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Print Server Upgrade, Migration, and Interoperability

Updated: April 22, 2003

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

Microsoft® Windows® 2000 introduced a dramatic new version of the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system. The printing subsystem was among the many areas of Windows 2000 that experienced substantial changes from previous versions of Windows NT. Even though the benefits of these changes have proven their worth in terms of the stability and robustness of the operating system, they come at a price. During the upgrade and migration to Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003, companies often find themselves in a mixed environment that includes Windows NT 4.0 as well as Windows 2000, Windows XP, or the Windows Server 2003 family.

Adding to the complexity of the interoperability impact is the fact that network printing involves rendering of print jobs using both local and remote (client and server) driver functions and settings. For this reason, network printing in an environment with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, Windows XP, or the Windows Server 2003 family can present challenges to corporations.

The purpose of this document is to help explain the procedural and environmental conditions that exist in a network printing environment, especially as they relate to mixed versions of the Windows NT operating system. Additionally, various methods for dealing with these problems are discussed.

Some of the interoperability concerns that arise in a mixed environment of Windows NT 4.0 and later versions of Windows are rooted in changes to the printer driver architectural model. This document examines the move from kernel-mode to user-mode process space, as well as the upgrade of the Microsoft Universal Printer Driver. Other issues related to device limitations in the printer hardware are presented only when interoperability problems arise in the driver model. This document also reviews how device font support affects the transitional period for customers upgrading from Windows NT 4.0.

It is important to note that this discussion focuses on the transitional period that corporations face due to the challenge of upgrading tens of thousands of clients in order to migrate to Windows 2000 or later. The benefits of Windows 2000 and later printing improvements are not fully accessible to mixed or legacy clients. This paper assumes the customers’ goal is to achieve a network printing environment in which all clients and servers are running Windows 2000 or later.

In This White Paper

Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 Printing Architecture

Changes to Printer Drivers in Windows 2000

Upgrading to Windows 2000 Server or the Windows Server 2003 Family

Migrating to Windows 2000

Point and Print for Windows 2000

Customer Actions Moving Forward

Summary (Print Server Upgrade, Migration, and Interoperability)

Related Links (Print Server Upgrade, Migration, and Interoperability)

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