Move an Install to Another System

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.

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 much 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 Server Sharing that may have been set up on the source installation.

Preparation

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: Plex Media Server > Server Settings > 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: Plex Media Server > Installation and Basic Setup

Sign Out and Stop the Plex Media Server on the Destination System

After installation is complete on the destination system:

  1. Sign out of your account under Settings > Server > General in Plex Web App
  2. Quit/exit the Plex Media Server so that it is no longer running

Copy From the Source System

You'll want to make a copy of the content in the directory listed below for your operating 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.

Windows

On Windows, the content is located inside of the user directory.

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Plex Media Server\

Registry

Additional server settings are contained in the registry. You may wish to save/export these registry values to import into the destination system.

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Plex, Inc\Plex Media Server

OS X

Using the Finder's "Go" menu, select Go To Folder... then enter the following in the dialog box that pops up:

~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/

Additional server settings are contained in a plist file. Also copy:

~/Library/Preferences/com.plexapp.plexmediaserver.plist

Linux and NAS Devices

See our companion article for details on where to find the Plex Media Server data directory. Make sure the preferences.xml file in the Plex Media Server folder is included. It contains the equivalent of the registry settings in Windows.

Related Page: Where is the Plex Media Server data directory located?

Place on the Destination System

Using the copy of the content 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 OS X systems running OS X 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: Plex Media Server > Using Plex Web App > Opening Plex Web App

Sign Out and Back in to the Server

Under Settings > Server > General in Plex Web App, sign out of the server (if you're signed in) and then sign back in. This will update connection information for your apps to use and will also ensure you have a valid certificate to make use of secure connections.

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 probably complete the process for one at a time.

Related Page: Plex Media Server > Libraries > Editing Libraries

Update the Library

After adding the new content folder, an update for the library should start. If not, simply do a normal Update Library.

The server will examine the contents of the new location and associate the content with the existing media items in your library.

Related Pages: Server > Libraries > Update or Refresh 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: Plex Media Server > Libraries > Editing Libraries

Final Maintenance

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):

  1. If you originally disabled the Empty trash automatically after every scan setting, you can turn that back on
  2. Empty Trash for the server
  3. Clean Bundles for the server (wait at least a couple of minutes even after the dialog box goes away before proceeding)
  4. 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: Plex Media Server > Libraries > Library Actions