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Microsoft Windows 2000 Print Servers and Drivers John Clavin Program Manager Printing and Imaging Group Microsoft Corpor PowerPoint Presentation
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Microsoft Windows 2000 Print Servers and Drivers John Clavin Program Manager Printing and Imaging Group Microsoft Corporation Agenda Demystifying printer drivers Migrating a Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0 print server to Windows® 2000 Point and print – what is it really?

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Microsoft Windows 2000 Print Servers and DriversJohn ClavinProgram ManagerPrinting and Imaging GroupMicrosoft Corporation

  • Demystifying printer drivers
  • Migrating a Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0 print server to Windows® 2000
  • Point and print – what is it really?
  • Deployment and interoperability
  • New features in the Windows .NET Server Family
  • Sources of information and documentation for print servers
non agenda
  • Print server scalability
  • Microsoft Active Directory® integration
  • Print server clustering
what is a printer driver
What Is a Printer Driver?
  • A software interface between the graphics engine and the device
    • Rendering (drawing) instructions
    • User interface (UI) interaction
  • Configured by UI settings / bidirectional communications
    • Duplexer? yes/no
  • Drawing input is from the application through the Graphics Device Interface (GDI)
  • Drawing output is to the printer, through the spooler and port drivers, in device ready format
    • PostScript, PCL, and others
simplified flow of information from click to clunk


Graphics Engine

Print Driver


Port Driver

Printing Device

Simplified Flow of Information from Click to Clunk
types of printer drivers kernel mode vs user mode
Types of Printer DriversKernel Mode vs. User Mode
  • Kernel mode versus user mode


    • Windows NT 4.0 versus Windows 2000


    • Version 2 versus version 3
  • Kernel mode
    • Runs very close to main operating system instructions
    • Has some performance advantages, but if the driver stops responding, then the kernel stops responding, which means a greater risk of blue screens occurring
types of printer drivers 2 kernel mode vs user mode
Types of Printer Drivers (2)Kernel Mode vs. User Mode
  • User mode
    • Operates at the level of the operating system designed for applications
      • If it stops responding, it can crash the spooler and printing will stop, but the server as a whole is likely to still be running
    • Can use “Net Start Spooler” to restart the spooler and continue printing, but be cautious because a bad driver may crash the spooler all over again
types of printer drivers 3 kernel mode vs user mode
Types of Printer Drivers (3)Kernel Mode vs. User Mode
  • Printer drivers advertised as "Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000" are kernel-mode drivers
  • Printer drivers advertised as “Windows 2000 or Windows XP” are typically user-mode drivers
  • A well written kernel-mode printer driver can work perfectly well on Windows 2000 and Windows XP
    • Windows 2000 is more careful about memory management
    • If a kernel-mode driver does not work, the effects can be more serious
types of printer drivers monolithic vs in box
Types of Printer Drivers Monolithic vs. "In-Box"
  • Monolithic printer driver
    • A complete printer driver that interprets calls from the graphics engine
    • All UI and rendering handled by IHV-supplied code
  • "In-box" printer driver
    • Driver built to work with Microsoft-supplied printer driver components
    • Unidrv, Pscript, and Rasdd, communicate with the graphics engine
    • Rendering and UI are mostly handled by Microsoft components
      • Drivers can provide call-back points, rendering code, and UI code to modify the data flow in the core drivers
types of printer drivers 2 monolithic vs in box
Types of Printer Drivers (2)Monolithic vs. "In-Box"
  • The term "in-box" driver should refer only to those drivers native to Windows
  • With Windows 2000 and Windows XP, however, many IHVs have written drivers using the in-box driver architecture and distributed these drivers on their own Website or CDs
    • These drivers have sometimes been called system drivers, generic drivers, Microsoft architecture drivers, Unidrv drivers, and other similar terms
types of printer drivers 3 monolithic vs in box
Types of Printer Drivers (3)Monolithic vs. "In-Box"
  • Historically, monolithic drivers have been more full featured (extra half-toning options, finishers, and others) and those supplied in the box have been more robust and reliable, and offered better interoperability with different versions of the operating system
  • This is changing – the move to user mode has increased robustness for all drivers and a close partnership between Microsoft and printer manufacturers has made the in-box drivers more full featured
    • In Windows 2000, most printer drivers were written by Microsoft with some help from the printer manufacturers, while some were written by the manufacturers with help from Microsoft
    • In Windows XP, all the new drivers were written by the printer's manufacturer
which drivers should i use
Which Drivers Should I Use?







