Chapter 5 - Setting Up Print Servers

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This chapter provides guidelines for setting up and sharing printers on a Windows NT network. Although printer setup itself is easy, it's worth taking time to understand the various options available for configuring printers. By carefully planning printer access, you can maximize the use of each printer and at the same time avoid long printing delays.

Overview of Windows NT Printing

Windows NT offers several advanced printing features:

  • Clients can browse the network for available Windows network printers. The browsing function is available from Network Neighborhood, the Add Printer Wizard, and even more conveniently, from the Print Setup dialog box of Windows NT and Windows 95 applications.

  • Clients can browse the network for printer servers running other operating systems. For example, you can browse the network for LAN Manager 2.x print servers and connect to print shares on these servers. In this case, Windows NT prompts you to install the appropriate printer driver locally if it is not already present.

  • As an administrator, you can remotely administer Windows NT print servers, printers, documents, and printer drivers.

  • As an administrator, you do not have to install printer driver files on a Windows NT client computer to enable it to use a Windows NT print server. If all printing clients are running Windows NT or Windows 95, it is only necessary to install printer driver files in one place — at the print server.

Using Windows NT Workstation as a Print Server 

Both Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server can operate in either client or print server roles. However, because Windows NT Workstation is limited to 10 connections from other computers and because it does not support Services for Macintosh and Gateway Services for NetWare, it is an impractical print server except in small-network situations. Unless otherwise specified, all topics in this chapter apply equally to both Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server.

Windows NT Printing Terms

In Windows NT, a print device refers to the actual hardware device that produces printed output. A printer is a software interface between the operating system and the print device. The printer defines where the document will go before it reaches the print device (to a local port, to a file, or to a remote print share), when it will go, and various other aspects of the printing process. When users connect to printers, they are connecting to logical printer names that represent one or more print devices.

A printer driver is a program that converts graphics commands into a specific printer language, such as PostScript or PCL. Windows NT supplies drivers for most available print devices. When you create a printer, you install a printer driver and, optionally, make the printer available on the network by sharing it.

Print device resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi). The greater the dpi, the better the resolution.

In Windows NT terminology, a queue is a group of documents waiting to be printed. In the NetWare and OS/2 environments, queues are the primary software interface between the application and print device: Users submit documents to a queue. However, with Windows NT, the printer is that interface, the document is sent to a printer, not to a queue.

The print spooler is a collection of dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) that receive, process, schedule, and distribute documents.

Spooling is the process of writing the contents of a document to a file on disk. This file is called a spool file.

A print server is the computer that receives documents from clients.

Network-interface print devices   are print devices with their own network cards; they need not be physically connected to a print server because they are directly connected to the network.

Windows NT Remote Printing

Windows NT supports true remote printing. When Windows NT and Windows 95 clients connect to a correctly configured Windows NT print server, the printer driver is automatically installed on the client computer. If you install a newer printer driver on the server, Windows NT client computers automatically download the newer printer driver. However, if you install a newer printer driver for Windows 95 clients on a print server, users running Windows 95 must manually update the printer driver to have the newer version copied to their computers.


Non-Windows NT clients (such as MS-DOS and versions of Windows for MS-DOS) can access Windows NT printers by redirecting their output ports to the appropriate \\server\sharename. However, unlike computers running Windows NT and Windows 95, users at these types of client computers must install the printer driver manually and then connect to the server.

Fonts and forms available on a Windows NT print server are not accessible by non-Windows NT client computers.

Note When Windows NT clients attempt to use the Add Printer Wizard to connect to a print server managed by a computer running another network operating system, (such as LAN Manager 2.x or Novell NetWare), the Add Printer Wizard prompts the user to create a local printer and install a local driver. Because other network operating systems were not designed to provide the printer driver automatically, you must install the driver locally. You must be a member of the Administrators or Power Users group to connect to printer server running on another operating systems.

For information on supporting multiple hardware platforms from a Windows NT print server, see "Installing Printer Drivers for Multiple Hardware Platforms" later in this chapter.

Planning Your Printing Operations

Because every network user has occasion to print, it is worth making sure network print operations are efficient and cost-effective. Choices you need to make include:

  • What print devices to use.

  • What computers to use as print servers.

  • How to configure shared printers for maximum use.

Choosing Printers

Today's choice of print devices includes devices specifically designed for network use. These devices offer options such as automatic port and emulation switching, dual paper bins, and double-sided printing. Before deciding on network printers, carefully evaluate your printing needs:

  • Do you need a few high-volume print devices or several less expensive personal print devices?

    High-volume printers generally have more features but affect many more users if they break down.

  • How many pages do you expect to print?

    You will probably experience fewer maintenance problems if you match printing volume with a printer's duty cycle (the number of pages it can print per month).

  • What graphics support do you need?

    The combination of Windows NT and TrueType technology makes it possible to print sophisticated graphics and fonts on most printers, even those that normally support only bitmaps and text. TrueType is integrated with the operating environment so all Windows NT applications can use TrueType fonts without changes or upgrades. If you intend to print many graphs, charts, or halftone photographs, consider a printer that supports 600 dpi or greater.

  • How important is printing speed?

