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I work for a small IT company that does a lot of network/systems administration and consultation for small businesses. We've been helping one of our clients move away from an old Dell 2950 with Windows Server 2003 (this is just one of their many servers) that acted as a domain controller, DNS/DHCP server, SQL server, Symantec Center (for Backup Exec and Norton AV), Exchange server, file server, SharePoint, Printer server, and a few other smaller roles (definitely a ton of stuff for one server).

As we split up these tasks to a variety of other servers and virtual machines, part of what I'm working on now is printer migration (moving the printers and settings from this 2950 to another server that they have). Easy enough, but for the time being the users will continue to access their printers through the old server (I've already gotten everything all set on the new server).

What I'm wondering, however, is if there is any easy way to move all of the users current printer preferences from the old server to the new one through Group Policy. In other words, can I redirect the paths of the current printers from the old server to the new one without having the users remove/re-add their printers?

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I think the easiest way to do this is to use Group Policy Preferences. You can create a user preference that updates a mapping to the printer. Using update, it will either update a printer object with the same name, or create it if it doesn't exist. This is how we manage our printers. We take it a step further by creating geographic GPOs that set up printers (and selects the nearest printer as the default) based on where the workstation is located.

If so desired, you can also have a preference that deletes all existing printer connections in the user profile.

In order to use Group Policy Preferences, you need a Windows Server 2008 instance that is joined to the domain with Group Policy Management Console installed. Client side extensions must also be installed on downlevel clients as well (such as XP). Domain functional level remain at 2003. If you are sending printer settings to Windows XP, you will also need the PushPrinterConnections utility. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722179(WS.10).aspx

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In this case we're actually giving the users access to a list of all printers, but I do like the idea of geographic GPOs. Anyway, thanks for the answer. I had a feeling that remapping the printers in GP was possible. I'll give it a try! –  Korbman Aug 23 '11 at 18:41

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