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Choosing a printer name

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Choosing a printer name

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 family products support the use of long printer names. This allows you to create printer names that contain spaces and special characters. However, if you share a printer over a network, some clients will not recognize or correctly handle the long names, and users may experience problems printing. Also, some programs cannot print to printers with names longer than 32 characters.

For shared printers, the entire qualified name (including the server name, for example \\PRINTER2\PSCRIPT) must be 32 or fewer characters.

  • If you share a printer with a variety of clients on a network, use 32 or fewer characters for printer names, and do not include spaces or special characters in these names.

  • If you share a printer with MS-DOS computers, do not use more than eight characters for the printer's share name. You can lengthen the name by adding a period followed by no more than three characters, but you cannot use spaces in the name.

Several Windows version 3.x programs cannot print to a printer if its name contains more than the specified number of characters and will generate an Access Violation or other message if printing is attempted. Other programs may not print to any printer, even printers with short names, if the default printer's name is too long. To resolve these problems, rename the printers used by these programs with shorter names and make one of the renamed printers the default printer.

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