To actualize the high spintronic application potential of complex magnetic oxides, it is essential to fabricate these materials as thin films with the best possible magnetic and electrical properties. Sr2FeMoO6 is an outstanding candidate for such applications, but presently no thin film synthesis route, which would preserve the magnetic properties of bulk Sr2FeMoO6, is currently known. In order to address this problem, we present a comprehensive experimental and theoretical study where we link the magnetic and half metallic properties of Sr2FeMoO6 thin films to lattice strain, Fe—Mo antisite disorder and oxygen vacancies. We find the intrinsic effect of strain on the magnetic properties to be very small, but also that an increased strain will significantly stabilize the Sr2FeMoO6 lattice against the formation of antisite disorder and oxygen vacancies. These defects, on the other hand, are recognized to drastically influence the magnetism of Sr2FeMoO6 in a nonlinear manner. On the basis of the findings, we propose strain manipulation and reductive annealing as optimization pathways for improving the spintronic functionality of Sr2FeMoO6.