    Whereas shared print devices have traditionally attached to the network through serial or parallel ports on computers, newer print devices connect directly to the network using built-in local area network (LAN) cards. Network links offer faster throughput than currently available parallel and serial buses. However, print throughput rates also depend on network traffic, the network interface card (NIC), the protocol used, and the type of print device used.

  • Is the print device on the Windows NT Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)?

    The Windows NT Hardware Compatibility List lists the print devices supported by Windows NT. The latest version of the HCL can be downloaded from the Internet. For more information, see the Microsoft World Wide Web site at

Windows NT supports most traditional print devices, including dot matrix, inkjet, and laser print devices. It also supports network-interface print devices and network-aware print devices connected to the network using the AppleTalk or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocols.

Choosing Computers to Be Print Servers

On a network of any size, you will probably concentrate printer installation at a few select servers. A computer acting as a print server might simultaneously act as a file server or database server. No special hardware requirements exist for print servers except that they have the right output ports if you're using parallel or serial print devices.

Sixteen megabytes (MB) of random access memory (RAM) is adequate for x86-based print servers controlling a small number of print devices. Managing a large number of printers or managing many large documents requires more memory. Disk space requirements are minimal except in cases where large or many documents are likely to accumulate.

Combining File and Print Services

When you use Windows NT for both file and print sharing, file operations have first priority. Printing transactions never slow access to files. Moreover, file operations have negligible impact on printers attached directly to the server; parallel and serial ports are always the greater bottleneck. A dedicated print server may be necessary only if the server is to manage many heavily used printers.


The decision to combine print and file servers may depend on security concerns. While printers should always be available to those persons using them, you may want to secure a file server by restricting it from physical access (for example, by keeping it in a secured room).

Planning How Users Access Printers

Before installing printers on a server, you need to be aware of configuration options that can improve the flexibility and efficiency of network printing. After studying these options, you will be ready to use the Printers folder to install and configure printers.

Under Windows NT, it is not necessary to have a one-to-one relationship between printers (the software) and print devices (the physical printer). By associating printers and print devices in different ways, you can offer users flexibility in their printing operations. Several configurations are possible, as shown in the following diagrams.


Single Printer to Single Print Device 


Multiple Printers to Single Print Device 


Single Printer to Multiple Identical Print Devices 

The capability to assign more than one printer to a print device gives users flexibility in printing documents. For example, two printers associated with a single print device can offer different print properties: one may print separator pages and the other may not. Or one printer can hold documents and print them at night, while the other processes documents 24 hours a day.

Postponing Documents

One way to maximize use of print devices is to stagger printing times. For example, if printer traffic is heavy during the day, you can postpone printing of less important documents by routing them through a printer that prints only during off-hours.

To do this, use the Scheduling tab of the printer's Properties sheet to define the time during which a printer can print documents. When you specify printing times, the print spooler accepts documents at any time, but it does not print to the destination print device until the designated start time. At the stop printing time, the spooler stops sending documents to the print device and saves any documents remaining until it is scheduled to start printing again.


For information on changing printer properties, see "Setting Printer Properties" later in this chapter.

Giving Printers Different Priority Levels

There may be times when you need to print a document immediately and want to bypass the documents waiting for a print device. You can do this by creating printers with different priority levels. (Print priority is set in the Scheduling tab of a printer's properties sheet.) If two printers are associated with a single print device, documents routed to the printer with the highest priority level (highest number) print first.


To take advantage of this print priority system, create multiple printers that lead to one print device. Assign each printer a priority level, and then create a group of users that correspond to each printer. For example, users in Group1 might have access rights to a priority 1 printer, users in Group2 might have access rights to a printer with priority 2, and so on. In this way, you can prioritize documents according to the users submitting their documents.

Using a Printing Pool

A printing pool consists of two or more identical print devices associated with one printer. To set up a pool, you create a printer using the Add Printer Wizard and assign it as many output ports as you have identical print devices. (Windows NT places no limit on the number of printers in a pool.) Whichever print device is idle receives the next document. This configuration maximizes use of print devices while minimizing the amount of time users must wait for documents.


Printer pools have the following characteristics:

  • All devices in the pool are the same hardware model and act as a single unit. All print property settings apply to the whole pool.

  • Printer ports can be of the same type or mixed (parallel, serial, and network).

  • When a documents arrives for the printer pool, the spooler checks printer output destinations to see which device is idle.

  • If one device within a pool stops printing — when it runs out of paper, for example — it will hold a single document at that device. Other documents continue to print to the other devices in the pool, while the delayed document waits until the nonfunctioning device is fixed or the document is restarted.

It is impossible to predict which printer in a pool will receive a particular documents. However, if the Windows NT Messenger Service is active, a workstation will receive messages indicating when documents are complete and identifying the printer by output port. Unless you want users to rely on these messages, it is a good idea to place pooled print devices in a single location.

A particularly flexible printer configuration is one in which a print device is accessible both in and outside of a printing pool, as shown in the following figure. This configuration provides both the fast throughput of a printing pool and the flexibility of more than one printer.


Attaching Printers to Your Network

After deciding how users should share network printers, you're ready to attach print devices to the network. Shared printers can connect to the parallel or serial ports on the print server computer or directly to the network if they have a built-in network adapter card.

