Setting Up Windows DFS on Server 2012 R2

Let’s walk through setting up Windows DFS on Server 2012 R2. If reading is not your thing, there is a video tutorial down below that goes through these same steps. The following steps assume that you already have both of your servers set up. You’ll just be setting up roles and replication.

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Let’s start with your first server:

  1. Open Site Manager, Manage>Add Roles and Features. This will open the add roles and features wizard, click next to start set up.
  2. Select role-based or feature based installation
    role or feature based Setting Up DFS on Windows Server
  3. Select server, in our example that will be SITE1.destination server
  4. The next section will be Server Roles under file and storage services. Check DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication both on this (your main) server. When you go to check Namespaces it there will be a pop up that asks you if you would like to add features. Click Add Features.server roles - Setting Up DFS on Windows Server
  5. Hit next twice to confirm features. Then install.

Now you’re ready to go over and set up site two, go through all the same steps for site one except for in step four in Server Roles. You will only need to select DFS Replication, do select to Add Features. You do not need to select DFS namespaces.

Setting up Namespaces and Replication

Next steps in setting up DFS on Windows Server will be to set up your namespaces and replication. First you’ll set up Namespaces. Namespaces are how you are going to call your shared file area you are replicating.

Go to DFS Management. Once DFS Management is up, right click on Namespaces in the left panel and click New Namespace.


Enter the name of the server (in our example that’s site1). Click next, then give your namespace a name (our example will use LMFAO). You’ll be given the option to select a Domain-based or Stand-alone namespace. For our example we’ll do a domain-based namespace (which is much easier, so I heartily recommend it).

namespace type

Lastly you will be shown a summary; click create to finish making your new namespace.

Setting up Replication

  1. Back at your home window in DFS Management you’ll now right click on new replication replication group
  2. Select the Multipurpose replication group option.replication group type
  3. You’ll name your replication group in the next window (our example will use the name REPO). After that, you will add both of your servers.replication group members
  4. Once added, the next window select Full mesh. This will ensure that anything on the first server will be on the other server and vice versa.
  5. Next, you’ll set the bandwidth. Here you’ll need to consider your network traffic and set it accordingly. replication schedule and bandwidth
  6. Select primary server and then add a local path of a folder to replicate. Be sure to select Permissions > Custom Permissions to add groups or users and give permissions as appropriate.custom permissions
  7. Once you have made all those changes and hit next, you’ll double click on the servers listed to enable them for replicating. Click enable and specify the path you want to synchronize with.enable replication dfs on windows server

That’s it, the next window will provide you with a summary of your selections. If all looks good to you, click create.


In your DFS Management Console, double click on your replication folder and go to the Replicated Folder tab. You’ll notice that the publication status is Not Published. Right click on that and select Share and Publish in Namespace.

publish REPO

Click next until you get to the Namespace path. Browse to the parent folder and name the folder. A preview of the namespace path is listed.

namespace path

Again, after clicking next you’ll see a summary and can click Share. That’s it! Congrats, you’ve successfully finished setting up DFS on Windows Server 2012 R2.



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