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Printer and protocol support

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Printer and protocol support

This topic contains a brief overview of the printer and protocol support features in the Windows Server 2003 family. It is divided into two sections: New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0 and New and updated features since Windows 2000.

The Windows Server 2003 family provides a variety of printer and protocol support features for print servers. For links to more information about the features in this release, see New Features.

New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows NT 4.0) that help provide increased levels of support for print servers:

Printers published in Active Directory
Users can quickly search for and locate the most convenient printing resources through an intuitive user interface.

Broad device and protocol support
You can choose from among thousands of different printers.

Plug and Play
With Plug and Play, a combination of hardware and software support, the server can recognize and adapt to hardware configuration changes automatically, without your intervention and without restarting.

Internet Printing Protocol
With Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), users can print directly to a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) over an intranet or the Internet. In addition, servers that run products in the Windows Server 2003 family can automatically generate print job information in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) format, so that users can view it in their browsers.

Printer management features
You can monitor the operation of local and remote printers using System Monitor. You can set counters for a variety of criteria, such as Bytes Printed/Second, Job Errors, and Total Pages Printed.

Network printing features
You can remotely administer a print server running Windows Server 2003 by using Microsoft Management Console (MMC) from anywhere on the network. In addition, if the client computer is running Windows 2000 or Windows XP, you do not have to install a printer driver for that client computer to use a printer. The driver is downloaded automatically when the client connects to the print server. This simplifies printing across a network.

New and updated features since Windows 2000

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows 2000) that help provide increased levels of support for print servers:

New command-line support for printing
With new command-line utilities, you can manage printers and print queues by using a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) provider. You can also develop scripts or batch files to manage printers more efficiently.

Easier printer driver installation on server clusters (Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition only)
In Windows 2000, each printer driver had to be installed manually on every node of a server cluster. With Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, when you install a printer driver on a cluster, the driver is automatically propagated to all nodes.

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