Configuring Parallel and Serial Printers

Print devices attach to computers through parallel or serial port connections. Parallel cables must be less than 20 feet long; serial cables can be up to 100 feet long. Standard Intel 486 and Pentium-based computers support three parallel ports and two serial ports. RISC-based computers generally come with one parallel and two serial ports built in and support as many additional ports as there is space for.

Note Although standard Intel 486 and Pentium-based computers support three parallel ports, they usually have only one installed. For easier installation, configuration, and support, or for non-network-interface print devices, use only the first parallel port (LPT1) or a serial port.

When configuring parallel ports, you might have to set hardware jumpers or switches. Serial communication requires flow control (also called handshaking), which defines a method for the print device to tell Windows NT that its buffer is full. Serial ports can be configured for no flow control, XON/XOFF (software flow control), or hardware flow control by choosing the Ports icon in the Windows NT Control Panel folder. Your print device documentation should tell you what communications settings to use. The setting is typically 9600 baud, No parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit, and Hardware Handshaking.

If you are using a serial print device, use the cable that originated with the device. Wiring schemes often vary from cable to cable.

Setting Hardware Interrupt Levels

Although Windows NT supports an unlimited number of serial (COM) and parallel ports, the number of devices you can attach to a computer depends on the number of interface card slots and addresses available. If you attach print devices to COM ports on x86-based computers, you are also limited by the number interrupt request (IRQ) lines available. Because x86-based computers have a limited number of IRQs, finding an available IRQ level for COM ports can be difficult.

On RISC-based systems COM1, and COM2 are built in and do not conflict with IRQ levels on the Extended Industry Standard Architecture (EISA) bus. This frees IRQs 3, and 4 for other devices.

Some interface cards support the sharing of interrupts. This means two device addresses can use the same IRQ level. However, some devices require exclusive use of certain interrupts. To avoid conflicts, check hardware manuals for these devices before configuring your ports. To see current IRQ settings on your computer, run the Microsoft Diagnostics program (systemroot\SYSTEM32\WINMSD.EXE).

Configuring Network-Interface Printers

Unlike parallel and serial devices, print devices with built-in network adapter cards do not have to be physically connected to the print server. Where you locate these types of print devices has no effect on printing performance, assuming users and print devices are not on opposite sides of a network bridge or gateway. A Windows NT print server can control dozens of network-interface printers, depending on the server's processing capability, the amount of installed memory, and the size and number of documents typically sent to the print server. To maintain high server throughput levels, increase memory as you add print devices.


Network-interface print devices are attached to the network through a built-in adapter card or add-on attachment. To use a network-interface printer, install the data link control (DLC) protocol or the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service, depending on what printing methods your print device supports. AppleTalk printers require the AppleTalk protocol. TCP/IP LPR printers require the TCP/IP protocol and Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service. Use the Network icon in the Control Panel folder to install these protocols and services during Setup or later.

In most cases, you must determine the network-print device's address before you set up your Windows NT print server. If you are printing over TCP/IP, you usually need the print device's TCP/IP address. If you are printing to a Hewlett-Packard network-interface print device, run a self-test to obtain the network card address. If you are printing to an AppleTalk print device, you need to know in which zone the print device is located.

Configuring TCP/IP and UNIX Printers

Users on any client computer can print to network-attached TCP/IP print devices or to print devices that are physically attached to most UNIX computers. To enable this on your network, at least one Windows NT computer must have the TCP/IP protocol and the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service installed.

To take advantage of the printing capabilities of the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service, only the single Windows NT computer that defines a TCP/IP printer needs to have TCP/IP installed. Clients can print to the Windows NT print server using any protocol that both the client and server have installed. The print server then sends the document to the TCP/IP print device.

Use the Protocols tab of the Network option in Control Panel to install the TCP/IP Protocol or the DLC Protocol. Use the Services tab of the Network option in Control Panel to install the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service.

For more information on TCP/IP, see the Windows NT Server Resource Kit version 4.0 Networking Guide.

The Windows NT TCP/IP Printing Service (LPD)

A line printer daemon (LPD) service on the print server receives documents from line printer remote (LPR) utilities running on client systems. LPR clients and LPD servers are often UNIX systems, but LPR and LPD software exists for most operating systems, including Windows NT. Also, many network-attached print devices can be used as LPD print servers.

TCP/IP Printing Compatibility 

In previous versions of Windows NT, TCP/IP printing adhered to Request For Comment (RFC) 1179. However, this RFC "describes an existing print server protocol widely used on the Internet for communicating between line printer demons" and does not specify an Internet standard. Consequently, different TCP/IP printing implementations support different options.

Several enhancements were added for TCP/IP printing in Windows NT 4.0. It now supports multiple data files per control file. When used as an intermediate spooler, it correctly passes the hostname parameter through the Windows printing subsystem. Also, Windows NT TCP/IP printing now uses TCP ports 512 through 1023 for LPR jobs instead of TCP ports 721 through 731.

