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Printing from Terminal Services

Printing from Terminal Services is similar to printing from other versions of Windows 2000. However, users and administrators must take notice of certain important differences.

There are a number of ways to manage network printing in a Terminal Services environment. Within a small unit of an organization or division, the administrator might want to configure printers locally on the server running Terminal Services. The printers might be locally attached through the parallel port or a network interface. These printers are automatically available to all users on the system.

A user who wants to print locally to a printer connected to his or her own computer has the option of either using the Terminal Services client ability to redirect a print job to a local device, or using peer-to-peer networking.

Printing to Your Local Printer by RDP Protocol

Terminal Services provides printer redirection that routes print jobs from the Terminal server to a printer attached to the client. There are two ways to provide client access to the local printer by means of RDP: automatic printer redirection and manual printer redirection.

Automatic Printer redirection is supported on all Win32 client platforms, including Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT. When a client logs on to Terminal Services, local printers attached to LPT, COM, and USB ports are automatically detected and corresponding queues created in the user's session. When the client disconnects or ends the session, the printer queue is deleted and all pending print jobs are terminated.

Manual printer redirection must be used on Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and WBT clients. In this case, the printer is manually added using the Add Printers wizard in Control Panel. The client computer name is used to select the printer port from the list of available ports. Print redirection can be disabled on a per-connection basis using Terminal Services Connection Configuration or on a per-user basis using Active Directory Users and Computers or Local Users and Computers. For more information about printer redirection, see Windows 2000 Server Help.

Network Shared Printers

As with local disk drives, net share enables users to gain access to the printer remotely from the server. If the user installs a network card in the local printer, it becomes a network printer and file sharing does not have to be enabled on the user's computer.

Printers are defined on a per-user basis; therefore, after the printer is defined for a particular user, it is only available to that user during their session. In addition, if a user uses Print Manager, they only see the printers to which they have permissions to print. When the user logs off, the server tears down the printer redirection. In addition, printer redirection is not available for MS-DOS-based applications

The net share method is designed to work on printers connected locally to personal computers running Windows for Workgroups 3.11 or later. Users of WBT running RDP currently cannot print to local printers using this method.

Printing Across a WAN or Dial-up Connection

If users gain access to Terminal Services across a WAN or dial-up connection, take care to accurately assess the bandwidth requirement of any print jobs that will be spooled across it.

If a user prints to a local printer that resides on the user's LAN but across a slow link from the server running Terminal Services itself, the print job is spooled across the slow link to the printer. This adds to the bandwidth requirements for Terminal Services because the network is required to handle print traffic as well as keystrokes, mouse events, and screen updates.

It is also recommended that you minimize the need to print large graphics or color print jobs across those slow links because they consume considerable amounts of bandwidth.

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