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Various organizations widely use Microsoft SharePoint for content management and collaboration. It offers multiple features that allow you to manage your content effectively and share it internally or externally. With every new version and release, it has improved in terms of features, functions, and performance. However, when a new version of SharePoint is released, organizations often like to migrate their data from the old versions. Migration between versions is not a piece of cake and requires you to prepare a SharePoint Online migration checklist to ensure a smooth and error-free migration.

SharePoint Migration Planning

Migration from one SharePoint to another can be a daunting task at first, even for technically adept SharePoint administrators. But, if you do proper planning, it could be done easily. So, before you start the migration process, make sure you consider every aspect of the migration. To simplify the migration process, we have mentioned a SharePoint migration checklist that can eliminate all your migration uncertainties. Also, we have recommended a professional SharePoint migration tool that can simplify the migrations & pre-migration tasks considerably. Let’s have a quick look at the SharePoint Online migration checklist.

You need proper planning and a SharePoint migration checklist to migrate your data to avoid mistakes. The first thing you need to do to is creating a clear picture of what your new environment would look like. A clear idea of what you would like in the new environment is always beneficial. It would help if you avoided all unwanted things there. A detailed inventory of all assets and customizations helps make a better decision. Measure the size of databases and identify all the content components in the inventory. A detailed inventory of your environment includes the details of the following elements:

  • Site Collections
  • Web applications
  • Content databases
  • Custom solutions
  • Lists and Libraries
  • Retention policies
  • Sites
  • Users and Groups
Clean Up the Old Environment

Before upgrading to a new SharePoint environment, clean up the old environment to remove all the unnecessary data, web parts, etc. Well, cleaning the old environment might take some time, but it will allow you to upgrade your environment without any orphaned sites/data and re-organize useful things. Points to ensure while cleaning the old environment include:

  • Remove empty/unused SharePoint groups
  • Delete unused content types, site columns, and workflows
  • Look for a site that hasn’t been modified for a long time
  • Remove the items that contain too many custom permissions
  • Reorganize list and libraries with columns
Test the Entire Process

Once you’re done cleaning up your old environment, verify all the components to make sure that everything is well organized. You can also consider running the migration on a small fraction of content to check the transfer rate. It will help you estimate the overall time required for the migration. It will also help you understand the potential issues during the migration.

Prepare the New Environment

Preparing your destination environment for migration is vitally important. You’ll have to make sure that the end users have a positive experience moving to the new environment.

Also, you need to assess the benefits of moving to the new environment and consider overcoming the existing environment’s shortcomings by adopting the new one. The new versions of SharePoint are more stable, feature-rich, and desirable. But one should ensure that your organizational goals are met by the migration and the investments are justified.

Preparing the destination environment includes the following steps:

  • Preparing the destination server
  • Optimizing the new SharePoint Server’s performance
  • Configuring all the web applications
  • Creating a backup for everything
  • Checking for corrupt databases
  • Rebuilding and deploying new customizations
  • Remove inactive/unwanted users
  • Manage very large/small sites
  • Remove duplicate data
Communicate with End-Users

You’re almost ready to start the migration, but one essential step before upgrading your SharePoint environment is communicating with your end users. It is considered one of the most challenging tasks of migration. So, make sure you inform your end-user about the following things:

  • Downtime possible during the migration
  • Reasons for the change
  • Possible changes in the environment
  • Estimated time for the migration

If required additional training can be imparted to end users.

Start the Migration

Now, you’re all set to perform the migration. But, even after proper planning & ticking off the SharePoint migration checklist, the process is not easy. Migration is one of the most complicated tasks an administrator must perform. It usually depends on which SharePoint version you want to perform the migration. For example:

If you will migrate from SharePoint 2010 or upper versions, perform a “database attach” upgrade to migrate everything as it is. But this method doesn’t support migration to a distant version of SharePoint. Also, migration may be complex even for experienced SharePoint administrators. So, try a SharePoint Migration to migrate any SharePoint version to another one.

Using third-party tools like Kernel Migrator for SharePoint is strongly recommended if you want to migrate from earlier SharePoint 2010, 2013, and 2016 versions. Using third-party tools allows administrators to gain control over their migration with minimal effort.

Post Migration Process

Once the migration is done successfully, make sure that your destination environment is working correctly, and the data integrity is maintained. Also, make sure that users can easily access the new environment. Make these checkpoints during the post-migration:

  • Ensure all data is migrated successfully
  • Create a backup for the new environment
  • Deploy a custom solution to redirect users to the new environment
  • Remove the access to the old environment

We hope you find this migration guide helpful. However, if you’re finding it difficult to perform migration with the manual methods, then use an automated solution like SharePoint Migrator as we have suggested earlier in this article.


Moving to a new environment is always exciting as you get access to all the new features and a new user interface. However, migrating from one SharePoint Server version to another is not simple. To achieve a smooth migration, follow the above checkpoints and use the Kernel Migrator tool. Using it, you can perform file server to SharePoint, and if you are looking for file server to OneDrive for Business migration then also SharePoint Migrator is the way to go.

Kernel Migration for SharePoint