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Windows 2008 Printer Migration and Consolidation

May 14, 2008

Kurt Roggen has a blog entry about migrating printers from Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2008:

Printers on a machine running Windows Server 2003 R2 or Windows 2003 with R2 Print Management Console may be incompatible with Windows Server 2008, so you must back up these printers before you upgrade to Windows Server 2008 since incompatible printers are deleted during the upgrade process. After you upgrade, the restore process removes any Windows 2003 R2 Print Management incompatibilities.

If incompatible printer queues are found when you upgrade from Windows Server 2003 or from Windows Server 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2008, all printer queues may be deleted during the upgrade process.

You should note that everything I’ve read and heard from MS urges you not to do in-place upgrades from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008.  I’ve done a lot of research on this subject.  There’s enough available complications out there that things can go wrong, e.g. incompatible drivers or business applications.  Upgrading a pure "Micosoft" server, e.g. a file server with nothing else on it or even and IIS6 server with no extensions, works smoothly.  MS even says that it will, somewhere on the TechNet site.  However, once you stray out of that safe zone, they strongly recommend (as do I) that you do a server-server migration instead.

Obviously, there’s a cost there in terms of time and hardware acquisition.  You can minimise capital costs by doing gradual rolling migrations.  But you’ve got to test, test, test before even doing this with production servers.  The time spent on this might be more expensive than refreshing your hardware.

Whatever you decide on, look at the bigger picture and be sure of what your plans, expected results and rollback plans will be.

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