How to Copy a Printer's Configuration to Another Machine

By Nick Peers

Avoid wasting time reconfiguring a printer after you connect it to a different computer by importing its settings from the old computer. Use the PrintUI command in Windows 7 or 8.1 to export all settings to a file and transfer the file to the new computer. Use the same command to import the settings. The printer drivers must be installed on the new computer before you import the configuration. You can find the drivers on the media that came with the device or on the manufacturer's website.

Exporting the Configuration to a File

Step 1

Press "Windows-X" to open the Power User menu and click "Command Prompt" to launch the Command Prompt utility. The default working folder is your user folder.

Step 2

Type "cd Desktop" (without the quotation marks) into the Command Prompt and press "Enter" to change the working directory to the Desktop. You can locate the configuration file quickly on the desktop. In case you changed your default working directory, provide a complete path to get to the desktop: "cd c:\Users\Your_Username\Desktop" and press "Enter." If your default working directory is on a different partition, type "c:" and press "Enter" to change the partition and then change the working directory to Desktop.

Step 3

Type printui.exe /Ss /n "Printer_Name" /a "File_Name" into the Command Prompt. The "/Ss" parameter exports all printer settings to a binary file specified by the "/a" parameter. The "/n" parameter specifies the name of the target printer.

Step 4

Replace "Printer_Name" with the name of the printer. To get the name of the printer, type "Devices and Printers" on the Start screen and click the "Devices and Printers" entry; all installed printers are listed in the Printers and Faxes section. Replace "File_Name" with the name you want to give to the configuration file -- "configuration.dat" for example. Use quotes around the printer name and file name if the names contain more than one word. Press "Enter" to run the command and export all settings to the file and then transfer the file to the second computer and place it on the Desktop.

Importing the Configuration From the File

Step 1

Launch the Command Prompt utility on the second computer and change the working folder to the Desktop using the "cd" command.

Step 2

Type printui.exe /Sr /n "Printer_Name" /a "File_Name" into the Command Prompt. The "/Sr" parameter restores all information contained in the file specified by the "/a" parameter. The "/n" parameter specifies the name of the target printer.

Step 3

Replace "Printer_Name" with the name of the printer. Again, you can get the name from the Printers and Faxes section of the Devices and Printers window. Replace "File_Name" with the name of the file that contains the printer configuration. Again, use quotes around the printer name and file name if the names contain more than one word. Press "Enter" to import the settings from the file.

Step 4

View the settings to ensure everything was imported successfully. Open the Devices and Printers window, right-click the printer and click "Printing Preferences." To view the advanced settings, click the "Advanced" button.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use the PrintUi command to add or delete printers, including network printers. You can also use the command to delete printer drivers from the Command Prompt.
  • To avoid using the Command Prompt, insert the commands in batch files. Create a new text document, type or paste the cd and export or import command, and save the file. Change its extension from TXT to BAT to make it a batch file. Double-click the file to run the commands in the Command Prompt.
  • The printer name is not case-sensitive. However, you must type the name exactly as it appears in the Printers and Faxes section of the Devices and Printers window. If you mistype the name, you get an "Operation could not be completed" error.
  • If C: is not your system partition -- the partition that contains the operating system -- replace "C" with the appropriate letter before you run the commands.