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Printing Overview

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Printing overview

Using products in the Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 family, you can share printing resources across your entire network. Clients on a variety of computers and operating systems can send print jobs to printers attached locally to a print server computer running a Windows Server 2003 family operating system, across the Internet, or to printers connected to the network using internal or external network adapters, or another server.

Products in the Windows Server 2003 family support several advanced printing features. For example, you can administer a print server computer running a Windows Server 2003 family operating system that exists anywhere on your network. Another advanced feature is that you do not have to install a printer driver on a Microsoft® Windows® XP client computer to enable it to use a printer. The driver is downloaded automatically when the client connects to a print server computer running a Windows Server 2003 family operating system.

Although you can, of course, print locally from a server running a product in the Windows Server 2003 family or a computer running Windows XP to a locally attached printer, this Help is primarily concerned with printing across the network with a computer running a Windows Server 2003 family product functioning as a print server.

You should make sure to distinguish between a printer (the device that does the actual printing) and a logical printer (its software interface on the print server). When you initiate a print job, it is spooled on the logical printer, which is also called a printer, before it is sent to the printer itself.

See New printing features for a list of Windows Server 2003 family printing enhancements.

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