migrating users from one machine to another machine

Olivier Nicole Olivier.Nicole at cs.ait.ac.th
Thu Oct 1 23:45:17 UTC 2009


> What is the best way of migrating users from one machine (FreeBSD
> 6.3) to a new machine (FreeBSD 7.2)?

> I need to migrate their user account settings (shell, password,
> expiry etc) and also their data that they have in their directories.


- you need to vipw on both machine and copy the user accounts from the
  old machine to the new machine, that is fast;

- you need to copy the home directories of your users from one machine
  to the other, that can take long time if you have a lot of users
  with a lot of data.

To be sure that there is no change being made by the users while you
are copying the data/accounts, you must disable any login during the
copy process.

You can practice copying the accounts while the machines are online
(login enabled); but be certain to do a final copy with the machine
offline (login disabled).

If copying data would take too long time and you cannot afford to put
the system offline for such a long period, you could install rsync on
both machines.

- keep machines online and rsync the users data from the old machine
  to the new one.

- repeat rsyncing indefinitely, this will continue copying file that
  has changed.

- put the machine offline and do a last rsync: that one should not
  take too long as it will only copy what has changed since the very
  last run of rsync.

Another way regarding the users' data, if they reside on a separate
hard disk, you can simply physically mount that hard disk in the new

Best regards,


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