Migrate Printer Shares from SBS to Windows Server 2016

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Migrate Printer Shares from SBS to Windows Server 2016

If you have printer shares on the source server, you will want to export them, then import and publish them on the new server. Whether you are coming from Windows SBS 2008, 2011 or Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2, the following steps will work for you.

Step 1: Add the Print Server role to the destination computer

From Server Manager, Add roles and features. Choose Print and Document Services.


Step 2: Export the printers from the source server

Open the Print management console from Control Panel > Administrative Tools. Right-click on the server, and choose Export printers to a file… Save the file to a location accessible on the network.


Step 3: Import the printers on the destination server

On the destination computer, open the Print Management console, and choose Import printers from a file… Follow the wizard to select the file location, and complete the process.


Step 4: Deploy the new printers using group policy

Next, choose each printer that you intend to share from the server, right-click and choose Deploy with Group Policy…


Click Browse… then locate an existing GPO for this policy setting, or find the button to Create New Group Policy Object, and name the GPO. Click OK. Before you exit, be sure to select The users that this GPO applies to (per user), then click Add. Click OK to finish. Repeat this process for each printer share that is required.


Step 5: Remove the old printers 

Last of all, if you have legacy printer shares still published from the source server, you will remove those.  I generally use a login script to remove old printers. It looks like this:

REM Quietly delete a named network printer
rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /q /dn /n “\\SourceServer\PrinterName”

Simply repeat the rundll32 command for each legacy printer you need to remove. Save this to a batch file in the \\DomainName\NETLOGON directory, and publish it using Group Policy.


Also, if there are legacy GPO’s for published printers, simply disable the links at this time, or delete them altogether if you are comfortable doing so.


Comments (6)

  • Andy Reply

    Thank you. I enjoyed your article and learned something new!

    October 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm
  • Mario Sandino Reply


    December 7, 2018 at 1:07 pm
  • Julius Mensing Reply

    Hi Alex,

    thank you for the guide.

    We Exported the Printers from 2008SBS and Imported to Server 2016.
    So now we had all the printers with the same share name appearing twice in the directory.
    We did not yet roll them out to the users though.

    Then the next day we had issues with the users not being able to print anymore.
    So we deleted the printers again from the 2016 machine and look for a better time now for the switch over.

    Is this something that you also experienced already?

    December 18, 2018 at 5:12 am
    • Alex Reply

      No, if you take steps to remove the legacy ones there should be no issue.

      December 18, 2018 at 10:06 pm
  • Frank Reply

    Does this same thing work with a migration to server 2012 R2?

    July 22, 2020 at 2:35 pm

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