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What's New in Print Management

Updated: May 13, 2011

Applies To: Windows 7

Windows® 7 introduces improvements to Windows printing that provide improved performance and increased reliability for print users. For IT administrators who remotely manage network print resources, these enhancements provide more flexibility and better management overall.

IT professionals who manage users, printers, printer drivers, print queues, and print servers in a domain environment using the Print Management Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in and the Printbrm.exe command-line tool will want to use Print Management.

Print Management provides the following new and improved features to Windows printing:

  • Print migration enhancements

  • Printer driver isolation

  • Print Management snap-in improvements

  • Client-Side Rendering (CSR) performance improvements

  • XML Paper Specification (XPS) print path improvements

  • Location-aware printing

In addition, there are UI improvements to the Add Printer Wizard.

The Printer Migration Wizard (available through the Print Management snap-in) and the Printbrm.exe command-line tool were introduced in Windows Server® 2008 and Windows Vista® to replace the Print Migrator (Printmig) utility. These enable an administrator to easily back up, restore, and migrate print queues, printer settings, printer ports, and language monitors.

Enhancements to the Printer Migration Wizard and Printbrm.exe in Windows 7 provide greater flexibility and better error handling and reporting—for example, you can now restore configuration information for print servers and print queues in a backup. You can also selectively back up specific print processors and print language monitors.

There is also support for print driver isolation setting migration and an option to not restore security settings for print queues during a restore operation.

Prior to Windows 7, the failure of printer driver components has been a main print server support issue—the failure of a printer driver loaded onto the print spooler process would cause the process to fail, which would lead to an outage of the entire printing system. The impact of a spooler failure on a print server is particularly significant because of the large number of users and printers that are typically affected.

In Windows 7, you can now configure printer driver components to run in an isolated process separate from the printer spooler process. By isolating the printer driver, you can prevent a faulty printer driver from stopping all print operations on a print server, which results in a significant increase in server reliability.

In addition to the benefit of improving overall printing system stability, this new feature provides a means to isolate new drivers for testing and debugging, and to identify which printer drivers have been causing spooler failures.

Improvements to the Print Management snap-in enable you to better manage print servers, print queues, and print drivers. In Windows 7, the Print Management snap-in includes better support for driver management and the ability to view all print drivers installed on the network. You can now examine driver versions, driver package information, and manage driver isolation.

ImportantImportant
The Print Management snap-in is available on Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.

In Windows 7, the frequency of CSR caching has been increased. Subsequently, the number of printer spooler requests that are made by applications has been reduced, which improves overall printing system performance and reduces network load.

XPS enables Windows applications to produce rich content that can be preserved through the entire print system without costly conversions or data loss. XPS can replace a document presentation language (such as Rich Text Format (RTF)), a print spooler format (such as Windows Metafile Format (WMF)), and a page description language (such as PostScript).

Starting in Windows Vista, an XPS-based print path was introduced to enhance the fidelity and performance of Windows printing. In Windows 7, the use of XPS in the printing system is extended and improved upon in several areas: "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) printing, improved print fidelity and color support, XPS Viewer enhancements, new rendering and rasterizing services for printer drivers, and significantly improved print performance. In addition, this functionality is now available in an unmanaged application programming interface (API) layer for application developers.

In Windows 7, the Default Printer setting is now location aware. A mobile or laptop user can set a different default printer for each network that they connect to. They may have a default printer set for home, and a different default printer set for office use. Their laptop can now automatically select the correct default printer, depending on where the user is currently located.

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