Windows Server 2008

Enterprise Print Management in Windows Server 2008, Part 2

In the previous article, I showed you how to install the Print Management console. In this article, I will continue the discussion by showing you how to migrate other network print servers to the  network print server that you’ve created.

Network Printer Migration

Now that you have an enterprise print management server in place, you will probably want to consolidate some of your other print servers. Consolidation allows you to operate all of your network printers through a single network print server, thus reducing the amount of print server related maintenance tasks that your administrative staff has to do.

To consolidate network print servers, open the Print Management console by selecting the Print Management command from the server’s Administrative Tools menu. When the console opens, expand the Print Servers container, and then choose the print server that you want to migrate. Right click on this print server, and then choose the Export Printers to a File command from the resulting shortcut menu.

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At this point, Windows will launch the Printer Migration Wizard. The wizard’s initial screen will show you the print drivers and print processors that are about to be exported, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A The Printer Migration Wizard lists the print drivers and print processors that will be exported.

Click Next, and you will be prompted to specify a path and a filename to which you want to export the printer information. Enter this information into the place provided, and click Next again. The wizard will now export the printer information to the designated file. When the process completes, the wizard will tell you whether or not any errors have occurred, and it will also give you the chance to look at any entries that have been logged in the system’s event logs. Click the Finish button to complete the process.

The rest of the migration process is just as easy.  Just expand the Print Servers container, and then select the print server that you want to import the printers into. Right click on the print server, and select the Import Printers From A File option from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, Windows will launch the Printer Migration wizard.

Enter the path and filename of the export file that you created a moment ago, and then click the Next button.  After a brief delay, you should see a list of the print drivers and print processors that will be imported.

Click Next, and you will be taken to the screen that’s shown in Figure B. As you can see, you must tell Windows what to do if one of the printers that’s being imported is the same as a printer that already exists. You must also tell Windows whether or not you want the new printers to be listed in the Active Directory. Click Next, and Windows will import the printers.  When the wizard completes, you should see the printers that you have imported listed beneath the currently selected print server.

Figure B You must tell Windows how to deal with conflicts.

Some Additional Considerations

The biggest additional consideration when it comes to migrating printers is that the Print Management console can migrate printers from pretty much any Windows print server to any other Windows print server. You aren’t just limited to migrating your printers to a Windows Server 2008 print server. Keep in mind that there are some limitations though. For example, you can’t migrate a bunch of 64-bit printer drivers to a Windows 2000 server and expect them to work.

Another limitation is that if you want to migrate custom forms or color profiles, those can only be imported into the local print server. For some reason, Windows does not support exporting them to other print servers.

One final word of advice is that Windows Server 2008 offers a command line tool called PrintBRM.exe. Some administrators use the Windows task scheduler to schedule this utility to export printer information on a periodic basis, as a way of backing up a print server.


In this article, I have shown you how to migrate print queues from one print server to another. In Part 3 of this article series, I will continue the discussion by showing you how to use group policy settings to manage your network printers.

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