USMT 4.0 Printer Migration Explanation

USMT 4.0 Printer Migration Explanation

The User State Migration Tool supports migrating network-connected printers. This article describes exactly how this is done within the migration XML code. By understanding this, you understand what types of printers can be migrated and why certain types do not migrate.

High Level Summary

USMT migrates printers based on the component manifests. For example:



Windows 7:


(Note: the manifest files above for Win7 will be relative, depending on OS, CPU architecture, and patch levels. Vista follows the same rules as they have the same type of servicing engine.)

By examining the rules of migration, you see what a given component manifests does for each user.

Specific Methodology with Example

By examining the rules of migration, you see what a given component manifests does for each user. In this case for example:

<rules context="User">
    <pattern type="Registry">HKCU\Printers\DevModes2 [\\*]</pattern>
    <pattern type="Registry">HKCU\Printers\Connections\* [*]</pattern>

The Connections key describes the mapped network printer:

If you examine a Windows XP machine you might believe these local printers should also migrate – they appear in that devmodes2 registry key, which is listed in the XP printer migration manifest:

But these are not the actual printers appeariing in the Printers and Faxes applet, but instead the user-customized settings for these printers. Things like layout or feed tray or printing in color. If you keep looking, you see that the actual local printer settings are stored in two other completely different locations:

Those keys are not included in the XP USMT Manifests. If you examine the manifest that migrates these newer “Printers” keys from Windows 7 or Vista source computers:


And you see it only references that Print\Printers key structure in one spot:

<rules context="System">
 <merge script="MigXmlHelper.SourcePriority()">
    <pattern type="Registry">HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Providers [*]</pattern>
    <pattern type="Registry">HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers [DefaultSpoolDirectory]</pattern>

We only migrate one registry value (DefaultSpoolDirectory). So we get the same effect – local printers are not migrated in any form, from any OS.


This is all by design – we don’t migrate local printers intentionally, because we can’t guarantee drivers and architecture will be the same between computers. The same way we don’t migrate video card drivers or other hardware. Network mapped printer drivers are safe as the client is updated with the print server’s driver when connecting to the printer queue.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 4 and 7 and type the answer here:
  • Post
Wiki - Revision Comment List(Revision Comment)
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
Page 1 of 1 (1 items)
Wikis - Comment List
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
Posting comments is temporarily disabled until 10:00am PST on Saturday, December 14th. Thank you for your patience.
Page 1 of 1 (2 items)