It is possible to move a Plex Media Server installation from one computer/system to another in most cases. It won’t necessarily be possible in all instances. For this article, we’ll refer to the old and new Plex Media Servers as the “Source” and “Destination” installations, respectively.
These instructions are designed for moving between two systems running the same operating system (e.g. Windows to Windows). It is generally possible to move between different operating systems, but that’s more complicated and requires mapping the additional server settings from how they’re stored in one operating system to the other (e.g. mapping Windows registry values to the OS X
plist file). That is not officially supported and not covered here.
Note: If you’re switching between operating systems, it may not be possible to retain all preferences. In all cases, it may not be possible to retain any existing library access that may have been granted to other Plex accounts on the source installation.
Disable Emptying of Trash
On your source Plex Media Server, you’ll want to disable the Empty trash automatically after every scan preference for the server.
Related Page: Library
Install Plex Media Server on the Destination System
Install the Plex Media Server on the new computer/system. If the setup wizard in the browser launches, just exit out.
Related Page: Installation and Basic Setup
Sign Out and Stop the Plex Media Server on the Destination System
After installation is complete on the destination system:
- Sign out of your account under Settings > Server > General in Plex Web App
- Quit/exit the Plex Media Server so that it is no longer running
Copy Server Data From the Source System
You’ll want to make a copy of the content in Plex Media Server data directory from the Source system. First stop/quit/exit Plex Media Server on the Source system.
Tip!: In many cases, you may find it faster to “zip” or “tar” (or similar) the contents of the data directory before transferring them to the destination system. The larger your library, the more useful this may be for you as it could otherwise take a very long time to copy thousands of individual small metadata files.
Tip!: For Windows and Linux systems, you can exclude the
Cache directory if you wish. That can save space and time in the transfer.
See our “Where is the Plex Media Server data directory located?” article for details on where to find the Plex Media Server data directory.
Related Page: Where is the Plex Media Server data directory located?
Copy Additional Server Settings From the Source System
You can also copy some additional settings related to the server that are located elsewhere on the system.
Additional server settings are contained in the Windows registry. You may wish to save/export these registry values on the source system and then import them into the destination system.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Plex, Inc.\Plex Media Server\
Using the Finder’s “Go” menu, select Go To Folder… then enter the following in the dialog box that pops up:
com.plexapp.plexmediaserver.plist plist file, located inside that directory. Place the copied file into the same location on the destination system.
Linux and NAS Devices
The equivalent additional server settings are included in the regular server data directory, so you don’t need to do anything extra for them.
Place on the Destination System
Using the copy of the server data you previously made, place it in the location specified for your operating system.
Note: You’ll need to replace any of the existing files and subdirectories that will be there from the installation you performed earlier.
Tip!: If you zipped/tarred the content earlier, you’ll want to expand it on the destination system before placing it in the appropriate location.
See the earlier details for specific location information for various devices and operating systems.
For Linux/NAS systems, make sure that the directories and contents are all owned by
plex:plex (or whichever user you have running Plex Media Server under).
Reboot the Destination System
This isn’t necessary on all systems, but it can help ensure that anything resident in memory has been cleared out.
Tip!: Rebooting is necessary on macOS systems running macOS Yosemite or newer due to how those versions retain
plist files in memory.
Start the Plex Media Server
Start/launch the Plex Media Server on the destination system now that your old data is in place.
Launch Plex Web App
Open your Plex Web App and you should see your libraries, though your content is unlikely to work yet.
Related Page: Opening Plex Web App
Edit Your Libraries
In order to update the content location for your media, you’ll need to Edit a library and then add the appropriate folder for where your content is located on the destination system. Leave the existing/previous folder location in there for now.
You’ll need to do this for each of your libraries, but you should complete the full process here for a single library before proceeding to do the process for the next library.
Related Page: Editing Libraries
Scan the Library
After adding the new content folder, a scan for the library should start. If not, simply do a normal Scan Library Files.
The server will examine the contents of the new location and associate the content with the existing media items in your library.
Related Pages: Scanning vs Refreshing a Library
Remove Old Content Location
Once everything is completed and you’ve verified that things are working correctly and you can access your content, you can remove the old content location for your libraries. To do so, Edit the library and remove the old/previous folder location.
Related Page: Editing Libraries
You can do some final maintenance to clean things up and ensure your server is running as quickly as possible. Perform the following library actions, in this order (and wait for them to complete before proceeding to the next):
- If you originally disabled the Empty trash automatically after every scan library option, you can turn that back on
- Empty Trash for the server
- Clean Bundles for the server (wait at least a couple of minutes even after the dialog box goes away before proceeding)
- Optimize Database for the server
Tip!: If you’ve enabled Remote Access and have manually forwarded ports in your router, be sure to update your router settings to point to the new device.
Related Page: Library Actions