These are general best practices on deploying a Microsoft Windows Server Print Server.

This does not replace best practices, design specific to your environment and business needs which can be provided by Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS).

Nor does this replace Health Checks (a.k.a. RAPS) provided by our Premier Field Engineering (P.F.E.) team for Premier customers.

1) Creating and configuring Print Server

You have three choices (in order of popularity):

1a) Windows Server 2008

Server Manager Step-by-Step Guide - Scenarios

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=6d7b1f93-4c4d-41ae-8f18-87df7b6a9f17

1b) Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster

Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide - Configuring a Two-Node Print Server Failover Cluster

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=209c50c9-04a5-4fda-88ae-430c1e2abafe

1c) Windows Server 2008 Core

Job Aids for Server Core Installations of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=8dd99ac0-4a59-41e9-8037-f33760d560f0

Once you choose which one that you want to deploy on your environment:

1. If it’s only a Print Server

Disable the Terminal Server (Remote Desktop) Print Redirection

Click on Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Terminal Services, Terminal Services Configuration (Run as Administrator), right click on the RDP-Tcp, click on Properties, Client Settings tab, under the “Disable the following”, check the box for Windows Printer.

Click on Ok

Log off

Log back in

Click on Start, Control Panel, Printers, delete all the print queues there.

Click on Server Properties

Click on the Drivers tab

Select all the driver (shift key)

Note:  There are some OEM print drivers that need to be installed on the local physical node such as OEM HP Universal Printing driver.  Please check with the OEM manufacturer to see how their print drivers should be installed on Failover Print Cluster.

Click on Remove…

Stop and restart the Print Spooler service

2. Get the latest Service Pack

i.e. Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 - Five Language Standalone (KB948465)

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=a4dd31d5-f907-4406-9012-a5c3199ea2b3

or

Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 - Five Language Standalone for x64-based systems (KB948465)

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=656c9d4a-55ec-4972-a0d7-b1a6fedf51a7

3. Make sure that the latest print related hotfixes for Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 are installed:

List of hotfixes post Service Pack 2 print related hotfixes for Windows Server 2008

http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/04/list-of-hotfixes-post-service-pack-2-print-related-hotfixes-for-windows-server-2008.aspx

2) Antivirus

Make sure that your antivirus doesn’t scan *.spl, *.shd or *.tmp files (or c:\windows\system32\spool\printers folder standalone or c:\windows\system32\spool\{GUID}\printers for clusters)

3) Print drivers

- Try keeping it one, PCL 5 or PCL 6 or Postscript (PS)

Why? Adding different drivers for the same model will cause Administrative issues down the road and complexity.

For example: When updating the a print driver that uses the PCL 6 driver, a lot of times, the Administrator might not update the PCL 5 or PS drivers which share the same files causing problems.

- It is important to use the latest inbox driver or OEM driver

Why? The Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 based print drivers have numerous fixes which used to work on Windows Server 2003 that might not longer work.

Note: If you have HP printers, and are using a Failover Cluster, please take a look at:

Windows 2008/R2 cluster: The print queue properties of a HP printer may take a long time to open

http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/14/windows-2008-r2-cluster-the-print-queue-propertes-of-a-hp-printer-may-take-a-long-time-to-open.aspx

4) Migrating and consolidating print servers.

My preference would be to go thru installing the print drivers from scratch since there are issues with updating some of the OEM print drivers from existing print queues. (Preferred).

Note: You can just backup the print queue name, port configuration info using:

Two Minute Drill: PRINTBRM and the Configuration File

http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/archive/2009/02/20/two-minute-drill-printbrm-and-the-configuration-file.aspx

If you cannot, then

First make a backup using Print Management Console (PMC) or command line PrintBRM.exe

Migrate Print Servers

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722360.aspx

2a) Migrating from 32-bit Windows Server 2003 to 32-bit Windows Server 2008 SP1/SP2?

1. Make sure that all the 32-bit print drivers are up to date (i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2).

2. Make sure that you have the latest unidrv.dll installed, a KB article is in:

List of print related hotfixes post Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2003.

http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/08/list-of-print-related-hotfixes-post-service-pack-2-for-windows-server-2003.aspx

3. Use PMC or PrintBRM.exe by using the info in the following KB:

938923 How to back up and then restore printers when you upgrade from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008

http://support.microsoft.com/?id=938923

2b) Migrating from 32-bit Windows Server 2003 to 64-bit Windows Server 2008 SP1/SP2 or Windows Server 2008 R2?

