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The things that are better left unspoken

a blog by Sander Berkouwer


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PrintMig 3.1 is the short name for the tool that is better known as Microsofts 'Windows Server 2003 Print Migrator 3.1'. You can use this tool to backup and restore print server settings and printer settings in migration scenarios. This allows you to migrate printers within minutes, while preserving settings, like seperator pages, spool folder, ports, descriptions and rights.

In contrast with earlier versions version 3.1 allows you to run printmig.exe on a command line. If you refuse to use the commandline, because it makes you feel like a woman, then you can add the latest version to your migration arsenal.

This tool is the ideal companion to Microsofts File Server Migration Toolkit, which you can use to migrate files between fileservers and consolidate Distributed File System (DFS) Roots. Most of the time - and especially in small environments - the file server is also the print server. By using the File Server Migration Toolkit and the Print Migrator you can easily migrate Widows-based file- and printservers in a matter of hours.

The tools are remarkably similar in their design. Both tools do Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 source servers, so the majority of Windows file- and printservers can be handled. There are two big differences though, between the File Server Migration Toolkit and the Print Migrator.

PrintMig isn't a real 'Migrator'

The File Server Migration Toolkit is a 'big bang' kind of migration tool. It allows you to synchronize data, but after that the deal is to stop the shares on the source server and continue working on the target server.

The Print Migrator isn't actually a migration tool. It doesn't have a magical option to stop sharing printers on the source servers. All it does is make a backup of the print server and printer properties in a *.cab file on the source machine. After that you can take the file to the target server and use the Print Migrator to configure the print server properties and install the printers using the settings in the *.cab file.

This action results in the duplication of printers. Both the source server and the target server act as print servers and share the same printers. It's up to you to delete the printers on the source server or leave the situation as it is.

PrintMig is more of a backup tool

The File Server Migration Toolkit isn't the perfect tool to make backups of files on a server. NTBackup.exe is more perfect. (but not the perfect tool) If you'd want to use ntbackup to make a backup of the shared printers on a printserver than you'd have to make backups of the System State and the Spool directory. (Which I recommend you change from its default settings)

Since making backups is in no way a guaranty that you can also restore, you'd have to test your backups. PrintMig is your ideal companion when you want to make perfect backups of your printserver and perform an ocassional restore (tests). In fact: When you use PrintMig to migrate your print server properties and your printers you are actually restoring a backup to another server.

The File Server Migration Toolkit is not suitable for making backups or copies. If this is your goal try using Distributed File System (DFS), Backup to Disk solutions or just plain old ntbackup.exe.



Microsofts Print Migrator is more of a Print Duplication tool than a Print Migration tool. If you use it to migrate print server and printer properties you are actually restoring a backup to a different server.

Further reading

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Print Migrator 3.1 
Download details: Windows Print Migrator 3.1  
Migrating print services with ease 

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2007 12:36 PM by Sander Berkouwer


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