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Network Printers and Small Business Server

March 16, 2007

I recently discovered that I did not really understand how to install our new network printer so that it (i) could be used independent of another PC and (ii) so that drivers for other PCs on the network would be installed automatically.

I had previously installed the printer drivers on a PC and published the printer to Active Directory. I learned that this only allows the printer to be shared through the PC tha published the printer, with the result that if the publishing PC wasn’t on, no other PC could print to that printer.

Instead, I discovered that the best approach is to add the printer on the Windows Server 2003 box (in may case SBS 2003). This way any PC on the network can use the printer (although presumably only if the SBS 2003 box is on– although it always is on). Similarly, the printer is automatically made available to all the PCs that are part of the domain.

Interestingly, Vista machines are able to use the printer just fine even though I never added any special Vista drivers on the Windows 2003 box. This appears to be by design.

In figuring out the correct way to install the printer, I found this information from Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 Print Services page to be quite helpful.

 

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From → SBS

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