You can install the LPD service under Windows NT by installing the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing Service from the Network option in the Control Panel folder. By default, the LPD service is set to start manually. To have it start automatically, use the Services icon in Control Panel, and change the startup options for the TCP/IP Print Server service.

Sending Documents using LPR in Windows NT

LPR lets a client application on one computer send a document to a print spooler service on another computer. The client application is usually named LPR and the service (or daemon) is usually named LPD. Windows NT supplies a command-line application, the LPR.EXE utility, and the LPR Port monitor. Both act as clients sending documents to an LPD service running on another computer.

You can use the Add Printer Wizard to create a TCP/IP printer in the same way that you create any printer to be used on a Windows NT network. You need the following information to create a TCP/IP printer:

  • The IP identifier of the LPD print server where the printer is connected.

    The LPD print server is often a computer, but it can be a network-attached print device. In either case, the identifier can be the Domain Name Service (DNS) name or the IP address.

  • The printer name as it is identified on the LPD print server.

    This is the name defined on the LPD computer or the name defined by the manufacturer for the LPD compliant network-attached print device.

For more information on running the Add Printer Wizard, see "Creating Printers on a Server" later in this chapter.

Receiving Documents Printed over LPR

Because Windows NT also supplies an LPD service (the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service), it can receive documents sent by LPR clients, including UNIX computers and other Windows NT computers.

The LPD service is independent of the Lprmon port monitor. Lprmon runs automatically to allow a Windows NT computer (and all clients who can access this computer) to print to a printer connected to a UNIX system, as described in the preceding section.

LPR client software needs to know the name of the printer on the LPD host. If the LPD host is a computer running Windows NT, that name is the printer name, not the printer share name. In other words, use the name of the printer as identified in the Printers folder and in the printer's Properties sheet. Do not use the printer's share name, which is specified in the Scheduling tab of the printer's Properties sheet.

If documents sent by UNIX LPR clients do not print correctly on Windows NT print servers, the problem can often be corrected by reconfiguring the UNIX LPR software to use the lowercase (l) control command.

Note Windows NT, and most Berkeley UNIX (BSD) operating systems, comply with RFC 1179. However, most System V UNIX operating systems do not comply with this standard. Consequently, in most cases, Windows NT cannot send documents to System V computers or receive documents from them. System V computers that are configured to accept BSD documents are the exceptions. These computers can accept Windows NT documents.

For more information on TCP/IP printing and LPD, the Windows NT Server Resource Kit version 4.0 Resource Guide.

Using Printers on Novell NetWare Networks

  • To enable Windows NT clients to print directly to NetWare printers, install Windows NT Client Services for NetWare (CSNW) on each client.

  • To set up a print server that allows Microsoft network clients to print to a print device shared by Novell NetWare, install Windows NT Gateway Services for NetWare (GSNW) on the print server.

  • To allow NetWare clients to print to Windows NT network printers and to allow Microsoft Network clients to print to NetWare servers, use Microsoft File and Print Services for NetWare (FPNW). Microsoft FPNW is not included in Windows NT but can be obtained from your software vendor.

For more information on Client Services for NetWare and Gateway Services for NetWare, see the Windows NT Server Networking Supplement.

Using Print Devices on AppleTalk Networks

Both Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server computers can print to AppleTalk print devices and AppleShare print servers. However, only Windows NT Server includes Services for Macintosh, which enables Macintosh clients to print to Windows NT print servers.

For more information on installing and configuring printers and clients for use with Services for Macintosh, see the Windows NT Server Networking Supplement.

Creating Printers on a Server

After physically connecting print devices, you must create a printer. To do this, run the Add Printer Wizard from the Printers folder.

Permission Required to Create a Printer 

To create a printer on a server, you must be logged on as a member of the Administrators, Server Operators, or Print Operators group. (If the server is not a primary or backup domain controller, you must be logged on as a member of the Administrators or Power Users group.)

When you create a printer, you:

  • Select the printer port. (If you are using a printer pool, select multiple ports.)

  • Select the printer manufacturer and model.

  • Set the printer name.

  • Set the printer share name so it is available to network users. If Windows 3.x clients and MS-DOS clients will be connecting to the printer, use a short file name.

  • Choose which hardware platforms and operating systems to support (Windows NT clients on Alpha, MIPS, Power PC, or x86 computers and Windows 95 clients).

After you define the general characteristics of your printer, you are prompted to assign the printer certain device-specific properties (fonts, printer memory, color, and so forth). How you set properties depends on how you want users to access print devices. (See "Planning How Users Access Printers" earlier in this chapter). If you do not change a specific property, Windows NT prints using default settings.

After you create and share the printer, it appears in the network-wide printer browse list. Windows NT and Windows 95 clients can connect to Windows NT printers from this list in the Add Printer Wizard.

For more information about sharing printers, see "Sharing Printers" later in this chapter.

For more information on specifying which hardware platforms and operating systems to support, see "Installing Printer Drivers for Multiple Hardware Platforms" later in this chapter.

For more information on setting device-specific properties, see "Setting Device-Specific Properties" later in this chapter.

For more information on installing a print driver for an unsupported printer, see "Installing a Printer Driver for an Unsupported Printer" later in this chapter.

