24 January 2020

Migrating Print Server

With the end of support for Windows 2008, it was time to get those last few lingering services migrated to a new server. For me, one of those lingering tasks was to move our Print Server. This article will take a dive into what you need to do to migrate your Print Server to Windows 2016. This should work for all current versions of Windows Server.

The process of migrating your print server is done by utilizing the Printer Migration Wizard. The wizard tool allows you to export all the drivers, printer settings, and print queues from the source server into the export file. You can then import that file on the destination server, which will add in all those printer resources. The final step I’ll go over will be the removal of the original source print server and setting the new print server to the same name and IP address as the original source server. This is to make it a “seamless” transition on the back-end, so that clients can continue to print without changing any of their settings. They’ll never know you made a change! If you can’t assign you new server with the same name and IP, then you will to reconfigure all of your clients, either manually or via GPO

Configuring your new Print Server

Spin up your new server. Run thru a basic setup and apply any needed updates and patches to it.

Once you have it updated, fully patched, and ready-to-go we can proceed with setting up the Print-Services role by running the following PowerShell command. Install-WindowsFeature Print-Services
Next we will start the Print Spooler service with the following commandSet-Service -Name "Spooler" -StartupType automatic
Start-Service -Name "Spooler"

Next step is to enable a few firewall rules to allow for you to remotely manage your new server. Enter these commands into your Powershell window;
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "Windows Management Instrumentation (DCOM-In)"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Event Log Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Service Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Volume Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Windows Firewall Remote Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Scheduled Tasks Management"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)"
Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File and Printer sharing"

Alright… your new print server is ready to proceed.

Exporting your Source Print Server Settings

On your new print server, start the Print Management console.

From the console, right click on Print Servers, and then click on Migrate Printers.

Select Export printer queues and drivers to a file, then click NEXT.

Enter the name of your source print server, then click NEXT.

You’ll be presented a list of the resources that will be exported, click NEXT.

Select a name and location on your new print server where you want to save your printer export file, then click NEXT.

The export process may take a few minutes to complete. You will end up with all of your printer resources from the source print server in a file. Also, something to note is that it can become a large file. My export file with just over 40 printers was 1.15GB.

Importing your Print Server Settings

From the Print Management console, right click on Print Management, then click on Migrate Printers again to begin the Migration Wizard.

This time we are going to choose Import printer queues and printer drivers from a file, then click NEXT.

Specifiy the path the file you created in the Export task , then click NEXT.

Windows will parse thru the file to load its’ printer objects, and give you a list to review, if it looks correct, click NEXT. Select This print server (\\PrintServerName) and click NEXT. Select Import mode: Overwrite existing printers, and List in the directory: Don’t list any printers , then click NEXT.
We select to not list them, because they are already published in Active Directory by the source print server, and we would rather not make duplicates.

Once you have completed the import process, you will be prompted by the wizard to view the event log for any errors that might have happened during import.

If you encountered any “problem” drivers, go ahead and manually install them on your new server now.

Time to Switch Over to the New Print Server

We that we have all of our printers installed on our new printer server, it’s time to proceed with the next steps. Here we need to do three things. First is to remove the printers listed in by the source print server in Active Directory. Next we’ll rename our servers. Lastly we’ll re-add our printers from the new print server back into Active Directory.

On your source print server, open your Printer Management console and select all of your Printers. Right click on them and then select Remove from Directory.

Now proceed with renaming your source print server to something else, and assign it’s original name to your new print server. After our new print server has be given the original server’s name, reboot it so that the name change takes effect. We’re all done with the source print server, and will only be working on the new print server from this point.

Open the Printer Management console and select all of your Printers. Right click on them and then select List in Directory.

This will re-publish all of the printer back in Active Directory and complete our task of migrating the Print Server to a new server. And Viola! Just like that you should be back in business – able to print again until your heart is content or you run out toner, whichever comes first.

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Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.

Posted January 24, 2020 by IT.G.c in category "Microsoft", "Windows 2012/2012R2", "Windows 2016", "Windows 2019


  1. By Justin Baney on

    Note: Microsoft has changed this DisplayGroup:

    Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup “Windows Firewall Remote Management”

    To This One:

    Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup “Windows Defender Firewall Remote Management”

  2. By Ankur Khare on

    what if we want the new server to have a new name name and new IP

    1. By IT,PWWF on

      In my article, I was purposely leaving the server name and IP the same so that people who were already\previously mapped to a printer wouldn’t have any issues, or need to remove/re-add their printer. I was making it seamless and invisible to the end-user. So my article doesn’t quite cover what you’re asking…
      If you change the server’s hostname, you’ll need to remove the current printers from your AD, then publish\share them from your new server. You can still export and import them as I explained in my article. However, because the hostname and IP are different, users will need to remove the old printer and add the new printer in order to be able to print. So it will involve some communication to your end-users that they will need to re-add their printer.


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