Why PrintMig 3.1 is Retired

Hey folks, it’s Yong Rhee once more.  Today’s post is a short, but an important one for Print Server administrators.  If you’ve ever administered a Print Server, the chances are that you’ve probably had to perform a print server migration as well.  Whether that migration is to a Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 machine, printer migrations always seem to somehow get very messy and complicated.  Printing issues are more of a helpdesk headache as well – more than logon or application issues.  So as an administrator, how can you migrate printers without causing a printing outage in your environment?  Let’s take a look …

Most Windows printer administrators have either heard of or used the Print Migrator tool (PrintMig).  PrintMig 3.0 was released back in May of 2002, and version 3.1 was released in September 2003.  By comparison, Windows Server 2003 was released in March of 2003, Windows Server 2003 SP1 was released in March 2005, and Windows Server 2003 SP2 was released in February 2007.  So, the operating system has been secured and updated, but the PrintMig tool has not been updated in over five years.  Hmmm, that makes you stop and think for a second, doesn’t it?  Here’s five other reasons that Print Migrator 3.1 is not as robust of a migration solution as it once was:

  1. PrintMig was created before OEM printer manufacturers starting shipping printer drivers containing .cab files.  As a result, PrintMig 3.1 cannot restore printer drivers that have .cab files in them
  2. PrintMig was created prior to Windows Server 2003 SP1 and SP2.  For clustered printing scenarios, the folder structure for the location of Print Processors changed, and thus PrintMig is unaware of these new locations
  3. PrintMig only recognizes local or NetBIOS path names to separator pages (.sep files).  If you use a fully qualified name (FQDN) for the location of .sep files it will cause PrintMig to crash with an access violation
  4. PrintMig cannot restore servers that include the word “Spool” in their network name, for example Spooler1 or PrintSpool
  5. PrintMig does not work with 64-bit (x64 or IA64) print servers because x 64 servers were not widely deployed when PrintMig 3.1 was released

So, with PrintMig out of the picture, how should you migrate printers?  In Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the Print Migration Wizard within the new Print Management Console is one option.  Alternatively you could also use the PRINTBRM.EXE command line tool (which effectively replaces PrintMig 3.1).  I’ll be going over some of the benefits of both of these tools in future posts, so stay tuned!

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– Yong Rhee

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