Could not copy owner or primary group

Hello all,

An odd problem / solution to share today, and while I suspect no one will ever see it, I need to share it just in case.

I was migrating files between Windows file server locally hosted shares to a DataGravity appliance.  This should be easy as pie.  But, after one share worked fine, on the second share, and any others, from any other file server, I got errors on most of the files migrated.  And files with errors did not migrate.  Here are the errors.

Could not copy primary Group information to file….. This security ID may not be assigned as the primary group of an object.

Can not copy Owner information for file … This security ID may not be assigned as the owner of this object.

We were using Vice/Versa when we got these errors but also tried with Robocopy and it had the same error.

The V/V support suggest this article and DataGravity support suggested this article. Neither which helped much.  We tried a lot of different things including, but not limited to:

  • We carefully checked permissions and ACL and found nothing missing or odd.
  • We were able to copy and paste a file that could not be copied and after that it could be copied. But not a solution.
  • We checked owners and found that some files were owned by a SID but others were owned by a real owner.
  • We made sure the account logged in doing the migration was a member of Domain Admins and local admin.  No luck.
  • We also wondered through AD, and look at files and folders – both that could be migrated and not migrated using the Security Explorer tool.  No luck.
  • We also reset permissions using this tool.  Again, no luck.

But, a very long and frustrating story shorten drastically, is we did not migrate the files with their owners and this all went smooth – no more errors.  So what we did was first migrate with owner migration enabled, and that got all the files migrated except for the problem ones.  Then we migrated again but with owner migration disabled and that caught the rest of the files.  That means some files have good owners and some don’t.

As a future todo the customer is going to do a file owner project and fix things up.  Likely using a PowerShell script to take the metadata author and make it the owner for many Office documents.

I also suggested that at some point a Microsoft Health Check kind of short engagement should be done to root out the real issue!


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