Next.

Choose DFS Replication

Step 4. Confirm you want to install the roles, role services, or features, then click Install.

Install DFS Replication

Step 5. Wait for the installation process, then click Close after you see the results with Installation succeeded marked.

Installation Succeed

Configure DFS Replication and perform the first file replication

Step 1. 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 as below.

Replication Group Type

Step 3. Set a name and domain for your replication group, then click Next.

Name and Domain

Step 4. 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 in the Topology Selection. This feature make the shared files or folders stay to sync among all of the servers regardless of where the files are updated. You will be noted to use Hub and spoke.

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 to use full bandwidth if you want to keep the files in sync all the time.

Step 7. To avoid file conflict in the first synchronization, you need to choose a Primary member. After the first synchronization, all the files will be synchronized nearly instantaneously, because the Full mesh topology treats all servers as equals.

Step 8. 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. Now, you will see all servers you selected before. 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. Review whatever you have selected, confirm all the settings and click Create. Wait for the final result.

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. They can help you realize your purpose. However, to be honest, syncing files with AOMEI Backupper Server is much easier. All the steps could be finished in a few clicks.

Meanwhile, AOMEI Backupper Server is a backup and restore software, which could help you create file backup, differential backup, backup incremental to network share, etc. In addition, if you want to protected unlimited servers within your company AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus will be a better choice.