Businesses may be looking to migrate print services from legacy to current versions of Windows Server (2019 or 2022). With the Print Migration Wizard, you can export the core components of the Print and Document Services role, such as print queues, printer settings, and printer ports, and reimport them to the new server.

You might have used the Printer Migration tool (PRINTMIG.EXE) in the past to migrate print services to a new server. However, this tool has been replaced by the Printer Migration Wizard, which uses the printbrmui.exe and printbrm.exe command line tools. In addition, it is the only tool produced by Microsoft that is supported for 64-bit operating systems and drivers.

The export capabilities include print queues, printer settings, printer ports, and other settings. In addition, the Printer Migration Wizard and the printbrm.exe command-line tool can import custom forms and color profiles as part of the process. However, it doesn't support printer settings exported using the legacy Printer Migration tool.

IT admins can also use the printbrm.exe command line tool and the task scheduler to regularly export or import printers as part of their backup and disaster recovery processes. This functionality provides a great way to perform backups of your print server configuration settings, which can quickly be restored later.

Note you must have administrator credentials to perform the Printer Migration Wizard tasks. An overview of the Printer Migration Wizard process includes the following:

  1. Install the Print and Document Services role on the destination server.
  2. Export the printer settings from the source server.
  3. Import the printer settings to the target server.

Export print settings using the Print Migration Wizard ^

The walkthrough that follows was created using a Windows Server 2008 R2 source server and a Windows Server 2019 server as the migration target. The Windows Server 2019 server has the Print and Document Services role installed. You can perform both the export and import operations from the target server.

Open the Print Management console, and choose the Migrate Printers option.

Beginning the migrate printer task

Beginning the migrate printer task

For the export from your legacy Windows Server, choose the Export printer queues and printer drivers to a file option. As detailed, it exports printer queues, printer ports, and printer drivers to a file you specify.

Export printer queues and printer drivers to a file

Export printer queues and printer drivers to a file

Choose the server from which to export the printer settings. Here, you can type in the NetBIOS or FQDN of the source legacy Windows print server.

Choose the source of the printer settings export

Choose the source of the printer settings export

Next, review the list of items to be exported. After that, select the location of the printer export file.

Printer settings export from the source print server completes successfully

Printer settings export from the source print server completes successfully

Importing printers to the destination server ^

Now that we have the export of the printer configuration settings, we can begin the import process. First, as you see, we only have a couple of default printers on the new print server.

Viewing printers on the destination print server

Viewing printers on the destination print server

To import, we follow the same procedure to start the Printer Migration Wizard by right-clicking the Print Management node and selecting Printer migration. This time, we choose Import printer queues and printer drivers from a file.

Import printer queues and printer drivers from a file

Import printer queues and printer drivers from a file

Now we can select the printer export file created earlier to begin the import to the destination print server.

Choose the printer export file

Choose the printer export file

Next, select a destination print server for importing the exported printer settings file. We are choosing the Windows Server 2019 target server below, which is the same server we are running the Printer Migration Wizard from.

Choose the destination printer

Choose the destination printer

On the import options screen, you can choose the import mode. Either you keep existing printers or overwrite existing printers that have the same name. Select Next to begin the import.

Choose the import options during the import process

Choose the import options during the import process

The import process begins and should complete successfully. We now have the HP LaserJet 4100 Series printer listed in the installed printers, ready for connections.

Viewing the migrated printers on the destination Windows Print Server

Viewing the migrated printers on the destination Windows Print Server

Concluding ^

The Printer Migration Wizard and the printbrm.exe command line tool are built into the Print and Document Services role and can export and import print queues, printer settings, printer ports, and other settings. In addition, they enable quickly and painlessly migrating all the installed printers from a legacy Windows Print Server to a new Windows Print Server running on Windows Server 2019 or Windows Server 2022.

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Finally, the command line tool and the task scheduler provide an effective way to back up print configuration settings as part of your disaster recovery plan.

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6 Comments
  1. boby 3 months ago

    You talk about command line tool.
    No command line has been used in this tutorial.
    Anyway, good GUI tuto for migration.

  2. Olivier 3 months ago

    Hu Boby
    The command line tool is Printbrm (Legacy DOS command). You can use it in a DOS script or a PS Script.
    One line to export … in a file
    One line to import … on the New Printserver. … like the wizard.

  3. Dave 2 months ago

    Will this process also work to migrate print queues from Server 2008 to Server 2012R2 or Server 2019?

  4. Olivier 2 months ago

    Hello Dave,
    Of course it’s possible, but I don’t recommend it. Why ? Does your server have the latest drivers for your printers ? Not sure ! You risk having a brand new 2019 server with obsolete drivers, and perhaps even drivers that still work in Kernel mode (“Vade Retro Satanas” :-)) and not in User mode.

    What I recommend (of course it’s longer, but it will be clean).
    – Identification brand / models of your printers
    – Go to the site of the manufacturers and download the latest drivers for these models. Make yourself a repository for your drivers.
    – Creating the printer queues with these new drivers. Be free to do it in GUI or online command mode (script) as you prefer.

    There, you will have something clean that will work for years, and not something dirty with pans below.

    Remember: “The advisers are not payers”. Feel free to do as you want.
    Hope this help
    Regards

  5. Tim 2 months ago

    Hi,
    Is this supposed to also export/import driver settings like default paper size, duplex settings etc. for each printer?
    I have almost 700 printers to migrate and after importing the printers to the new server (using the command line) it hasn’t retained the specific driver settings for each printer (e.g. printing defaults are not the same). Thanks.

    • Tim 2 months ago

      Ignore my comment above – I’ve done another export/import using the PMC gui this time and it looks to have imported the default printer settings over. Not sure why it didn’t work using the printbrm command though.

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