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Q: How do I migrate my email list software to a new machine?

With the recent end-of-life for Windows 2003, there have been a lot of queries to L-Soft support about how to move LISTSERV or LISTSERV Maestro to a new server. The old method of doing this for LISTSERV was simply to upgrade in-place on the old machine and copy the files over to the new machine. However, since Windows Server 2008 and 2012 R2 are both 64-bit operating systems, this requires a different migration process.

Migrating LISTSERV

LISTSERV *.LIST files are a proprietary binary format, which is OS-agnostic. This means that the files are the same format regardless of operating system, so they can be freely moved from one machine or operating system to another without any problems. The rest of the LISTSERV data and configuration files (including *.*TPL, list message archives, etc.) are in a plain-text format that again is easily transportable across platforms or operating systems. There is one exception: permvars.file is also a binary file but is still generally portable across platforms.

Knowing this, it's pretty simple to just make a list of all the necessary data and configuration files and just copy them from the old source machine to the new destination machine. Of course, you must first install a new version of LISTSERV on the new destination machine and test this new instance (under a temporary domain name) to be sure it runs correctly. Now you have a place to put the data files that you copy from the old source machine.

As far as possible, you should try to mirror the same disk structure between the old and new machines. Otherwise you will have a lot of extra work to do changing notebook paths for each list. On the other hand, if you need or want to re-organize your LISTSERV installation, a move like this is a great time to do so.

To make migrations easier L-Soft has built a "kit" containing a detailed instructional document and several *.cmd or *.sh scripts to assist you with the migration process. It is available at:

After studying this kit, if you have further questions and have current maintenance, you may write to:

Migrating LISTSERV Maestro

While the migration of LISTSERV is relatively simple and easy, this is not necessarily the case with LISTSERV Maestro. LISTSERV Maestro keeps its data in files on the file system, and some data is also stored in the Maestro system database. Fortunately, however, these files are in a binary format, which is OS-agnostic. So, as with LISTSERV, you only need to copy all the necessary files to the new system, as well as dump the database contents and then restore and rebuild the database on the new system.

If you had to do this by hand, it would be tedious and error prone. However, LISTSERV Maestro performs an automatic nightly backup that captures all of the necessary data files as well as including a dump of the system database contents. The backup data is stored in three files, one each for HUB, LUI and TRK components. Further, LISTSERV Maestro has an additional feature that makes it easy to use these backup files to restore the system to the exact status of the moment in time that the backup was made.

So migrating LISTSERV Maestro consists of forcing a backup on the old system, verifying that the backup is complete and successful, copying the three backup files to the new system and configuring that system to restore from backup. Obviously, as with LISTSERV, you will have already installed and tested the new instance on the new machine so you know that it's working and simply needs all of the jobs and user data from the backup set. Even if you install a newer version of LISTSERV Maestro on the new machine, Maestro will first restore from backup, then automatically perform any necessary data format conversion or updating.

All of this is discussed in more detail in a special manual:
LISTSERV Maestro Admin Tech Doc 4 - Moving LISTSERV Maestro

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