PRN: Installation/Configuration of a Print Server (Windows 2000 / Windows Server 2003)
Problems with setting up or configuring a print server often fall into one of several categories. Because a typical print server often manages a large number of printers, it must have sufficient Random Access Memory (RAM) to process documents. It is possible that the server could require additional RAM beyond what Windows requires for other tasks. If a print server does not have sufficient RAM for its workload, printing performance could deteriorate.
The print server should also have enough disk space to hold all of the documents sent to it until the server can send them to the print device(s). Documents for which the server has no room remain on the client computer until the server has sufficient space. This process may cause performance deterioration on the client computer.
Windows Server 2003 includes intelligent print services—fault tolerant, discoverable, server-based printing that improves printer reliability, manageability, and security. In addition, both IT administrators and end users benefit from simplified common printing tasks, such as sharing, finding, and connecting to network printers.
Scoping the Issue:
The printer drivers that you select to run on your Windows 2000/2003 print server can have a great impact on its performance, reliability, and scalability. Scalability is affected by the quantity of unique drivers on a specific server. By reusing the same driver for multiple printers, you lower the chances that drivers will interact in a negative way and reduce the amount of spooler process and registry space used. The following types of drivers are recommended for achieving the optimal performance, reliability, and scalability goals:
- User-mode drivers
- Unidrv-based drivers
- PostScript drivers
- Drivers with the Designed for Windows logo
The following driver types should be avoided unless there are no other options:
- Kernel-mode or Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 drivers
- Monolithic drivers (that is, neither a Unidrv nor PostScript-based driver)
- Drivers without the Designed for Windows logo (unsigned drivers)
Unidrv and Postscript are the standard, well-tested core rendering engines included in Windows Server. In addition, there is a core plotter driver in Windows Server 2003 which a few drivers use. All drivers included on the Windows Server 2003 CD are based on the PostScript, plotter or Unidrv-based drivers, the majority of which were written in conjunction with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and are also available on the IHVs independent Web sites. These full-featured drivers are supported by both Microsoft and the IHVs.
Because approximately 3,800 drivers based on Unidrv or PostScript are included on the Windows Server 2003 CD and have been thoroughly tested by Microsoft, the IHVs, and multiple customers, these core engines have been proven to be reliable and stable. Drivers based on these engines are less likely to have problems than those based on monolithic engines.
To determine whether a driver you have installed is using the Unidrv or Postscript rendering engines, do the following:
- Click Start, and then choose the Printers Folder.
- Click File, and then click Server Properties.
- Click the Drivers tab.
- Select a driver, and then click Properties.
- Look at the Driver File list box of in the Driver Properties dialog box. If UNIDRV.DLL or PSCRIPT5.DLL appears, the driver is using one of these rendering engines.
The “Designed for Windows” logo identifies hardware and software products that have been designed and tested to meet Microsoft standards for compatibility with the Windows Server 2003 operating system. Products displaying the logo have passed rigorous testing that assures they are easy to use, stable, and take advantage of the new features of Windows Server 2003. Hardware is tested to specifications set by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL).
Businesses that use products meeting the Designed for Windows logo criteria stand to gain the following benefits:
- Lower support costs: Drivers with the logo follow standard Windows look-and-feel guidelines. A consistent UI helps users get up to speed without phoning the help desk.
- Help manage “DLL Hell”: Drivers with the logo do not overwrite other drivers or uninstall key components.
- Proper use of operating system: Products with the logo make proper use of the Windows registry and other key operating system files.
- Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other equal rights legislation: Products with the logo meet usability standards for a wide range of people.
Install a Windows Server 2003 Print Server
Install File and Printer Sharing
By default, a Windows Server 2003-based computer is installed with Client for Microsoft Networks, File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, and TCP/IP.
How to Install a Print Server on Windows Server 2003 by Using the Configure Your Server Wizard
1. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Configure Your Server Wizard.
2. Click Next.
3. Click Next.
4. Click Print server in the Server role box, and then click Next.
5. On the “Printers and Printer Drivers” page, click the types of Windows clients that your print server will support, and then click Next.
6. Click Next.
7. On the “Add Printer Wizard Welcome” page, click Next.
8. Click Local printer attached to this computer, click to clear the Automatically detect and install my Plug and Play printer check box, and then click Next.
9. Click the port for your printer, and then click Next.
10. Click the printer make and model or provide the drivers from the printer manufacturer media, and then click Next.
NOTE: If you are prompted to keep or not keep your existing printer driver, either keep the existing driver or replace the existing driver. If you replace the driver, you must provide the manufacturer driver for this printer. Click Next to continue.
11. Accept the default name of the printer or provide a different name, and then click Next.
12. Click the Share as option, type the share name, and then click Next.
NOTE: This step is optional because you can share the printer later.
13. You may provide the location of the printer and a comment to make it easier to locate. Click Next to continue.
14. Click the Print a test page option, click Next, and then click Finish to quit the Add Printer Wizard. Your printer appears in the Printers and Faxes folder.
How to Share a Printer
1. Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.
2. Right-click the printer that you just installed, and then click Sharing.
3. Click Share this printer, and then type a share name for the printer.
4. Optionally, click Additional Drivers, click the operating systems of the client computers that may attach to this printer, and then click OK. By adding drivers for these operating systems, users on client computers can connect to the print server and automatically download the appropriate drivers for this model of printer without having to configure anything.
5. When you are prompted to do so, insert the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM.
6. Click OK to close the printer properties.
7. Close the Printers and Faxes folder.
How to Manually Install a Print Server on Windows Server 2003
1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers.
2. Double-click Add Printer to start the Add Printer Wizard.
3. To complete the Add Printer Wizard, repeat steps 7 through 14 in the “Install a Windows Server 2003 Print Server” section of this article.
NOTE: The only difference between the manual installation of the print server and the use of the Configure Your Server Wizard to create the print server is how you start the Add Printer Wizard.
MPS Reports are generally all that is needed to begin troubleshooting print issues, as this will include event logs, print keys in the registry that reveal printer configuration information as well as driver files and versions.
The link to download MPS Reports is here:
For more information, see the Print Server Upgrade, Migration, and Interoperability white paper at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/technologies/fileandprint/print/default.asp
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Windows 2003 Print Services
How To Configure Internet Printing in Windows 2000
Managing network printing in a Windows environment
Users cannot print after you install a service pack, update rollup, or printer hotfix on a server in Windows 2000 or in Windows Server 2003