Citrix ShareFile

How to migrate Citrix ShareFile Sync data to a new PC without having to re-download all your files


ShareFile Sync is a great tool to help you sync all your files down to your local PC or laptop for both online or offline use. You can choose to sync to a system drive or even a secondary drive that is dedicated for data storage in your system. But what happens if you have gigabytes or in some cases terabytes of data in ShareFile that are being synched and you get a new device? As soon as you install ShareFile Sync on your new device it will begin re-downloading all those gigabytes/terabytes of files which can take days to complete as well as use up your bandwidth unnecessarily. ShareFile Drive Mapper is an option and one I use in virtual desktop environments quite a bit but it’s not the best option for physical devices where data needs to persist and be readily available when offline. I recently came across this problem and this is how I was able to get the data to a new system without having to re-download all of it.

I would think this is a fairly common scenario in most environments. A PC is up for refresh, a hard drive has started failing, etc. that warrants an upgrade or migration.

The existing PC was:

  • C: drive with 10,000 rpm hard drive (which was starting to fail), Windows 8.1 (yeah, it’s been around for a while), ShareFile Sync installed to default path
  • E: drive with 7200 rpm hard drive and ShareFile root Sync location set to “E:\ShareFile Root”

My plan was to use the same PC since it was an i7 with 32 GB RAM and still had a lot of life left. Rip out just the system drive with the older failing OS and replace with a new one on Windows 10:

  • C: drive upgraded to Samsung EVO SSD, Windows 10 Enterprise, ShareFile Sync installed to default path

If you don’t have your system drive and data drive separated as in this scenario, what you can do is copy the data from your the old drive to the new drive and continue with my steps below and it should work just fine. I like to use Beyond Compare for big file operations like this to ensure data integrity.

So here are the steps I followed to get this working. This procedure is not currently documented anywhere so hopefully it helps you:

1. Pop out the existing failing drive and install your new one. Install Windows 10.

2. Login into your ShareFile account via web GUI and download the ShareFile Sync plugin. If you are doing this on an enterprise machine you may need to download the .msi sync clients instead if that is what you deploy internally ( or just run your package:

3. Install the ShareFile Sync plugin like you normally would:

4. Go ahead and sign into the ShareFile Sync client like you normally would:

5. You’ll notice it will try want to sync files to “C:\Users\YourUserID\ShareFile” which is the default path.

if you pause the sync and and change the ShareFile Sync root location to your existing “E:\ShareFile Root” it will say this:

“You can only sync to an empty folder, please ensure that the folder you have selected has no other files or folders before continuing.”

You will notice it will not allow you to select this folder as it already contains data. It want’s a completely empty folder to sync to. So what you need to do is just manually create a new “E:\ShareFile” empty folder that will become your new root. Don’t worry, we’ll migrate your data in a few steps from now. You will notice the SharFile Root currently in use will have the little ShareFile icon while the new folder you just created will have a regular folder icon:

6. Now point the Sync client at this new “E:\ShareFile” empty folder that will serve as your new ShareFile root folder and re-enable the sync:

You will notice it will immediately create your folder structure and begin syncing. We just needed to to create it’s sync database and the folder structure:

When you go into Personal Folders you will notice the little syncing symbol next to every folder which is a good sign. Immediately after this happens go ahead and exit the Sync tool (the 3 dots and Exit Sync, make sure the process is gone in Task Manager):

7. Now go to your old root folder “E:\ShareFile Root” and select all > Cut:

8. Go to your new root folder “E:\ShareFile” and hit Paste. This will dump the gigabytes/terabytes to this new location in just a few seconds since it’s a move operation, not a copy operation which can take hours.

9. Now re-open Sync. All those folders that previously had the little sync icon will now have a green check mark which means they are up to date:

and if you open up the Sync client your Personal Folders and Favorites should reflect the total amount of data that is shown in your ShareFile web portal:

10. If you check Task Manager you may notice the hard drive is being pretty stressed:

This is because several of the ShareFileSync.exe processes are now checking all the files that it sees:

At the same time you may notice several MsMpEng.exe processes scanning all these files, don’t worry that’s just Windows Defender. If you run any 3rd party AV, you might see those processes too:

At this point you can reboot your PC for good measure.

11. Once you get logged back in you may notice the same behavior from those processes and the drive is pretty stressed. If you try and create a new folder and try to sync, it won’t. Don’t worry, this is normal. It’s getting queued up by all the other operations going on and will sync eventually. Depending on how many gigabytes/terabytes of data you have, you will have to let the PC just do it’s thing over night. If you check Task Manager again you will notice it’s only the drive being stressed, your NIC should be at 0 Kbps receive because it’s not trying to re-download all your data from ShareFile:

12. At some point later when you check Task Manager, everything is normal and Sync will begin syncing new files up and down immediately just like it always has. You have now successfully moved to a new faster hard drive and new OS while keeping your existing local synched data intact and without having to re-download everything.

Hope this procedure helps someone out there. Let me know if it works for you or if you have any questions.

About Jason Samuel

Jason Samuel lives in Houston, TX with a primary focus on strategic advisory and architecture of end-user computing, security, enterprise mobility, virtualization, and cloud technologies from Citrix, Microsoft, & VMware. He also has an extensive background in web architecture and networking over his 20+ year career in IT. He is an Author, Speaker, and Local User Group Community Leader. He is certified in several technologies and is 1 of 63 people globally that is a recipient of the prestigious Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) award. He is 1 of 42 people in the world that has been awarded as a VMware EUC Champion and VMware vExpert. He is a featured author on DABCC which provides the latest IT Community News on Cloud, Data Center, Desktop, Mobility, Security, Storage, & Virtualization. In his spare time Jason enjoys writing how-to articles and evangelizing the technologies he works with. Disclaimer: The content and opinions expressed in articles and posts are his own and are by no means associated with his employer.

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