WS2008: The Print Services Role

WS2008: The Print Services Role

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Welcome to Day Eight of our Windows Server 2008 series.  Only nineteen more days to go.  Today we're going to go over some of the basic printing concepts, specifically dealing with the Print Services Role, Role Services and Features in Windows Server 2008.

Print Services is available for installation as a server role on all versions of Windows Server 2008 except the Web Server Edition.  The Print Services Role and the associated services and features may be installed via the new Server Manager console or ServerManagerCMD.exe command-line role management tool.  By default the print spooler service is installed and started on a new installation of Windows Server 2008.  The Print Services server role is not required to install and share printers.  However, installing the role allows the ability to install the dependent role services and manage the local print server using the Server Manager console.  When a printer is shared on the server, firewall exceptions for File and Printer Sharing (ports 137, 138, 139 and 445) are enabled.

When the Print Services role is installed, there are three role services that are available for installation:

Print Server: The Print Server role service is a mandatory role service for the Print Services role.  When the Print Server role is installed, the Print Services Tools Remote Server Administration Tool feature is also installed.  The Print Management Console (PMC) is then accessible from Server Manager, Administrative Tools, or as an MMC snap-in.  Although the installation of the Print Server role service does not require a system restart, the removal of the role service does.

Line Printer Daemon (LPD) Service: The LDP Service is an optional Print Services role service.  The LPD  Service installs and starts the TCP/IP Print Server (LPDSVC) service which is implemented in lpdsvc.dll.  The LPD Service enables UNIX-based computers or other computers using a Line Printer Remote (LPR) port to print to shared printers on the server.  When the LPD Service is installed, an inbound firewall exception for TCP port 515 is created.  There is no configuration necessary for the LPD service, however the installation of the service does require a restart of the Print Spooler service.  This is done automatically.  If the Print Spooler service is stopped or restarted after the LPD Service is installed, the TCP/IP Print Server service is also stopped - and must be restarted manually.  There are no changes in the functionality of the LPD service in Windows Service 2008.

Internet Printing: Internet Printing provides access to shared printers via the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) that is encapsulated in HTTP.  Internet Printing was first introduced in Windows 2000 and was installed by default when the IIS 5.0 component was installed.  It is available on Windows Server 2003, as an optional IIS 6.0 component, but is not installed by default.  In Windows Server 2008, Internet Printing is available as an optional role service for the Print Services role.  In order to install the Internet Printing Role service, the Print Services and Web Server roles must also be installed.

To use Internet Printing from a client computer running Windows Server 2008, the Internet Printing Client optional feature must be installed.  The Internet Printing Client is installed by default on Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.  Internet Printing provides the following functionality:

  • Web-based printer management, which offers the ability to administer, connect to and view printers via a web browser
  • Internet printing, which enables connecting to a printer via the printer's URL

On Windows Server 2008, Internet Printing is installed as a virtual directory named Printers in IIS.  This points to the following physical folder: %windir%\web\printers.  Internet Printing functionality is implemented in the msw3prt.dll ISAPI extension.  This extension performs the majority of the work for Internet Printing including creating and delivering a compressed cabinet file (.cab) containing the printer driver files when a client connects to a web-based printer using the Internet Printing Client.  In other words - Web Point and Print.

We'll go over Internet Printing in greater detail in a future post.  But for the moment, that wraps up our quick look at the Print Services role in Windows Server 2008.  Tomorrow, we'll take a look at XPS support in Windows Server 2008.  Until next time ...

Additional Resources:

- CC Hameed

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