Printing Best practices
Updated: January 21, 2005
Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2
Planning your printing environment.
Consider the physical location of your users and their printing needs to determine the number and types of printers and print servers you need, and where to physically locate them.
Using the search for printers utility.
The best and fastest way to find and connect to a printer is by using the search for printers utility. From the Start menu click Search, then click For Printers, and then type the criteria for the printers you are searching for. For more information see, Connect to a printer published in Active Directory.
Installing additional printer drivers.
If you share printers with clients other than Windows XP or Windows 2000 clients, install the required additional printer drivers for these clients.
Using the same guidelines that apply to any shared resource.
Create a local printer_name Users group with Print permission, and then put global groups in the local group.
Removing Print permission from the default group Everyone.
Instead, assign the Print permission to the built-in group Users. This limits printer use to those users in the domain for which you have created accounts.
Distributing the administrative load.
If security is not an issue, assign the printer_name Users group the Manage Documents or Manage Printers print permission.
Maintaining physical security.
Secure the printer in a locked room if it is used for printing confidential information. When printing confidential documents, you may want to set the paper source to manual so the document will not print until the user is physically at the printer. Let only members of the Administrators group manage the printer.
Maintaining data security.
To help mitigate client-to-server eavesdropping, consider deploying IPSec. For more information, see Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). To help mitigate server-to-print device document interception, deploy an IPv4 or IPv6-compatible printer. You can use a printer that provides password authentication (that is, the printer does not print until the user enters a password that was sent with the print job). You can also print to a local printer.
Choosing a physical location for printing pools.
For printing pools, place the printers physically close to each other so users do not have to check separate locations for their printed documents.
Managing printer traffic.
Create multiple logical printers with different schedules to reduce printer traffic during peak hours. Have users send large documents, such as accounting reports, to a logical printer that is available only at night so that those documents wait until off-peak hours to be printed.
Document information about printers and the users who have the ability to administer them.
Use the audit feature to keep track of changes made by administrators who manage shared printers.
Using network adapters.
It is better to use printers that connect directly to the network with a network adapter than to use a parallel port (LPT) printer that connects directly to print servers. A printer attached with a parallel port prints slower, and the parallel port requires considerably more CPU time.
Using the printer troubleshooter.
To solve problems quickly, use the printing troubleshooter. Also, you can use the networking (TCP/IP) troubleshooter for networking problems.
Creating a custom folder for printers.
To ease printer administration, create a custom folder for the printers and for the folders of any print server you manage regularly. You can also create a shortcut for that folder on the Desktop.