How to transfer a FortiGate configuration file to a new FortiGate unit of a different model

This article explains how to transfer a FortiGate configuration file to a new FortiGate unit of a different model.

Attention:
Support for the transfer of a configuration file:
Transferring a configuration file from one model to another is not supported by Fortinet nor by Boll, however part of the configuration can be restored manually by copying the required configuration from the old backup configuration file to new configuration file.
The Fortinet Technical Support department does not offer technical assistance in converting FortiGate configuration files from one model to another as, when required, this is the responsibility of the user.

Source: Fortinet KB

  1. Open the backup configuration file from the previous and different FortiGate Unit.
  2. Download a backup of a new configuration file from the new unit. This procedure is different depending on which FortiOS version is running on the FortiGate:
    • In FortiOS 3.0, 4.0 and 4.1.x, download a factory default configuration file from System > Maintenance > Backup & Restore
    • In FortiOS 4.2, 5.0 and 5.2 download a factory default configuration file from System>Dashboard > System Information > System Configuration
    • In FortiOS 5.4 download from Dashboard > System Information > System Configuration > Backup or Admin > Backup Configuration.
    • In FortiOS 5.6 download from Admin > Configuration > Backup.
  3. From the factory default configuration file copy the „config-version“, and paste this value and replace in the backup of the previous configuration file.
    Make sure that all interface names correspond to the new device. For example, the previous unit may have had a „wan1“ interface however the new device has a „port1“ interface, it is critical to make sure these correspond.
    Save the new configuration file under a new .conf file. This step is mandatory otherwise when reloading the new configuration file the error message „configuration file error“ will be displayed on the web based interface.
    Only copy the „config-version“ section of the first line of the config file from the device being copied. In this way, upon conversion to the new device, the correct „vdom“ and „opmode“ settings will be applied.
  4. Verify which user admin account was used when saving the configuration file. Reloading a configuration that was saved under a super_admin account to a simple admin account will display the error message „invalid username or password on the web based interface.
  5. On the new FortiGate unit, go to System > Status, select Restore, and upload the edited config file to the new unit. The unit restarts automatically.
  6. Test the configuration.

It must be noted that modifying .conf files in this manner will not ensure that all profiles will be saved. This is particularly true if this procedure is used for .conf files being used on a different versions of FortiOS. For example, reloading a .conf file to a FortiGate running FortiOS 4.1 from a .conf file using FortiOS 4.2, any new profiles related to new FortiOS features will be lost.