1. Make sure that all the 32-bit print drivers are up to date (i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2).

2. Install the 64-bit drivers.

How to: Add 64-bit print drivers on 32-bit Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 print server

http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/14/how-to-add-64-bit-print-drivers-on-32-bit-windows-server-2003-or-windows-server-2008-print-server.aspx

3. Use the Print Management Console (PMC) or command line PrintBRM.exe

Migrate Print Servers

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722360.aspx

2c) Migrating from 64-bit Windows Server 2003 to 64-bit Windows Server 2008 SP1/SP2 or Windows Server 2008 R2?

1. Make sure that all the print drivers are up to date (i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2).

2. Use the Print Management Console (PMC) or command line PrintBRM.exe

Migrate Print Servers

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722360.aspx

2d) Migrating from 32-bit Windows Server 2008 to 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2

Same as the steps in 2b.

2e) Migrating from 64-bit Windows Server 2008 to 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2

Same as the steps in 2c.

Reading:

Update and Manage Printer Drivers

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732946.aspx

5) Print Management

Use the Print Management Console (PMC)

Print Management Step-by-Step Guide

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=83066ddc-bc96-4418-a629-48c8abd2c7a0

6) Print Scalability

Print  Server Scalability and Sizing Technical Overview White Paper

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/printservscal.mspx

7) Print Clients

7a) You also want to make sure that the client workstations have updated print related binaries

Note: We have seen enough Administrators that keep the servers up to date but the clients workstations fall behind.

For Windows XP Service Pack 3:

-----------------------------------------

List of print related hotfixes post Service Pack 3 for Windows XP

http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/08/list-of-print-related-hotfixes-post-service-pack-3-for-windows-xp.aspx

For Windows Vista Service Pack 2:

---------------------------------------------

Use the same one for Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2:

List of hotfixes post Service Pack 2 print related hotfixes for Windows Server 2008 http://blogs.technet.com/yongrhee/archive/2009/09/04/list-of-hotfixes-post-service-pack-2-print-related-hotfixes-for-windows-server-2008.aspx

8) Getting the print queue deployed to the client machines.

You have three choices. Which one would I choose? I would probably go with the Group Policy Preference (GPP) due to the easy of use and on newer O.S.es, it’s included by default (i.e. Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7)

8a) Deployment via PushPrinterConnections.exe

Windows XP and Windows Vista

Deploy the PushPrinterConnections.exe Utility

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772505.aspx

Drawbacks:

If you are on a Windows Server 2003 domain, you will need to extend your schema

Extending Your Active Directory Schema for New Features in Windows Server 2003 R2

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5b73cf03-84dd-480f-98f9-526ec09e9ba8

8b) Deployment via Group Policy Printer

Windows 7

Deploying Printers by Using Group Policy

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754699.aspx

Drawbacks:

If you are on a Windows Server 2003 domain, you will need to extend your schema

Extending Your Active Directory Schema for New Features in Windows Server 2003 R2

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5b73cf03-84dd-480f-98f9-526ec09e9ba8

Or you could avoid extending the schema by using GPP:

8c) Deployment via Group Policy Preference

Windows XP, Windows

What does this have for printing?

“Printers

Like configuring mapped network drives, configuring printer connections is a common task that administrators typically perform by writing logon scripts. The Printers preference extension enables you to easily create, update, replace, or delete shared printers, TCP/IP printers, and local printers to multiple, targeted users or computers (see the section “Targeting Control”). The figure in the left column is an example of configuring a shared printer using a Shared Printer item. Using preference targeting, you can deploy printer connections based on location, department, computer type, and so on.

Windows Vista Group Policy provides native support for deploying printers. However, it only supports shared printers and requires Active Directory schema extensions. In contrast, using the Printers extension supports shared, local, and TCP/IP printers on Windows XP with SP2 and Windows Vista. It also allows you to set the default printer and map shared printers to local ports.”

Detail: Group Policy Preferences Overview

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=42e30e3f-6f01-4610-9d6e-f6e0fb7a0790

Drawback: You need to install the GPP client side extension to all the Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services running in Application Mode, and Windows Vista clients.

Note: Included by default on Windows Server 2008 Remote Desktop Server (RDS), Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Server based clients.

9) Print Server management

Do you want to find out what the print servers, remote desktop (terminal )servers, and client workstations/laptops have? What print queue? or Print driver installed?

SCOM (System Center Operations Manager) would more than likely provide you with the information that you need.

Once you have SCOM installed, install the:

Windows Server Print Server Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager 2007

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7cb26de3-7658-4c47-aefa-2136c48f4603

References:

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www.microsoft.com/PrintServer

Please feel free to provide any feedback, additions, deletions that you would like to see based on what you have experienced.