Installing Windows Vista Print Drivers on Windows Server 2003

Installing Windows Vista Print Drivers on Windows Server 2003

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Good Morning AskPerf!  My name is John Dickson, and I am a Support Escalation Engineer on the Performance team in Texas.  Today we are going to discuss a scenario that is a common one as companies continue to deploy Windows Vista in their environment.  How do I deploy print drivers for Windows Vista onto a Windows Server 2003 print server?  We’re going to walk through the installation of the print drivers today.  Let’s dive right in, shall we?

There are two ways to install drivers, through the Vista Print Management Console or by opening a path to the Print Server Properties (\\Servername\Printers).  In either instance, File and Printer Sharing must be enabled and the appropriate ports have to be opened on the Vista Firewall.  Let’s start out by adding Vista drivers via the Print Management Console.

To load Vista x86 drivers on a Windows Server 2003 x86 print server, the steps must be performed from the Windows Vista machine by connecting to the Windows Server 2003 print server.

  1. Open the Print Management Console from Windows Vista SP1. Click the Vista button and type Print Management. Add the Windows Server 2003 Print server by Right Clicking Print Servers - Add/Remove Servers....


  2. Add the Windows Server 2003 Print Server


  3. Once, you’ve added the print server, select it in the Print Management Console (expand it), right click Drivers.  Click on Add Print Driver, click Next at the first screen of the wizard (shown below)


  4. Choose Processor Type, which in this case is x86 then click Next


  5. This will pull up the drivers on the Windows Vista machine (not the Windows Server 2003 Print Server)


  6. Choose the Microsoft Vista Inbox driver to install on the Windows Server 2003 Print Server
  7. Click Finish and this will copy the drivers to the Windows Server 2003 Print Server. Notice the driver version is 6.0.6000.xxxx which is how we know this is a Windows Vista / Windows Server 2008 Inbox driver.


As you can see, the procedure is not as daunting as you first might have thought!  It is actually fairly straightforward.  You can also add the drivers to the Print Server by opening a path to the Windows Server 2003 Server Printers share via \\Servername\Printers from the Windows Vista machine.

  1. Right Click Printers then select Server Properties


  2. The Print Server Properties page will be displayed and we need to click Drivers tab. From here we will click ADD.. to bring up the Add Printer Driver Wizard. (Notice we have a x64 driver on a x86 Windows Server 2003 Print Server)


  3. Click next and choose the processor architecture then printer driver. In this step, we will add a Dell Laser Printer x64 driver to the Windows Server 2003 Print Server which is running a 32-bit operating system (x86 architecture).



  4. The easiest way to see that Windows Vista drivers are installed on Windows Server 2003 is to use the Windows Vista SP1 / Windows Server 2008 Print Management Console which will show the processor architecture and Driver Version as seen below:


And that’s it!  Two fairly simple methods to deploy Windows Vista / Windows Server 2008 drivers to a Windows Server 2003 print server.  Hopefully this helps you out as you continue to deploy Windows Vista in your environment,

- John Dickson

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  • Hi all. Thanks for the info.

    I have a follow up question about renaming the printer within the .inf file.  I see over 100 references to the printer name. Do I rename them all?

    When you say naviagte to the folder where the x64 drivers are, you mean on the client machine (in my case a win 7)?

    Next step is to follow the elegant procudure above to install the printer drivers from the win 7 client to the server print server, correct?

    Thanks all!

  • It doesn't work.   I tried it exactly as posted above.  Tried many, many times just to make sure I was doing it correctly.  Firewall is off on my client and the driver names match.   MS needs to address this or there is absolutely no advantage to using a MS print server.

  • It would be helpful if you would privide a Print version of this page.  Always hard for me to understand why Microsoft does not include a print option for many of their technet articles.  

  • I've done the same as Nembo; 2003 server, xp and 7 clients (roaming profiles too) but the server is now not able to print, as the xp clients too.  I am using tcp/ip printing with an HP 4050tn, but the xp clients and server want to use the universal printer driver.  I've tried adding and removing the drivers from the server, and each time the jobs just hang in the spooler!  

    The win7 clients can print, but they too have errors, and can't use the duplexer when doing test print or double sided.  

  • Just got this to work myself and here is what I had to do:

    1.  Loaded the x64 UPD v5.1 drivers using the Print Management console from my Windows 7 client (I'm domain administrator w/ RSAT tools loaded)

    2.  On Windows Server 2003 R2 print server I opened print properties of my HP 4050 printer and loaded the new 32 bit UPD v5.1 print driver directly on the print server.

    Prior to doing #2 I wasn't able to see that the x64 print drivers had loaded when looking at the "additional drivers" page in print properties but after doing #2 they showed up and I was able to find the printer from a Windows 7 client and it automatically loaded the drivers.

    Conclusion-  either the print server requires that the 32 bit version of the UPD driver be installed on the print server before the 64 bit UPD driver works or I just got really lucky on this one!!

  • Thomas - thanks for the suggestion, that worked perfectly for me.  I replaced all instances of the incorrect print driver name with the correct version.  Thanks!

  • Thanks Tyson,

    After reading through all these comments that finally worked for me. It seems Server 2003 needs the same driver for 32-bit as 64 for it to show that 64 is installed and available. I did almost the same thing and it worked for me.

  • Thomas, thank you very much. I fixed a problem I was since so much hours about a printer on a Seven 64 bits to a 2003 32 bits in TSE... with your post.

    It may be a old thread but still interesting.

  • Thank you, Tyson!

  • This is all well and fine but where is the inf to rename?  I have no inf files on my windows 2003 x32 print server.  I added the x64bit drivers as above and I know the driver is there through print console management and it is a different name ie pcl6 not pcl 6 on the end of the driver name.  When I added the x64 driver it added the inbox driver from my x64 machine.  I would like to not use the universal driver if there is a driver available.