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Upgrading to Windows 2000 Server or the Windows Server 2003 Family

Updated: April 22, 2003

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

Prior to upgrading to Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 from Windows NT 4 Server, many IHVs recommend uninstalling all IHV printer drivers and reinstalling the latest versions of those drivers for Windows 2000 and the Windows Server 2003 family of products. Microsoft recommends that you use the Fixprnsv.exe utility that is located in the \Printers\Fixprnsv directory on the Windows Server CD. This utility will help identify known bad drivers and replace them with compatible drivers prior to an upgrade. If no replacement is available on the Windows CD, the utility prompts you to obtain an updated driver from the printer manufacturer. Microsoft recommends that you follow the IHV directions to update the print drivers on your system, and then use the Fixprnsv.exe utility to locate any remaining print drivers that could be problematic during the upgrade.

The following sections describe the behavior if drivers are not uninstalled prior to upgrading to Windows 2000 or the Windows Server 2003 family operating system.

Upgrade Process for Drivers

When upgrading from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 or later, there are a number of possible actions with respect to printer drivers. Each situation is described in this section.

  • Windows NT 4.0 inbox drivers (PCL and PostScript) that shipped with the operating system are upgraded to the new version of these drivers in Windows 2000 or the Windows Server 2003 family. (The same replacement/update occurs when upgrading Windows 2000 Server to the Windows Server 2003 family.)

  • IHV drivers (PCL or PostScript) with exact driver model names matching Windows 2000 or the Windows Server 2003 family driver names are upgraded to inbox drivers with no user intervention.

  • Drivers that are blocked for stability reasons are not used. Printers that use these drivers are removed during the upgrade process. If a printer is connected directly to a computer and has a recognized Plug and Play ID, Windows searches for a suitable driver. If one is found, the printer is installed during the upgrade as a new printer.

  • Drivers that are not blocked and do not have name matches are carried through the upgrade unchanged.

Windows NT 4.0 Inbox Drivers

All Windows NT 4.0 PCL drivers (RASDD) are upgraded to the latest Unidrv drivers as part of the upgrade process. (UNIDRV5 is used for Windows 2000 and UNIDRV5.1 for the Windows Server 2003 family.) PostScript drivers that were shipped with Windows NT 4.0 are upgraded to PostScript version 5.0 in Windows 2000 or PostScript version 5.2 in the Windows Server 2003 family. Both versions 5.0 and 5.2 support PostScript levels 1, 2 and 3.

Windows 2000 Inbox Drivers

All Windows 2000 inbox drivers are updated to the Windows Server 2003 version as well.

Drivers that are changed (updated to a driver with a new name) are no longer associated with the additional drivers that were used on the original server. (Additional drivers are those added through the Additional Drivers option in the Printers dialog box.) After a Windows 2000 or later print server is configured, the additional drivers—such as those for Windows NT as well as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition clients—need to be reinstalled accordingly. The association of additional drivers is done per model, so it is only necessary to install these down-level drivers once per model driver, not for each printer queue.

IHV Drivers with Matching Names

IHV Windows NT 4.0 drivers are upgraded to Windows 2000 or the Windows Server 2003 family drivers with no user intervention if the driver model name matches the existing Windows NT 4.0 driver name.

In this situation, the IHV driver is treated exactly the same as the Microsoft driver. Due to interaction problems between Windows 2000 drivers and Windows NT 4.0 drivers in Point and Print environments, many IHVs recommends that their Windows NT 4.0 driver be reloaded following the upgrade. This issue applies to users who plan to use Point and Print between Windows NT and Windows 2000, Windows XP, and the Windows Server 2003 family of products. (For more information and supported configurations, see “Point and Print for Windows 2000” later in this paper.)

Blocked IHV Drivers (User Intervention Required)

Microsoft designed the upgrade path from Windows NT 4.0 so that if the new operating system has a newer driver available, the old driver is replaced. If Windows cannot find a newer driver version, and the driver is not identified with any known problems in Windows 2000, Windows XP, or the Windows Server 2003 family of products, the existing driver is used.

A list of known problematic drivers is maintained in the system file, Printupg.inf. Drivers in this list are not upgraded during the operating system installation. Instead, a newer version of the driver from the IHV must be installed, or an alternate driver selected from the inbox drivers available in Windows 2000 (and later versions of Windows). The information found in Printupg.inf can be helpful in identifying whether a new version from an IHV is blocked or not. Additionally, the Fixprnsrv.exe utility can be used to replace known bad drivers with inbox substitutes if available. If a compatible driver cannot be located and installed, Fixprnsv.exe reports that and refers the user to an IHVs Web site. By running Fixprnsv.exe prior to upgrade, you can identify printers that need to be removed during the upgrade in advance so that sudden service disruptions are avoided.

Drivers are blocked either because Microsoft has determined, through testing, that they cause substantial instability of the operating system, or because the IHV has requested they be blocked based on their own testing and available updates.

Non-Blocked IHV Drivers (No User Intervention Required)

Certain Windows NT 4.0 drivers are not blocked and do not match the driver name of an inbox driver. These drivers are not altered for replaced during the upgrade process. Microsoft recommends using the Fixprnsv.exe utility to identify drivers that should be replaced. For drivers that are not blocked (either because they are not in the Printupg.inf file or because they have a later date than the date in Printupg.inf), Fixprnsv.exe takes no action.

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