Use Printer Migration tool when switching to new Windows Machine

When switching to new Windows Machine or Deploying a new Windows Printer Server, Reinstalling Printer Drivers and adding all the existing printer on the network again is time-consuming.

Good thing is Starting from Windows Vista and Now in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Print section comes with an inbuilt utility called as Print Management. This utility not only allows you to Manage and Watch all printers over a network but when it comes to moving to a new machine from old, you can use it to move all printer and the drivers for those printer using the Export / Import method or the Printer Migration Tool.

Open the Print Management Console :

  • Login with an Account which allows you to manage Print Servers. An Administrator account can manage.
  • Type in Print Management in your Windows Start Menu. This will list the Print Management Console.
  • Click to Open the console and navigate to Print Management > Print Servers’
  • For standalone home computer, you will see your own computer listed and for Server Environment you will see the server accordingly.

Print Management Print Servers

  • If you like command line interface you can locate the Print Migration command line tool in CD %WINDIR%System32SpoolTools Printbrm

PrintBrm Command Line

Exporting the Printer from Old Machine / Old Print Server :

Using Windows Tool :

  • Right click on the Print Server
  • Export Printers to a File.
  • Give a name and save this file. The extension for this file will be .printerExport

Using the command line tool :

Printbrm -s \ -b -f .printerExport

Importing Printers to New Machine / New Print Server

Using Windows Tool :

  • Right click on the Print Server > Import Printers from File
  • Review the list of printer.
  • Next screen gives you option to either Overwrite or Keep Existing Printers.
  • If you Overwrite you will lose settings, drivers etc for that printer on the new machine and will be replaced with one which comes from the backup.
  • The option which says List in the directory means if you want to publish the print queues to the Active Directory Domain Services.  This is useful if you have imported any spooled queues while importing.
  • Last option which says Convert LPR Ports to Standard Port Monitors means if you want to convert Line Printer Remote (LPR) printer ports in the printer settings file to the faster Standard Port Monitor.

Printer Migration import Options

Next step will import all the printers with drivers, print queues etc. In case of any error you will be give option to check with the Event Logger. Performance and Information tool is another good option in Windows to check for conflicting drivers etc.

Using Command Line tool :

Printbrm -s \ -r -f .printerExport

Migrating Printer from Windows 2000 ?

If you are migrating from Windows 2000 or Windows NT to Windows Server 2008 R2, the migration process will not work as said above because of the level of difference between the versions. The best way to migrate these machines is first migrate them to a Windows Vista Machine and then to Windows Server 2008 R2.


About Ashish Mohta

A Professional Tech blogger, Editor and Writer who talks about solving day to day problems of people who use computer. His expertise are in Windows 7, Microsoft Office, Software, Mobile Apps and Video Posts.

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