Downloadable Microsoft utility enables print server backup

Losing a print server requires a quick fix. Fortunately Microsoft provides a downloadable utility to get your users printing again, even before you finish troubleshooting the print server.

Losing a print server on Windows Server 2003, or any other operating system, typically requires a very quick fix.

Print servers don't store vital information the way file servers do, but they are used constantly. An unavailable print server is guaranteed to flood the help desk with complaints.

Fortunately Microsoft provides an easy way to get your users printing again, even before you finish troubleshooting the print server. With this free utility called Print Migrator, you can maintain backups of the print server configuration files, which can be used to let any server take over for the failed print server. The change is invisible to users, except for a possible small performance hit, as one server does double duty.

To use Print Migrator, back up the printer configuration file on the print server and make a new backup each time you make a change. The backups will be .cab files which you can store on any server that is backed up regularly.

In the event of a failure, remove the failed print server from the network and use Print Migrator to restore the configuration file to the server you want to use as an emergency print server. Then change the IP address of your print server to the emergency server's IP address. Result: Everyone will be up and running while you fix the regular print server.

Print Migrator is a free download from Microsoft.

About the author: Rick Cook specializes in writing about issues related to storage and storage management.

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This was first published in May 2006

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