Migrating to Windows 2000
Updated: April 22, 2003
Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2
Unlike the previous section, in which print server upgrades were discussed, this section deals with the common practice of deploying a new (replacement) Windows 2000 or Windows .NET print server to replace an existing Windows NT 4 or Windows 2000 print server. For the purposes of this discussion, the migration process can be used to either replace a print server (move printers from one server to a new server), or to consolidate print servers (moving printers from multiple print servers to a single print server) Administrators have two main methods for moving printers from one Windows print server to another: manual or automated. It is possible to perform a partially-automated migration of printers as well. This is covered in the following sections also.
Manual Print Server Migration
The manual migration process is very straightforward. After you document the current printing environment on the existing Windows print server (that is, the ports, printer names, share names, driver models and versions, and so on), you can recreate each printer manually on the new Windows 2000 print server using the Add Printer Wizard. The advantage to this method is that you can create all of the queues using the latest corporate standards (such as for naming) and the newest driver versions available. The most obvious disadvantage to this method is that it can be very time consuming for large print environments–and tends to be more error-prone than an automated method.
Automated Print Server Migration
Microsoft has developed a utility call Print Migrator. In the first two releases of this utility, printers can be moved from one server to another as long as both servers used the same operating system. With the release of version 3, the following key features will be added:
Cross-platform support: Print Migrator 3 lets you move printers from a Windows NT 4 print server to Windows 2000 or Windows. NET Server print servers.
Cluster support: You can migrate printers from a standalone Windows NT 4 or Windows 2000 print server to a clustered print server running Windows 2000 or Windows . NET Server.
LPR port conversion: During backup and restore operations you can convert LPR ports to standard TCP/IP printer ports.
Clearly, it’s faster and more accurate to back up and restore these printers automatically. It is, however, important to note that the printers are moved to Windows 2000 or Windows .NET Server without changing their driver versions. That is, drivers previously used on a Windows NT 4.0 print server are created as kernel-mode (version 2) drivers on Windows 2000 or Windows .NET Server. Kernel-mode drivers in use on Windows 2000 are also preserved. As detailed in the “Point and Print” section later in this document, this process provides a much higher level of interoperability with any legacy (Windows NT 4) clients that may still be using print services from a server.
For more information about the capabilities and limitations of Print Migrator 3.0, see its product documentation. Print Migrator 3.0 is available via the Microsoft Print Server web site. See Related Links section below for additional information.
Partially-Automated Server Migration Method
Administrators can migrate printers using a combination of the manual and automated methods. There are several scriptable actions supported by Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows .NET Server that perform some of the necessary tasks. These scripts are documented in the Windows resource kits.