I recently had the task of migrating a NetWare 4.11 server to NetWare 6.5 along with GroupWise 5.5 to GroupWise 6.5 upgrade (the GroupWise portion was the easy part).

The setup was as follows:

Single server running NW 4.11, with one partition (root). Also running GroupWise MTA, POA and GWIA. – That alone was the scariest part.

50+ Users

The site had a new server and had installed NetWare 6.5 on it and placed it in it’s own tree. I decided not to do a tree to tree migration as GroupWise does not fair well in that scenario.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to encounter one of these ancient monoliths. If you do, here’s a sure fire method of bringing them into the 21st century.


The first thing, as always, is to ensure that the existing NDS is healthy and that you have a good full backup of both the data and NDS.

The new NetWare 6.5 server had already been build and was in it’s own tree. Instead of re-doing the installation, I opted to simply place the server into the existing NetWare 4.11 tree. Aside from some schema differences, it should incorporate nicely.

The first thing that needs to be done is preparing the NetWare 4.11 server’s NDS schema. You do this by running DSRepair, choosing Advanced | Global Schema Operations and selecting Post NetWare 5 Schema Update. (You will have to login as admin or equivalent to perform this action).

Click to view.

Once this is complete, run a full unattended repair and check for errors. If there are no errors, exit DSRepair.

Now the existing tree is ready to accept a new NetWare 6.5 server.

Switch to the existing NetWare 6.5 server and configure IPX. “IPX?”, you say? Yes. NetWare 4.11 is an IPX based system. Remember that “Pure IP” wasn’t introduced until NetWare 5 and limited at that point also. I had a gotcha on achieving the IPX configuration on the NetWare 6.5 server, that I had to look back 10 years before it hit me. “Why wasn’t IPX binding to the NIC?” After NetWare 5.1, unless you loaded IPX/SPX upon installation, the IPX NET NUMBER or SERVERID does NOT get added to the AUTOEXEC.NCF. You must manually add SERVERID 12345678 (or similar) to the AUTOEXEC.NCF. At that point IPX will bind to the NIC and it will be happy, although a bit chatty. Once this is done, then we can communicate with NDS on the NetWare 4.11 server.

Go to the NetWare 4.11 server console and type DISPLAY SERVERS You should see the NetWare 6.5 server in the list. If not, type RESET ROUTER on the NetWare 4.11 server and wait 60 seconds for the SAP table to update and try again.

Place Server into Existing Tree

Load NWCONFIG on the NetWare 6.5 server and select Directory Options

Click to view.

Select Install Directory Services

Click to view.

I’m not going to go into detail on installing Directory Services. The process is really straightforward and doesn’t need an in-depth explanation.

When complete, type the following on both consoles to ensure good synchronization.


Watch for All Processed = YES

Now that we have the NetWare 6.5 server in the tree, let’s make it the Master of the Root partition.

Run DSRepair -A on the NetWare 6.5 server, and choose Advanced Options | Replica and Partition Operations

Click to view.

Select the Root partition and Designate this Server as the New Master Replica

Click to view.

This is the easiest way to perform the Master designation. If the server has a R/W to the partition, then this method simply flips the Type bit and re-assigns the current Master to R/W. Using NDS Manager removes the R/W and then adds a Master, which is more time consuming.

Watch your trace screens for a current Sync and then exit DSRepair.

Set up timesync so that the NetWare 4.11 looks to the NetWare 6.5 server for time.

If you use an external source then disregard the above line.

Migrate User Data

User data is best migrated using the Server Consolidation / Migration Utility (SCMU). It assigns Trustees along with copying the specified data from the NetWare 4.11 server to the NetWare 6.5 server.

Depending on the amount of data to be transferred, this process may take several hours. I left this part for the end of the day and allowed it to run during the night. Then to arrive the next morning with the process complete.

Upgrade GroupWise

I upgraded GroupWise from 5.5 to 6.5 on the NetWare 4.11 server because GroupWise 5.5 causes NetWare 6.5 servers to abend repeatedly. GroupWise 6.5 runs just fine on either NetWare 4.11 or NetWare 6.5.

Make sure you have a good backup of your GroupWise data and that the domain is healthy. Run the install from a workstation and designate the NetWare 4.11 server as the location of the Primary Domain and Post Office, perform the GroupWise 6.5 upgrade and then load the MTA and POA on the NetWare 4.11 server. Choose the NetWare 6.5 server as the location for the Software Directory.

Move Domain and Post Office to New Server

Copy GroupWise directories needing to be moved to the new server, Domain, PO, gateway or Software directory.

Run ConsoleOne and connect to the Primary domain database in its new location and make the changes, listed below to the moved agent object properties.
Modify the UNC paths for moved Primary Domain and Post office in ConsoleOne to reflect their new locations on the NetWare 6.5 server.
Change the IP address in the Properties of the MTA and POA to reflect the NetWare 6.5 server’s IP address.

Since the software directory resides on the NetWare 6.5 server at this point, go to Tools | System Operations | Software Directory Management and add the Software Directory location for the NetWare 6.5 server.

Rebuild moved post office databases to update the post office database with the above changes. Connect to the Primary Domain, highlight the post office, right click, GroupWise utilities | system maintenance | rebuild database. Install the GroupWise agents to the NetWare 6.5 server. Run an agent install from the /Agents directory under your Software Distribution Directory. Delete and re-install to the NetWare 6.5 server any gateways that were running on the NetWare 4.11 server.

Test the connectivity and send a test message to another user in the post office.

Clean Up

Change login scripts to reflect the NetWare 6.5 server and any volume path changes you made during the SCMU copy.

Ensure any DNS changes with MX records are made as well as reverse lookup addresses. Outside SMTP gateways will reject your outbound mail if the address cannot be found in IN-Arpa.

If you have Preferred Server set on your clients, then you will need to change them to reflect the NetWare 6.5 server or simply remove them altogether.

If your clients are running Client 32 versions less than 4.9, then you will need to upgrade them as well. I left the NetWare 4.11 server present and in the tree to add redundancy for eDirectory and the client plans to decommission it at a later date, after they obtain a secondary NetWare 6.5 server for safety.


You might never have a need for this procedure, I wrote it down because I couldn’t find anything that was more than vague and general documentation on NetWare. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t migrate this system to Open Enterprise Server 2 Linux?

The client has no one employed to support Linux.


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Disclaimer: As with everything else at NetIQ Cool Solutions, this content is definitely not supported by NetIQ, so Customer Support will not be able to help you if it has any adverse effect on your environment.  It just worked for at least one person, and perhaps it will be useful for you too.  Be sure to test in a non-production environment.

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By: mfaris01
Aug 22, 2008
11:05 am
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