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How to Upgrade Printers from Server 2003 to Server 2012

Posted by Jordan Lindsey on November 26th, 2014

In just 9 short months—in July of 2015—Microsoft will end support for Windows Server 2003/R2. With this end-of-life (EOL) announcement, its time for many enterprises to consider how they will migrate. So, how are you going to handle the migration to 2008/R2?

Microsoft does offer a Printer Migration Tool. This will take you through a wizard which allows you to export your print queues and drivers, then import them on the new server. Not a bad choice and not too difficult of a solution, provided you don't have errors or configuration issues. But the bigger question is, do you really want print servers anymore?

Let's be honest, you kept your 2003/R2 server this long because you didn't want to touch it. But what is the end user transition going to be like? Do they just get to start printing with a seamless transition, with no problems? And how are you getting your 64-bit drivers and preferences set up? You now have to modify every print queue, on each server you have, with it's corresponding driver. Are you lucky enough to use a universal driver or do you need a manufacturer driver for specific capabilities? The questions go on and on when it comes to migrating your 2003 print server.

But there is a better solution. Simply do not upgrade your print servers at all!

What are you going to do instead, you might ask? Start using PrinterLogic. PrinterLogic allows you to copy all your print queues, drivers, printing preferences and printer information by simply clicking on a print queue through our web-based application. PrinterLogic can be run a physical or virtual 2008/R2 or newer OS. IT IS NOT A PRINT SERVER! We are going to throw your old print server out the window when this is done.

So how do you simply migrate out of a print server environment without losing what you have?

Simple—as mentioned before, you selected all your print queues, press a green arrow and watch all your print queues copy into PrinterLogic. Once this is finished, you now deploy a small 7mb client out to your workstations via SCCM, GPO, etc. which runs as a system service. When this client installs, it will then silently auto-detect all Windows shared printers and convert them into Direct IP printers. And it will grab control of any already-installed Direct IP printers, too.

You may now turn off and trash that 2003 print server, take a huge sigh of relief that you never have to deal with a print server again in your life, then login to the on-premise, web-based PrinterLogic app to manage all print queues, drivers, printing preferences and automatic printer installs (with Active Directory integration). The client handles everything on each person workstation, keeps everything in sync with the administrative side and users with restricted computer permissions may install their own printers with floor plan maps, all from a web page.

You can please your end users, save costs on running multiple print servers, reduce WAN traffic, simplify upgrades and patching, and eliminate the single point of failure caused by your print servers. You can now sleep at night knowing you will never again get a phone call at 1:00 a.m. that the print server is down and no can print.

Jordan Lindsey
Jordan Lindsey
I have been a Systems Engineer by trade for several years now. I love designing, configuring and implementing the many different technologies in the world today. I have worked with Public Safety Government nationwide, to now changing the IT infrastructure for companies worldwide. I enjoy working, solving and fixing what is in front of me. I am always full of new ideas and thoughts that I love expressing. I have been able to put some of my brain down on paper with the current technology blogs I am writing with my current job at PrinterLogic.

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