Kernel-mode/Windows NT 4.0 – only for Windows NT 4.0 client interoperation




All in-box drivers are Unidrv/PostScript user mode.

Most are supplied by print vendors. Microsoft does not write printer drivers.

Also available on vendor’s Web site.


Windows .NET Server does support Windows NT 4.0 drivers. Microsoft recommends using these only to support Windows NT 4.0 clients.

Kernel-mode blocking policy must be disabled to load.

select the right connectivity
Select the Right Connectivity

Server to Device

Client to Server


Standard port monitor

USB for local


Point and print (RPC)


SMB – redirected local ports






print server configuration
Print Server Configuration
  • Hardware requirements
    • Types and number of clients
    • Types and number of printers
    • Types of drivers
    • Job types and frequency
  • Sizing recommendations
    • Statistics coming out this summer
    • Sizing rules
  • Spool directory on separate drive
    • Separate partition gains reliability
    • Separate physical drive gains performance
printer configuration
Printer Configuration
  • Use standard naming conventions
    • Printer name, port name, share name, location, and comment
  • Configure device installable options
  • Printer security options
  • Availability/scheduling
  • Policies
    • Kernel-mode driver blocking
    • Users can install print drivers (point and print)
    • Load/unload device drivers (needed for local printer installation – power users and administrators)
    • Others
point and print
Point and Print
  • A mechanism for creating a managed connection from a printing client to a print server, typically over a network
    • Driver originates on the server (=> controlled source)
    • Clients connect to the share name (by clicking Run on the Start menu or a similar method)
    • Multiple clients connected to the server
      • Changes to settings on the server are reflected in the view from the client
        • For example, if you add a duplex unit to the printer and modify the driver settings on the server to reflect the new hardware, the client's driver settings auto-update to reflect the new device configuration
point and print 2
Point and Print (2)
  • Point and print driver stack
    • Designed to support other clients (Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, Windows 98, 64-bit)
    • Windows NT 4.0 and 64-bit drivers must have the same name as the primary driver
    • Windows 95 and Windows 98 drivers can have any name
  • Setting changes on the server (device configuration, printing defaults) are vended to Windows NT-based clients
non point and print connections
Non- Point and Print Connections
  • Local printer
    • Printing to a printer connected directly to the printing PC via USB / parallel / serial
  • Masquerading connections
    • Install drivers locally (add printer wizard), but direct output to a printer share (\\servername\printershare)
    • Not a managed network printing connection
  • Direct Network printing
    • Install drivers locally, and direct output to an IP address.
    • The type of connection a print server should use
windows nt 4 0 client interoperability
Windows NT 4.0 Client Interoperability
  • Changes in driver architecture after Windows NT 4.0 can cause problems
  • Tread carefully here!
  • Our recommendations:
    • Minimize transitional period in deployment
    • Options:
      • Use a Windows NT 4.0 driver as the primary driver to support all Windows NT-based clients
      • Get a user-mode/kernel-mode driver stack that was tested by the printer manufacturer
      • Use a PostScript user-mode/kernel-mode driver stack
    • When Windows NT 4.0 clients are gone, remove the Windows NT 4.0 drivers
process steps
Process Steps
  • Run Fixprnsv.exe on Windows NT 4.0 servers
  • Use Print Migrator 3.0 to migrate the print environment to Windows .NET Server
  • Fix any orphaned printers
  • Replace kernel-mode drivers with user-mode drivers if Windows NT 4.0 client interoperability is not required
    • When Windows NT 4.0 client migration is complete, finish replacing all kernel-mode drivers with user-mode drivers
  • Re-map the client connections
fixprnsv exe run on windows nt 4 0 server before migration
Fixprnsv.exeRun on Windows NT 4.0 Server Before Migration
  • Located on the Windows .NET Server CD in the Printers directory
  • Run before upgrading
    • Diagnoses potential problems
    • Replaces known "bad" IHV monolithic drivers with Unidrv 5.4 drivers
  • Reads data from Printupg.inf
fixprnsv exe syntax
Fixprnsv.exe Syntax
  • Fixprnsv [/diag] [/upg] [/q] [/?]
    • Default: Replace bad drivers with Windows NT 4.0 Unidrv if they exist. Preserve server for use as it is (without being upgraded) with Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP clients
    • /diag: Diagnose the server.
    • /upg: Install Windows .NET Server drivers, prepare server to be upgraded, and still support as many clients as possible.
    • /q: Quiet mode with no user intervention.
    • /?: Help.
print migrator 3 0
Print Migrator 3.0
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Print Services

