2012-05-16

WServerNews - Printing Pitfalls

Vol. 17, #20 - May 14, 2012 - Issue #879

Printing Pitfalls

The Print server role isn't one of the sexier roles of Windows Servers, which probably explains why the Windows Printing Team Blog hasn't been updated for over two years:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642423961
But since the much-vaunted paperless office still hasn't arrived for most of us, print servers are still essential in most business environments. Security improvements like UAC in Windows Vista and later, coupled with the phase-out of 32-bit servers with Windows Server 2008, have led to some frustrations in the formerly benign and placid area of getting stuff printed. Let's look at a few issues and how to resolve them.

Installing drivers from print servers
Allowing standard users (i.e. users who aren't local admins on their computers) to install print drivers from print servers can be done by enabling and configuring this Group Policy setting:
Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Printers\Point and Print Restrictions
Specify the names of trusted print servers on your network and configure the two security prompt settings to Do not Show Warning Or Elevation Prompt. And if you still have Windows XP clients in your environment, you should configure the similarly named policy setting found under User Configuration.
For more information see "Control Printer Driver Installation Security" in the TechNet Library at:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642444305

Using Windows 7 x64 with legacy 32-bit print servers
If your current environment is still Windows XP PCs and 32-bit Windows Server 2003 SP2 servers (yikes) and you plan on migrating your PCs to Windows 7 x64 but keeping your old servers for a while (yikes again!), will your 64-bit Windows 7 users have any problems printing to your 32-bit print servers?  
Nope. As long as you add 64-bit drivers for your printers to your print servers (if your dusty old printers have 64-bit drivers available for them) everything should be OK.
For more info, see the post "How to: Add 64-bit print drivers on 32-bit Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 print server" from awhile back on the TechNet blog called "The troubleshooters and problem solvers" at:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642529133

Migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 print servers when you still have Windows XP clients
What if your current environment is Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 and you plan on using the Print Migration Wizard (Printbrm.exe) to migrate your print servers to Windows Server 2008 R2 while keeping at least some of your clients running Windows XP for a bit longer? (Hmm, you like playing with fire, don't you--I'll bet you're still driving an 82 Datsun too.) Do you need to make any changes to your Windows XP clients or can they just keep their current print drivers since you're not changing the printers, just the print servers?
Yep. You'll need to delete all printer connections and driver references on your Windows XP clients and create new printer connections for them. To do this you'll probably need to do some custom scripting that leverages the Prnmngr.vbs and Prndrvr.vbs scripts. See here for a list of in-box commands and scripts in Windows 7:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642608821
Also see the Print Services Migration Guide in the TechNet Library:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642587759

Enumerating the drivers on a Windows installation
How can I know what printer drivers are available in-box in Windows? And how about out-of-box drivers? Michael Murgolo of The Deployment Guys blog has a script and post that shows you how to obtain this information:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642594821
This could be useful if you're planning a print server migration for your environment.

Print/Fax Forum on TechNet
Finally, if you have printing problems in your Windows Server environment, a good place to seek help is the Print/Fax TechNet Forum, which is maintained by MVPs and by Product Group experts at Microsoft:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1336642600415

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