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Migrate Print Servers

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista

You can export print queues, printer settings, printer ports, and language monitors, and then import them on another print server running a Windows operating system. This is an efficient way to consolidate multiple print servers or replace an older print server.

Tools for print server migration

The tool you use to migrate print servers is determined by:

  • The source operating system you want to migrate from.

  • The destination operating system you want to migrate to.

  • Whether the migration involves 64-bit operating systems and drivers.

Supported migration scenarios

The following table describes the supported and unsupported migration scenarios for the Printer Migration Wizard and Print Migrator 3.1, whether x64-based systems and drivers are supported, and how to access each tool:

Tool Supported migration scenarios Unsupported migration scenarios Support for x64-based systems and drivers? Availability

Printer Migration Wizard, Printbrm.exe command-line tool

Windows Vista - Supports all migrations to Windows Vista.

Windows Server 2008 R2 - You cannot migrate directly from older operating systems (Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server) to Windows Server 2008 R2. Instead, you must migrate from the older operating system to a computer running Windows Vista, then migrate from Windows Vista to Windows Server 2008 R2.

Does not support migrations from Windows 2000 Server and older systems.

Yes. The Printer Migration Wizard is the only Microsoft-supported migration tool that works with 64-bit systems and drivers. 

Available through the Print Management snap-in or through the command line by using Printbrm.exe on computers running Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Print Migrator 3.1

Supports migration to Windows Server 2003 from all previous Windows operating systems.

Does not support migration to Windows Vista and later operating systems.

No. 64-bit drivers or systems are not supported.

Available online. Print Migrator 3.1 was also shipped in resource kits for Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003.

Migrating to computers running Windows Server 2003

If you are migrating from Windows NT Server 4 or Windows 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003, you must use Print Migrator 3.1. Print Migrator 3.1 will not work with Windows Vista or later operating systems. It is unable to work with system drivers. To migrate between x64 Windows Server 2003 systems, use the Print Migration Wizard.


Print Migrator 3.1 is no longer supported by Microsoft. The Printer Migration Wizard and the Printbrm.exe command-line tool were introduced in Windows 7 to replace it. For more information about this decision, see the blog Ask the Performance Team (

Migrating to computers running Windows Server 2008 R2

Use the Printer Migration Wizard or the Printbrm.exe command-line tool to migrate to a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2. Use the Printbrm.exe command-line tool on computers running Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.


  • You cannot migrate directly from older operating systems (Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server) to Windows Server 2008 R2. Instead, you must migrate from the older operating system to a computer running Windows Vista, then migrate from Windows Vista to Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • For an in-place upgrade (a reinstallation) of print servers, use the Print Migration Wizard to back up and restore the print server configuration. A standard system migration will not preserve print server information, and can result in print configuration data loss if the data has not been properly backed up before installing the new operating system.

  • Migrating print servers

    • Using the Windows interface

    • Using a command prompt

    To migrate print servers by using Print Management

    1. Open Print Management.

    2. In left pane, click Print Servers, right-click the print server that contains the printer queues that you want to export, and then click Export printers to a file. This starts the Printer Migration Wizard.

    3. On the Select the file location page, specify the location to save the printer settings, and then click Next to save the printers.

    4. Right-click the destination computer on which you want to import the printers, and then click Import printers from a file. This launches the Printer Migration Wizard.

    5. On the Select the file location page, specify the location of the printer settings file, and then click Next.

    6. On the Select import options page, specify the following import options:

      • Import mode. Specifies what to do if a specific print queue already exists on the destination computer.

      • List in the directory. Specifies whether to publish the imported print queues in the Active Directory Domain Services.

      • Convert LPR Ports to Standard Port Monitors. Specifies whether to convert Line Printer Remote (LPR) printer ports in the printer settings file to the faster Standard Port Monitor when importing printers.

    7. Click Next to import the printers.

    To migrate print servers by using a command prompt

    1. To open a Command Prompt window, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

    2. Type:

      CD %WINDIR%\System32\Spool\Tools Printbrm -s \\<sourcecomputername> -b -f <filename>.printerExport

    3. Type:

      Printbrm -s \\<destinationcomputername> -r -f <filename>.printerExport

    Value Description


    The Universal Naming Convention (UNC) name of the source or destination computer.


    The Universal Naming Convention (UNC) name of the destination computer.


    The file name for the printer settings file. Use the .printerExport or .cab file extensions.


    To view the complete syntax for this command, at a command prompt type: Printbrm /?

    Additional considerations

    • To open Print Management, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Print Management.

    • You must have administrative credentials to perform this task.

    • The Printer Migration Wizard and Printbrm.exe can import custom forms and color profiles to the local computer only, and they do not support printer settings that are exported using the Print Migrator tool.

    • You can use the Task Scheduler feature of Windows to schedule the Printbrm.exe tool to regularly export or import printers. You can use this feature to supplement system backups.

    Additional references