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To understand printing in Windows XP, it
is important to understand the differences and relationship
between a print device and a printer.
- A print device is the physical
printer. This printing device can be connected directly
to the print server using a serial, parallel or IR connection
for example. A print device can also be a network printer
with a built-in or external network interface.
- A printer is the icon in the
Printers folder that represents the software interface between
applications and the physical print device.
Multiple printers can exist for a single
print device. This is typically done to allow different priorities
for specific security groups. For example, in a small company
with a Sales and Marketing department, two printers could
be created for one high-capacity network print device. One
printer would be configured with a priority of 50, and assigned
Print permissions for the Sales group. Another printer would
be created and configured with a priority of 1, and assigned
Print permissions for the Marketing group. This configuration
would prevent members from the Sales group from having to
wait on their utmost important reports because of a large
graphical brochure is printed by the Marketing department.
The lowest priority that can be configured for a printer is
1, the highest is 99.
Additionally, a single printer can point
to multiple print devices, this is called a printer pool.
Printer pooling allows clients to print to a printer that
will forward the print job to an available print device, allowing
heavy workload to be divided over multiple print devices.
The print devices in the printing pool must use the same driver.
An important component of the Windows XP
printing services is the Spooler. When client send
print job to the print server, the spooler on the server processes
and stores the job until the print device is available. The
location for the print spooler can be changed on the Advanced
tab of the Print Server properties, which can be accessed
through the File menu in the Printers folder. The default
location is %systemroot%\system32\spool\PRINTERS.
Install and connect to a print device
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Windows XP provides several ways to connect
to a printer, depending on the client version and software.
The Add Printer wizard allows you to create printers for the
following print devices:
- Local print devices directly attached
to a serial, parallel, USB, FireWire, IR, or SCSI port on
the computer. USB, FireWire and Infra Red connected printers
can usually be installed using plug & play, hence without
restarting the computer.
- Remote print devices directly connected
to the network. These are equipped with either a built-in
network interface, or attached to an external network adapter.
The most typical examples are printers with a HP JetDirect
card or Intel Netport.
- Remote print devices connected to a remote
print server. These are typically printers shared on a Windows
Only members of the Administrators are allowed
to install Local printers. The options provided by the Add
Printer wizard may seem a bit confusingat first; to create
a printer for a remote network print device, you
need to choose the option: Local printer attached to this
computer. Only for print devices that are connected to
a remote print server you must choose the option:
A network printer. This is the option used on clients
to connect to a shared printer on a Windows 2000/2003 server
If you choose to create a Local printer the
wizard can automatically detect and install directly attached
plug and play print devices when you enable the Automatically
detect and install my Plug and Play printer check box.
Clear the check box, if you want to add a local printer for
a remote network print device, or if you want to choose the
manufacturer and printer type, and install drivers manually.
By using the Local
printer option, you can select an existing port (i.e. LPT,
COM, and FILE port), or create a new port. The latter is typically
used for remote network print devices. The new type of port
dictates the protocol that should be used for communication
between the print server and the print device. Most networks
today use TCP/IP as the primary protocol, and virtually all
modern network printers support it. Hence, the most common
type of local ports, for network printers, is the Standard
To add a Standard TCP/IP port, select
Create New Port (after you selected Local printer
and clicked next), and select Standard TCP/IP port from the
Type of port list. When you click Next, the Add
Standard TCP/IP Printer Port Wizard starts, where
you need to provide a host name or an IP address of the network
printer and a name for the port. The name of the port defaults
to the host name.
If you installed the optional Other Network File and Print
Services component Print Services for Unix,
you can also select an LPR port from the Type of port
list. An LPR port can be used to create a printer for a print
device connected to a UNIX print server or a network printer
with LPD support. The line printer daemon (LPD) is the server
part, the line printer remote (LPR) is the client part. When
you add an LPR port, you must supply the IP address or host
name of the UNIX print server or the printer itself. Additionally,
you must enter the name of the print queue on the UNIX server,
or the name of the network printer.
The DLC protocol is no longer part of Windows
XP, hence the DLC printer port that was used to connect to
older Hewlett Packard JetDirect cards is not available either.
After you created a printer for one of the
Local ports mentioned above and provided the required information,
the driver will be installed. You may need to choose the model
and insert the Windows XP Professional product CD-ROM or a
If you want to create a printer for a remote
network printer shared on another Windows computer, use the
Network Printer option in the Add Printer Wizard.
When you click Next, you will be presented with the
following three options:
- Browse for a printer.
- Connect to a printer by using an UNC
path. For example: \\printserver\printershare
- Connect to a printer by using an URL.
Windows XP Professional will automatically
download the drivers from the print server if required.
If you want to connect to a shared printer on Windows XP,
using DOS, Windows 3.x, or from a DOS (16-bit) application
under Windows, you need to map an LPT port to the UNC path
using the NET command. For example: net use Lpt3 \\printserver\printershare
Printing and IIS
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When IIS is installed on the Windows print
server, i.e. a Windows XP Professional print 'server', the
print server and the connected printers can be managed from
any client by using a web browser. The web interface allows
you to perform the same tasks as with the regular printer
management tools. Additionally, the web interface can be used
to show the list of all printers on a print server and, if
the printer driver supports it, their status. The URL is http://servername/printers.