Choosing a Port

The process of selecting a port and the subsequent options displayed by the Add Printer Wizard depend on how your printer is connected to the server or network and what software (including protocols) you have installed.

If the print device is attached to the local port, select the appropriate local port or select FILE. LPT1 through LPT3 represent parallel ports. COM1 through COM4 represent serial ports. If your Windows NT print server has a multiport serial adapter, you can set up more serial ports using the Ports option in the Control Panel. When a client prints to a print server that is configured to print to a file, the client is prompted for the file name, and the output file is stored on the clients computer.

If the print device is attached directly to the network, select the Add Port button when the Add Printer Wizard prompts you to select a port, and then select the appropriate port type. The following table lists the port options available when you click Add Port and explains under what conditions the port is available.

Additional port

Enables clients to print


AppleTalk Printing Devices

To AppleTalk print devices

When the AppleTalk protocol is installed.

Digital Network Port

To DEC print devices.

When the Microsoft TCP/IP or DEC DECNet protocol is installed.

Hewlett-Packard Network Port

To print devices that use an HP JetDirect adapter.

When the DLC network protocol is installed.

Local Port

To a print device connected to a parallel port, serial port, specific file name, universal naming convention (UNC) name, or to the NUL port.

By default.

LPR Port

From line printer remote (LPR) applications to a Windows NT printer.

When the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service is installed.

To create a printer pool, configure a printer to print to more than one destination. Use the Protocols tab of the Network option in Control Panel to install the DLC Protocol. Use the Services tab of the Network option in Control Panel to install the Microsoft TCP/IP Printing service.

For information on Services for Macintosh and the AppleTalk protocol, see the Windows NT Server Networking Supplement.

Installing Printer Drivers for Multiple Hardware Platforms

Different hardware platforms and operating systems require different printer drivers. For example, to use a printer created on an x86-based Windows NT computer, a client running Windows NT on an Alpha computer requires the appropriate Alpha printer driver for that printer. The driver can be installed locally or on the x86-based server. Likewise, x86-based clients can use an Alpha print server only if the requisite x86 drivers are installed locally or on the server.

If your network contains a mixture of Windows 95, Alpha, Power PC, MIPS, and x86-based computers, you can install printer drivers for each one on each print server. This ensures that documents originating from Windows NT or Windows 95 clients running on any of the hardware types can use all print devices. Also, if you have clients running previous version of Windows NT, you will need to install the appropriate older printer drivers for each version/platform combination. Three separate printer drivers are required for each hardware platform to support all versions of Windows NT: one for Windows NT 3.1, one for Windows NT 3.5 and Windows NT 3.51, and one for Windows NT 4.0.

Note When you choose to install an alternate driver for Windows 95, you are prompted for the Windows 95 printer driver file(s). Because Windows NT Setup cannot extract these files from the Windows 95 .cab files, you must use the Windows 95 Extract.exe program to extract the printer driver file(s) from the Windows 95 installation media (CD or floppy disks) or from the Windows 95 .cab files on the Windows NT Server CD.

For example, if your network contains Windows 95 clients, x86-based clients running Windows NT 4.0 and 3.51 and Alpha clients running Windows NT 4.0 and 3.51, and you are creating a shared printer on an x86-based computer, you should install four printer drivers in addition to the x86-based Windows NT printer driver that is installed by default for the printer you have selected:

  • Windows 95

  • Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51 x86

  • Windows NT 4.0 Alpha

  • Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51 Alpha

Windows NT print server determines whether incoming print requests are Alpha, Power PC, MIPS, or x86-based and automatically sends the appropriate driver to the client.

To install multiple printer drivers, select each version/hardware platform pairing in the Add Printer Wizard after you choose to share the printer. You can also add support for other platforms later from the printer's Properties Sharing property sheet.

Downloading the Printer Driver 

Windows 95 clients do not obtain printer drivers on Windows NT version 4.0 print servers in the same way that Windows NT clients use the printer drivers. Windows NT clients download the printer driver from the server if a newer version has been installed on the server. However, Windows 95 clients use a technology called Point and Print to download the printer driver and some printer settings to the client only when the client runs the Windows 95 Add Printer Wizard.

For more information on changing a printer's properties after the printer is installed, see "Setting Printer Properties" later in this chapter.

Installing a Printer Driver for an Unsupported Printer

If a particular device is not supported, try setting up the printer according to the following table.

If it is a

Set it up as a

Laser printer:


HPPCL (LaserJet) compatible

Hewlett-Packard LaserJet Plus

PostScript compatible


Color PostScript


35-font Plus font set or superset

Apple LaserWriter® Plus

Dot matrix printer:


9-pin dot matrix


IBM compatible

IBM Proprinter

Epson® compatible

Epson FX-80 for narrow or FX-100 for wide carriage

24-pin dot matrix


IBM 24-pin compatible

IBM Proprinter X24

Epson LQ compatible

Epson LQ-1500

If your device is not in this list, contact the manufacturer to determine if custom drivers are available.

