How to setup DFS on Windows 2012

In this example I am setting up a very basic DFS infrastructure for a company with one head office and one branch office. The DFS server in head office is called Training-DC1, the DFS server in the branch office is called Training-DC2. We want to create a folder that is available and replicated to both sites.


  • DFS is not going to play nice is there are communication and/or Active Directory issues. Please check that all is well – I recommend running ping tests and “dcdiag” on all servers to check for issues.
  • Install DFS Role on all servers that will be holding DFS shares. This is done from server manager


Setup Namespace

Microsoft’s definition of a DFS Namespaces – “Enables you to group shared folders that are located on different servers into one or more logically structured namespaces. Each namespace appears to users as a single shared folder with a series of subfolders. However, the underlying structure of the namespace can consist of numerous file shares that are located on different servers and in multiple sites.”

On your main DFS server (e.g. the one in head office) open the DFS Tool from server manager and create a new namespace

Select the local server


Click on edit settings and enter the below. For the local path I recommend creating a folder referencing the server name (in this instance DFS-DC1). I have seen DFS replication problems caused by different servers having the same folder name.

Click next and finish.


Add Other Servers to Namespace

In the DFS management tool click on add namespace server

Select your second DFS server (in this example the branch office server).

Click on edit settings and set folder access as appropriate. Again I recommend choosing a unique name for the folder (DFS-DC2 in this example).


Create Replication Group

In DFS management console right click on “replication” and select “new replication group”

Select a multipurpose replication group and click next.

Add your servers

Select your chosen topology

Choose schedule and primary member. Then chose the folder to replicate on the primary server (DFS-DC1).

Chose the location of the folder to replicate on the other server (in this example DFS-DC2).



You have now setup a replicated folder accessible from both sites/offices via a non-server specific address (in this example \\training.local\DFS)

In the event of any problems check Windows firewall and server manager for event errors.


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