Our server that runs ArcGIS Server had major issues this morning, sending us into a panic to get it installed on a new server (as was in our plans in the coming weeks). Now that we are ready to move all our services/applications over I've come to realize I have no idea where to begin. Is there any method to copy the data over to the new server and still be able to use ArcGIS Server without having to re-create all our applications? I copied the services and applications, but, not to my surprise, it didn't work. I tried IIS Web Deploy, but run into issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • How is your current ArcGIS Server setup? Do you have a fail safe on your new system? (ie a redundant server)
    – Mapperz
    Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 2:44

5 Answers 5


Here's how we ended up doing it. It was a several day process, and as ujjwalesri suggested, a fail-over as a standard configuration is the way to go. However, we weren't lucky enough to have a fail-over. For the most part this worked, but we encountered a couple issues.

After installation of ArcGIS Server and post install, etc. we copied over the files from the server/user/cfg folder. Paste these into the same location on the new server. (This assumes that the new server is accessing the mxd/msd through a network and that those documents are not local to the server.)

Next, copy the applications from the inetpub/wwwroot folder. Again, paste these into the inetpub/wwwroot folder on the new server.

Edit the Sites XML document found in the inetpub/wwwroot/ArcGIS/Manager/App Data (ArcGIS may be replaced by your named instance.) The Host tag will be edited within the sites XML document.

IIS 7 was used on the new server, whereas IIS 6 was used on the old server. This was an issue only in the sense that I haven't used IIS 7, and it is very different. Find the applications that were just pasted into the wwwroot folder in the IIS 7 manager, under default website, and right-click and select Convert to Application.

Next, change all references to the old server in the code found in the inetpub/wwwroot/[application name]. I found the server references in numerous files throughout the folders. By editing each service in the ArcGIS Server Manager, and selecting the correct output directories, etc., the CFG files were updated appropriately.

Eventually esri sent us these instructions...a little late:

Server Configuration Files


HowTo: Move a ArcGIS Server .NET Web application to a new Web server machine

I hope this helps someone. It can be done, it's just a major pain trying to find all the references to server names.


You can try using backup software like Norton Ghost. Using this you can create an "image" of your server and create an exact replica on another server. However, you need to consider certain things in mind:

  • If the source server has some software issues, because of which you're creating another instance, the issues will also port to the new machine!
  • If the server size is very large, this method can take painfully long time and disk space. Be judicious here.

Ideally, you should create a fail-over as a standard configuration to avoid such issues.



We recently experienced a similar problem, the boot disk on the machine hosting ArcGIS Server 10 was failing and we needed to move the server in a hurry. I'm working in an academic lab, which has nowhere near the manpower, cash, or foresight for a failover server...

Our setup was a bit different than described here, we didn't have any custom web apps in IIS, but were using an MSSQL database with ArcSDE.

Copying and pasting the server/user/cfg files from the old server to the new worked like a charm for me. I decided to go a step further than just moving our .mxd map files, which had been scattered all over on the original server by different developers: I consolidated all the files in one directory on the new server and modified the directory paths in the .cfg files to point there. Installing ArcGIS Server, copying over the modified .cfgs, and restarting the Server Object Manager service was all that it took for ArcGIS to find the maps and start their services.

A note on moving the .mxd files themselves, you do need to stop all of the ArcGIS services using them, or you won't even be able to copy the files. Incidentally, inspecting the config files was extremely useful for locating the .mxd files in use, in case someone has added a folder connection (say, their desktop) that has hundreds of files and folders in it.

Moving our ArcSDE MSSQL database was a bit more challenging. Performing a database backup and restore didn't work for us, and I do not know why. Detaching the database on the old server, transferring the .mdf file to the new server, and reattaching, did work. Between the several tries it took to restore the database, I cannot remember if the SDE post installation wizard was able to set the database up correctly with a user account on the new system or not, but I do remember at one point manually removing permissions of the (old) sde MSSQL account on the attached database and adding permissions for the (new) sde MSSQL account on the new instance.

Another minor problem was that the old .mxd files with SDE layers were all pointing to the old server! In my case there were only a dozen layers in total and this was easy to fix manually, by opening each map file and aiming each layer at the SDE database on the new server (properties > source > set data source). I have no idea if it's possible to automate this for larger deployments. Just watch out that your SDE data isn't coming from somewhere unexpected, or you may get a surprise when the original server goes down for good.

A note on reinstalling ArcGIS server, while building the new server we experienced an issue with IIS that led to it being removed and re-added (whether this was necessary or not is another discussion... we're students, not sysadmins), and necessitated reinstalling ArcGIS server too. I experienced an issue where ArcGIS server did not uninstall cleanly, it was maintaining associations with websites in IIS that were broken and unfixable (within our understanding!). The server management app and rest services were being reinstalled in this broken site, with no option to change the destination in the installer. Deleting the old ArcGIS server folder and removing the ArcGIS application pools in IIS fixed the problem, alternatively you can investigate the silent install option which allows you to specify the site where those apps are installed.

A big tip for anyone installing ArcGIS Server: create a blank website in IIS to hold the ArcGIS apps before running the installation. Keeping ArcGIS from getting entangled in another site, even if it's just the default site, was worthwhile in my case.

All in all, the experience of moving an ArcGIS install was more pain free than I expected, most of the files can simply be moved over and 'just work' on the new system. Best of luck with your own server move, here's hoping yours is a little less insane than mine.


There is no direct copy methods; you will need to copy your data/source directories to the new machine, then connect to that machine via ArcCatalog and remount all your various services. Once you have done this; you will need to update all your apps to use the new server name compared to the old (most people setup a config file or have constants defined in pages/apps for simple update).

Without a clear picture of your whole system we can't give you step-by-step guidance; but your basic are going to be to migrate your data/msd etc to the new machine and slowly add the services back.


Try this Article out, explains what's going on:

ArcGIS Server Error After Service Pack Install or Post Install

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