For information about obtaining new printer drivers for your system, obtain the latest version of the Windows NT HCL or contact your hardware manufacturer. The latest version of the HCL can be downloaded from the Internet. For more information, see the Microsoft World Wide Web site at

Setting Printer Properties

You set properties for a printer as the last step in the Add Printer Wizard and at any time by displaying the printer's Properties sheets. The printer's Properties sheet includes:

  • General properties (printer driver and separator page settings)

  • Port selections and port properties

  • Document scheduling and spooling properties

  • Printer share name and alternate printer drive settings

  • Security settings

  • Device-specific properties


To view to a printer's property sheet, open the Printers folder, click the printer, and then click Properties on the File menu.

Setting General Printer Properties

Use the General tab of a printer's Properties sheet to:

  • Set or change the printer's comment or location settings.

  • Set or change the print device type (for example, HP LaserJet 4Si).

  • Change the driver the printer uses.

  • Select a separator page.

  • Select a print processor.

  • Print a test page.

The printer's comment text is useful for indicating the print device location to Windows NT clients who are browsing for a printer.

You can install an updated driver or print processor using the New Driver and Print Processor buttons, respectively.

Using Separator Pages

You can set up a printer so that one or more separator pages appear at the beginning of each document. (Separator pages typically state who submitted the document and give the date and time of printing.)

To select a separator page file, click the Separator Page button in the General tab of the printer's Properties sheet. Enter the name of the separator page file directly, or browse through the folders and select a file. Use one of three separator pages included with Windows NT or a custom separator page file you create.

The following table shows the names of separator files supplied with Windows NT, the purpose of each, and the type of printer with which each is compatible. All three separator pages can be edited. By default, separator page files are kept in the systemroot\SYSTEM32 folder.

File name


Compatible with


Prints a page before each document.



Switches printer to PCL printing and prints a page before each document.



Switches printer to PostScript printing, but does not print a separator page before each document.


Using Custom Separator Pages

To customize a separator page, rename and modify one of the supplied separator files. The following table shows the command delimiters you can include in a separator page file. Windows NT replaces these command delimiters with appropriate data to be sent directly to the printer.

Command delimiters always start with a specific character and end with a letter or number. The first line of your custom separator page must contain only the command delimiter.




The first line of the separator file is a single character. The separator file interpreter considers this the separator file command delimiter. This table assumes that character is the backslash (\) character.


Prints the user name of the person who submitted the document.


Prints the document number.


Prints the date the document was printed. The representation of the date is the same as the Date Format in the International section in Control Panel.


Prints the time the document was printed. The representation of the time is the same as the Time Format in the International section in Control Panel.


Prints all the characters (xxxx) following it until another command delimiter is encountered or until the separator page width character count is reached. (See \Wnn.)


Prints the contents of the file specified by the path, starting on an empty line. The contents of this file are copied directly to the printer without any processing.


Sets a printer-specific control sequence, where nn is a hexadecimal ASCII code sent directly to the printer. To determine the specific numbers, see your printer manual.


Sets the width, in characters, of the separator page. The default width is 80; the maximum width is 256. Any printable characters beyond this width are truncated.


Prints text in single-width block characters until \U is encountered.


Ejects a page from the printer. Use this code to start a new separator page or to end the separator page file. If you get an extra blank separator page when you print, remove this code from your separator page file.


Skips n number of lines (from 0 through 9). Skipping 0 lines simply moves printing to the next line.


Prints text in double-width block characters until \U is encountered.


Turns off block character printing.

Adding, Deleting, and Configuring Ports

Use the Ports tab of a printer's Properties sheet to:

  • Increase or decrease the numbers of printer in a printer pool.

  • Change which port a printer prints to.

  • Add a new port.

  • Delete a port.

  • Adjust port settings.

Note When you adjust serial and parallel port settings or add and delete ports, you affect not just the selected printer, but the entire system.

Changing Scheduling and Spooling Settings

Use the Scheduling tab of the printer's Properties sheet to change the document scheduling and spooling settings. You can set:

  • The range of time the printer is available

  • Document priority

  • Document spooling options

  • Print-queue management options

The following table shows the specific options in the Scheduling tab of the printer's Properties sheet.




Defines when the printer is available.


Sets up a varied priority print queue based on document priority.

Start printing after last page is spooled

Prevents delays when the print server prints pages faster than clients can provide them.

Start printing immediately

Prints documents as quickly as possible (the default).

Print directly to the printer

Sends documents to the print device without first writing them to the print server's hard disk drive.

Hold mismatched documents

Has the spooler hold documents if they do not match the available form. This allows other documents that do match the form to print until the correct form in loaded.

Print spooled documents first

Has the spooler print documents in the order that they finish spooling, rather than in the order that they start spooling. Use this option with Start printing immediately.

Keep documents after they have printed

Allows users to resubmit a document from the print queue instead of an application.

Sharing Printers

To share a printer with network computers, select the Sharing tab in the printer's Properties sheet, click Shared, and then provide a share name. 

Although you can create long printer names containing spaces and special characters, some clients do not recognize or handle them correctly. If you use a mixture of clients on your network, choose printer names that are 31 or fewer characters and that do not contain spaces or special characters.

Windows NT clients can connect to a printer using either the printer name or the printer share name. Clients running other operating systems connect to the printer share name. If you are sharing printers with computers running MS-DOS share names must be no more than eight characters, optionally followed by a period and one to three characters and should not contain spaces.

