How to set up DFS Namespaces in Windows Server 2016

In this guide we will setup and configure DFS ( Distributed File System ) Namespaces in Windows Server 2016. DFS allows you to setup shared folders hosted 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. This setup increases availability and automatically connects users to shared folders in the same Active Directory Domain Services site.

Installing the DFS Role

login to your Windows 2016 Server, and open the Server Manager console. click on Add roles and features:

Windows 2016 Server Manager DFS

The “Add roles and feature wizard will come up:

Add roles and features DFS setup

click on Next. Choose on Role-based or feature-based installation on the next screen:

DFS installation type

click on Next. Select your server in the next screen, and click on Next again:

Select the DFS server

Expand the File and Storage services and select DFS Namespaces from the list:

File and storage services DFS Namespaces

click on Add Features when prompted to install the Management tools

Add DFS Management tools

Click on Next on the rest of the screens. then click on Install :

Confirm DFS Installation

Configuring DFS

After the DFS role has been installed, open the the DFS Management console, and right-click Namespaces and choose New Namespace..

Configure DFS

Type the name of the server that will host the namespace on the next screen:

Select the Namespace server

Click on Next. Choose a name for your namespace in the following screen. this will be the name of your domain sharing path. for example forevergeeks.com/files

choose the DFS file name

Click on Edit Settings.. to edit permissions on the share. by default everyone only has “read” permissions. click on Next. on the following screen choose the Namespace Type:

domain-based namespace

Choose the Domain-based namespace and click on Next. Review the settings and then click on Create:

review the DFS settings

Test your DFS Namespace is working by typing the network path in Explorer ( e.g forevergeeks.comfiles )

DFS network path

it works!  but nothing there yet though.

Create DFS folders

We will add folders to the DFS namespace now. from your DFS Management console, right-click the namespace we just created, and choose New Folder:

Create DFS folder

Type the name of the folder, then click on Add:

Choose DFS path

Type the path of the Shared folder you want to add to the Namespace:

DFS Shared Files

click on OK.

Let’s go to the network path again ( e.g forevergeeks.comfiles ) and you should see the folder we just added:

Nework Path DFS

Yeah!

Conclusion

DFS Namespaces is a great feature in Windows server to organize your network shares. When using DFS namespaces it does not matter where the shared folders are located, they are all accessible from a single path. it makes it easier to move file servers around too without breaking the access paths.

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about My name is Nelson Amaya and I’m the author of this website. I created the site in 2009 (under the forevergeeks.com domain) and I’ve been posting tutorials here ever since. I'm a systems / network administrator and I enjoy solving complex problems and learning as much as I can about new technologies. I write tutorials based on my work experience and other IT stuff I find interesting.