  • Supports
    • Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 or Windows .NET Server printer migration
    • Cluster support
    • LPR to SPM port conversion
  • Usage
    • Creates a .cab file from original server
    • Restores the printers in the .cab file to new server
    • Supports consolidation or replacement
windows nt 4 0 server upgrades upgrading printers with bad drivers
Windows NT 4.0 Server UpgradesUpgrading Printers with Bad Drivers
  • Run Fixprnsv.exe
  • Local printers
    • Replace with in-box driver
    • If none are available, printer is removed
  • Connections will be removed
    • Cannot use in-box driver with server
  • Actions written into Setuperr.log
best practices
Best Practices
  • Minimize transition period between Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000
  • If Windows NT 4.0 clients still exist:
    • Use Windows NT 4.0 primary drivers
    • Use PostScript
  • Delete Windows NT 4.0 drivers when clients are upgraded
  • Look for drivers with WHQL logo
  • Use Standard Port Monitor
  • Use separate disk for spool directory
new windows net server printing features
New Windows .NET Server Printing Features
  • Drivers, drivers, drivers
    • 4000+ printer drivers ship with Windows .NET Server
    • Improved driver robustness and quality
  • Kernel-mode driver blocking
  • WMI provider and in-box scripts
  • Print cluster driver installation
  • Performance improvements
  • 64-bit printing support
wmi print provider
WMI Print Provider
  • WMI print provider in Windows XP and Windows .NET Server
  • WMIC alias interface
  • Provides driver, port, job, and printer configuration/management
  • Six in-box scripts for command-line management without a GUI (\\windows\system32)
    • Prnqctl – pause, resume, purge, and print test page
    • Prnport – enum, add, remove tcpmon ports
    • Prnmngr – add, remove, list printers and connections
    • Prnjobs – pause, resume, cancel, list jobs
    • Prndrvr – enum, add, remove drivers
    • Prncnfg – set printer configuration (share, location, name, and so on)
windows net server print server summary
Windows .NET ServerPrint Server Summary
  • Easy to install, deploy, and manage, which leads to increased productivity
  • Reliable, scalable, and better performance
  • Best business value multifunction server
additional printing resources
Additional Printing Resources
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Print Services
    • Print Migrator 3.0
    • Print server upgrade and migration white paper
    • Choosing the right printer drivers white paper
    • Print server scalability white paper
    • Several other print technology overviews, white papers, and links to relevant Microsoft Knowledge Base articles
  • Newsgroups
    • Microsoft.public.windowsXP.print_fax
    • Microsoft.public.win2000.printing
  • MSDN and Windows Driver Development Kits for a very detailed technical view
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