Note To print from MS-DOS-based applications under Windows NT to Windows NT print servers, you must first issue the net use command from the Windows NT command prompt. For more information on using the net use command, type net use /? at the Windows NT command prompt.

You also use the Sharing tab to install printer drivers form multiple platforms. For more information, see "Installing Printer Drivers for Multiple Hardware Platforms" earlier in this chapter.


Using Windows NT security features you can control access to printers, track printer use and ownership, and take ownership of printers.

Controlling Printer Access

To control printer usage under Windows NT, set permissions for each printer. By default, all shared printers you create are available to all network users. To restrict access to a printer you must alter the printer's permission settings for a particular group or user. To change permissions on a printer, you must be the owner of the printer or have been granted Full Control permission. To change printer settings, click the Security tab in the printer's Properties sheet and then click Permissions.

Four types of permissions apply to network printers:

  • No Access

  • Print

  • Manage Documents (permission to manage all documents aimed at that printer)

  • Full Control

Although permissions are cumulative, the No Access permission overrides all other permissions.

To allow the following uses of a printer, grant the permission shown in the following table.


By default, Administrators, Print Operators, and Server Operators have Full Control rights on a server; Administrators and Power Users have Full Control rights on workstation computers. All users can manage their own documents.

Controlling How Macintosh Clients Access Printers

Although native Macintosh networking provides support for file security, it does not provide support for print-device security. If a Macintosh client is physically able to send a document to a print device or print server, it implicitly has permission to do so. The AppleTalk protocol has no mechanism that supports client-user name or password. Macintosh print clients, therefore, cannot identify themselves on the network, and the Windows NT print server cannot impose user-level security on Macintosh clients.

You can, however, enforce one set of printer permissions on all Macintosh users as a group. The Windows NT Server MacPrint service always logs on using a user account; by default, it logs on as the System account. The System account has Print permission on all local print devices, so by default, any Macintosh client can send a document to any of the Windows NT computer's local printers. If you want Macintosh clients to have a different set of permissions, you must create a new user account, give this user account the printer permissions you want Macintosh users to have, and set the Macintosh client MacPrint service to log on using this account.


By auditing a printer, you track its usage. For a particular printer, you can specify which groups or users and which actions to audit. You can audit both successful and failed actions. Windows NT stores the information generated from auditing in a file. You can view the information using Event Viewer. For more information, see Chapter 9, "Monitoring Events."

Important To audit a printer, you must set the audit policy to audit file and object access. Set the audit policy using User Manager for Domains. For more information on audit policy, see Chapter 1, "Managing Windows NT Server Domains."

To audit the following activities for a printer, select the events shown in the following table.


Taking Ownership

Use the Ownership button to determine who owns the printer and, optionally, to take ownership of the printer. You can take ownership of a printer if you have Full Control of the printer or if you are logged on as a member of the Administrators group. Ownership allows you to set permissions for the printer.

Setting Device-Specific Properties

Device-specific printer properties describe the physical configuration of a print device, such as which paper trays are loaded, how much memory a device has, and so forth. These properties vary from device to device. When you create a printer, use the printer's Properties Device Settings tab to make sure device-specific properties match the settings of the print device. Although default settings work for many printing needs, some special printing options, such as those available with PostScript printer drivers, require specific settings.

Setting Printer Memory

Because page printers must store an entire page in memory, they require relatively large amounts of memory. If you are using a page printer, such as a laser printer, make sure that the amount of memory available in the device matches the value shown in the Device Settings tab. If the print device has substantially more or less memory than what is shown in the Device Settings tab, print throughput can suffer. For example, Windows NT might try to download more fonts to the printer than it can reasonably handle. (Running a printer self-test usually tells you how much RAM the device contains.)

To adjust the Printer Memory setting on the printer's Properties Device Settings tab, double-click the printer icon in the Printers folder and then click Properties on the Printer menu.

Using Print Forms

Windows NT uses form-based printing model rather than a tray-based printing model. Under a form-based model, the print server administrator configures the Windows NT print server by defining the form loaded in each paper source (tray). The form is defined in Windows NT using the following criteria:

  • Size

  • Printer area margins

  • Form name

Using Windows-based applications running on a Windows NT-based computer, each user can select a desired print form. This frees the user from having to know which tray contains which form. The Windows NT print server spooler modules contain tray and form assignment data and send instructions to the print device to select the correct tray.

Windows-based applications can use different forms within a document. For example, you might use Envelope for the first page, Letterhead for the second page, and Letter for the third and following pages.

Note To set the default form, select the Draw selected form only from this tray check box in the printer's Properties Device Settings tab.

For information on creating custom forms, see the "Creating Custom Forms" section later in this chapter.

Choosing Font Types

Fonts are collections of characters and symbols that have a specific design and resolution. Print devices use three types of fonts:

  • Device fonts actually reside in the hardware of your print device. They can be built into the print device itself or can be provided by a font cartridge or font card.

  • Screen fonts are Windows NT fonts (including TrueType fonts) that can be translated for output to the print device. To install screen fonts, use the Fonts option in the Control Panel folder.