If you want to connect to a printer directly, to manage print
jobs for example, use the URL http://servername/sharename,
where sharename is the name of the shared printer.
IIS also supports the Internet Printing
Protocol (IPP), which allows clients to print to
an URL instead of an UNC path. The URL is http://servername/printers/sharename/.printer.
Clients running Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 and later
with IPP printing support can print to the Internet printers.
All versions of Windows 2000, XP and 2003 have IPP printing
support, and it is available as an add-on for Microsoft Windows
95 and Microsoft Windows 98 clients. Windows 9x-based clients
need an internet printing client from the Windows 2000 Server
CD-ROM (\clients\win9xipp.cli\wpnpins.exe). When you connect
to a Windows XP Internet print server using the "Connect
to an Internet Printer" option in the Add Printer Wizard,
the port is automatically installed as an HTTP printer
port. IPP packets are transferred using HTTP.
Another way to for users to connect to a shared printer is
the Point and Print option. Point and Print allows users to
install a printer by right-clicking the printer in the Printers
folder of a print server in the Network Neighborhood, and
then clicking Connect. The printer will be installed, if necessary
the drivers are downloaded and installed and the printer will
be ready for use.
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If you didn't choose to share the printer
while using the Add Printer wizard, you can manually enable
and configure sharing on the Sharing tab of the printer's
Properties, by selecting Share this printer
and entering a name for the shared printer. As with shared
folders, you can put a $ sign at the end of the name, hiding
it effectively from the browse list in Network Neighborhood.
When clients running versions other than
Windows 2000 or XP will use the shared printer, you can install
all the appropriate drivers (i.e. Windows 95/98, Windows NT
4, etc.) on your computer, so those clients will download
the drivers automatically when they connect to the network
printer. To install drivers for other Windows versions, click
the Additional Drivers button on the Sharing
tab. When you install the first shared printer, the %systemroot%\System32\Spool\Drivers
folder is shared as Print$. Clients download the drivers from
this hidden share.
Shared Access Permissions
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The Security tab of the printer's
Properties allows you to control access to printers
by allowing or denying the following permissions:
||Allows users to connect
to the printer, and print and manage their own print jobs.
This is the default permission assigned to the Everyone
||Allows a user to print
and manage their own print job as well as other users'
print jobs. This includes pausing, restarting and removing
print jobs from the print queue.
||Allows a user to configure
and remove the printer, share the printer and set permissions
for the Printer, in addition to all task allowed by Manage
Documents. Administrators and Power Users have Manage
Printer permission by default.
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The Device Settings tab of the printer
's Properties usually allows you to choose the form,
i.e. Letter, A4, A5, and additionally, configure device specific
settings and information such as font cards and memory.
On the Advanced tab of the printer 's Properties
you can configure the printer to allow printing only during
certain hours of the day, configure the priority for the printer,
and configure spooler settings. Separator pages can be created
or a default for PCL or PostScript can be used; check the
system32 folder for files with the .sep extension. To select
a separator page, click the Separate Page button
on the Advanced tab of the printer 's Properties
to browse for a .sep file.
The Ports tab allows you to manually
add, delete and configure printer ports. If the Enable
printer pooling check box is enabled, you can select
multiple ports associating multiple print devices with the
same printer. The port for a printer can be changed even when
there are documents in the print queue. This can be useful
when a print device fails and you want to redirect the print
jobs to another device. To redirect the print jobs, Pause
the printer, and change the port on the Ports tab
to an identical print device.
Manage print jobs
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Users with Print permissions are able to
manage their own print jobs, and user with Manage Documents
permissions are able to manage all print jobs. Following are
the common tasks related to print jobs in a queue, and are
available from the Document menu in the printer's
- Pause - This will pause the print
job, which will remain in the queue.
- Resume - This will resume a paused
- Restart - This will restart a
print job from the first page. This is especially useful
when a mechanical problem occurred, i.e. the print out got
stuck in the print device.
- Cancel - This will cancel a print
job and remove it from the queue. Any data already send
to the print device will be printed.
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Troubleshooting printer problems is probably
every system admin's least favorite task. Following are some
of the most common printer problems and their solutions:
- When paper gets stuck in a print device,
Pause the printer, remove and replace the paper
and Restart the job. This will start the job from
- If the output is garbled, the printer
driver probably doesn't match the print device.
- If everything seems to be correctly connected
and configured but print jobs are not directed to the print
device, a common solution is to restart the Spooler service.
- In case of excessive hard disk drive activity,
you may need to add more RAM to process the print jobs.
If the print job is not processed at all, you may need to
change the location of the spooler to a disk with sufficient
free disk space.
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For more information about printing in Windows XP:
and Faxing - Windows XP Professional Product Documentation
Printing and Faxing - Windows XP Professional Resource Kit