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Customer Actions Moving Forward

Updated: April 22, 2003

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

The methods listed above are intended to provide organizations with the maximum interoperability during transitional periods when clients and print servers are running both Windows Server 2003 and Windows NT.

It is strongly recommended to minimize the transitional period during which your environment mixes Windows NT with Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP clients and servers. The highest levels of network printing functionality and interoperability are achieved in environments with clients and servers running Windows 2000 and later.

To help minimize the impact during migrations and upgrades, try the following:

  • Upgrade servers and associated client bases at the same time or close together. In a very large organization, you might not be able to move the entire installed based to a new operating system as quickly as you can upgrade the servers. By targeting specific servers to the user population that most utilizes them, you can move groups of users and their servers together.

  • Upgrade device font support in older print hardware and maintain updated drivers from the printer manufacturer. Doing this can help resolve issues related to missing font or character support in many older PCL devices (for example, the Euro symbol).

  • Take advantage of the PostScript printer driver architecture whenever possible. See your printer manufacture for Point and Print "stacks" that contain all the drivers necessary to support mixed clients. (Windows NT 4.0 plus Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003).

  • Allow one server to remain at its current operating-system level, and plan for it to be used by clients that have not yet been upgraded.

  • If the impact of interoperability issues is substantial, use version 2 drivers during the transition. Microsoft recommends tracking the printers or print servers that are using version 2 drivers so that they can be upgraded to version 3 drivers after the client migration is complete.

  • Use like-model drivers. If you cannot find a version 2 driver for a particular model, check with the printer manufacturer for a compatible driver that achieves the most functionality and quality. Many IHVs provide drivers for a class, series, or family of devices. Using one of these drivers can help if a manufacturer stops producing version 2 drivers for a specific model.

It is also important to note that the Windows Server 2003 family has a local policy that blocks version 2 (kernel-mode) printer drivers from being installed by default. Upon upgrade, existing version 2 drivers are preserved, but an error message appears when an administrator attempts to install new version 2 drivers onto the print server. Installation blocking does not occur when a driver is being installed solely to vend to Windows NT clients. Such a driver is not active on the server but simply shared for the network printing clients, so this action is not blocked. This policy can be disabled using the Local Policy snap-in.

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