  • Downloadable soft fonts are installed using the Device Settings tab of the printer's Properties sheet. Clients that use soft fonts and that print to Windows NT print servers should install soft fonts locally.

Windows NT includes three types of screen fonts that can be reproduced on printers:

  • TrueType fonts are device-independent fonts that can be reproduced on all print devices. TrueType fonts are stored as outlines and can be scaled and rotated. To be reproduced on a print device, fonts only need to be present on the computer originating the document. The greatest benefit of TrueType in a networking environment is its portability; documents with TrueType fonts are independent of any one print device, application, or system.

  • Raster fonts are stored as bitmaps and are device dependent. If a print device does not support raster fonts, it will not print them. Raster fonts cannot be scaled or rotated.

  • Vector fonts are useful for devices such as pen plotters that cannot reproduce bitmaps. They can be scaled to any size or aspect ratio.

For each document, Windows NT downloads required screen and soft fonts to the print device. To improve printing times, use device fonts, which are already present at the print device.

Not all devices can use all three types of printer fonts. Pen plotters, for example, cannot normally use downloadable soft fonts or print raster screen fonts.

Setting Document Defaults

It is easy to confuse printer-specific settings with document properties. Document properties do not rely on a device's physical settings. When applications create a new document, they often ask the printer for the default document settings.

The following table shows typical document and printer-specific properties.

Device-specific properties

Document properties


Number of copies


Page orientation


Two-sided printing

Font cartridge name

Collate copies

Form location


Plotter pen



To view a printer's Document Properties, open the Printers folder, click the printer, and then click Document Defaults on the File menu.

Important Document properties set from an application always override document defaults set in the printer's property sheets. However, if an application does not set a document property (such as page orientation or paper size), the print device defaults to the document properties set in the printer's Document Properties sheets.

Setting Server Properties

You set server properties by displaying and modifying the server's Properties sheet. From these property sheets you can:

  • Create custom forms that are available to all printers on the server.

  • Change port settings for all ports on the server.

  • Choose a new spool file location, set spooler error logging, and set notification options for all printers on the server.


To view a print server's Properties tab, open the Printers folder, and then click Server Properties on the File menu.

Creating Custom Forms

Any user with Full Control permission can define a new form by using the server's Properties Forms property sheet. For example, you could create a form called "Customer Receipt Form" that uses letter-size paper and nonstandard margins. You can also can create multiple forms with the same paper size or margins (or both), to meet specific user needs. For example, you can create forms that have unique names but the same paper size and image area (margins) to identify different departmental letterhead.

New form definitions are added to the print server's database and are stored per server, not per printer. You assign forms to a specific print device and tray using the printer's Properties Settings property sheet.

If an odd-sized form is needed for a single document and will not likely be used again, specify Manual Feed in the Paper Tray box.

Configuring Server Ports

The server's Properties Ports property sheet enables you to change some of the same settings that you can change from the printer's Properties Ports property sheet. From the server's Ports tab in the Properties dialog box, you add, delete, and configure ports. However, to increase or decrease the numbers of printers in a printer pool or change which port a printer is connected to, you must use the printer's Properties Ports property sheet.

For information on changing port settings, see "Adding, Deleting, and Configuring Ports" earlier in this chapter.

Setting Advanced Server Properties

With the server's Properties Advanced property sheet, you can:

  • Set the spool folder location.

  • Enable spooler event logging.

  • Configure the print server to beep when remote documents encounter errors.

  • Configure the print server to notify the client when a remote document has finished printing.

If you specify a spool directory located on a Windows NT file system (NTFS) formatted drive, users must have Change permission to print.

When spooler event logging is enabled, Windows NT logs errors to the system log. To view the system log, run Event Viewer.

For more information on using Event Viewer, see Chapter 9, "Monitoring Events."

Managing a Print Queue

All direct management of printers and documents takes place through the Printers folder. Some queue management options control the entire print queue; others control a single document.

When managing the queue you can:

  • View a list of documents for each installed printer.

  • Pause or resume printing.

  • Purge documents waiting for a printer.

When managing a document you can:

  • Pause or resume printing.

  • Restart the document from the beginning.

  • Delete a document.

  • View, and optionally change, various document settings (such as the document priority and the person notified when the document is done). You can also view — but not change — the form type, paper source, page orientation, and number of copies.

For information on managing queues, see "To view documents waiting to be printed" in Windows NT Help.

Viewing and Managing Remote Printers

You can manage a local or remote print server from any Windows NT client on the network, as long as you have Full Control permission at that print server. When you select a printer from Network Neighborhood, you can remotely manage printer properties and create new printers, just as you would locally. However, to add, delete, or configure ports, you must administer the print server locally.

Any network user can check on the status of a remote printer. However, only users who have Full Control or Manage Documents permission for a printer can manage documents other than their own. If you do not have the correct permission, some options are unavailable. Also, when you attempt to view some properties on computers running an older version of Windows NT, an error message appears.

Tip To access printers that you frequently administer quickly, create a folder on the desktop. Create shortcuts to the printers you use by dragging the printer icon from the printer folder or from Network Neighborhood to the folder you created on your desktop.