WHS Full-Featured Print Server Support?

Gadget site Gizmodo have an article entitled, The Windows Home Server Nitty – Gritty.

What caught my eye was the following:

…Microsoft’s current plan is to provided two releases a year on a major/minor cycle, with the first minor release coming some time in early 2008.

Among the features they’re considering adding is full-featured print server support—something that’s more difficult than expected thanks to printer manufacturers’ insistence on distributing drivers with 200MB management suites that ask you whether you want to buy more ink every time you start up. But yes, more features are coming.

The full write up is available to read here.

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Using WHS as a print server

Connect your printers to WHS itself.  By doing this, your other connected client PCs will be able to print if you’re “main” PC is off or inaccessible.  That is one of the benefits of installing your printers onto WHS, using it as a print server.

If WHS does not find the driver automatically try downloading Server 2003 drivers from your printer manufacture website as this is what WHS is based on. You may also try XP drivers in compatibility mode. Right click the executable, Select Properties, Select Compatibility, Select “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and Select Windows XP from the drop-down.

If this still does not work see if your printer manufacturer offers a trimmed-down basic driver as HP does for my HP DeskJet 990cxi printer.

If your driver came as an exe file you can also try to extract the inf files by using WinRAR. Right click the exe file, WinRAR then Extract. If no Extract option appears your final option is to use an exe extractor utility like Universal Extractor which will try to extract files from any type of archive allowing you to use device manager to locate and install the driver from the inf files.

Make sure WHS is assigning itself to the proper workgroup. Is it WORKGROUP, MSHOME or something else? Make you’re your server and clients match.

When installing a multi-function printer (MFD) on a server the only function supported is printing as the drivers for scanning/faxing will NOT work.

N.B. If you are using Windows Vista be aware that when you come to add your network printer drivers to your client machine that User Access Control (UAC) must be set to the default enabled. Otherwise the following error message appears “The specified print monitor is unknown”. This happens when the machine try’s to automatically install the printer drivers. With UAC disabled the printer drivers cannot be installed from the server.

To re-enable UAC, go to Control Panel Classic View, User Accounts and click on “Turn User Account Control on or off”. Make sure that “Use user Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer” is ticked.

UPDATE: The following site has links to find drivers for almost any printer on the web.

UPDATE 2: 1) If your driver has an exe extension and none of the above works, then you can run the install program and the files will be extracted to the temp folder of your user profile. So go through the setup routine clinking next and keep looking within the folder above. The files should be in there own sub folder in that folder, but not always.

2) If you have a vista system that gives you an error about “being out of memory” when you try to add the printer there is a simple trick to fix this.  you will need to download the vista driver for the printer (duh) and install the printer as a local printer and simply select LPT1.  once the printer has been installed go into the properties and manually change the port to \\servername\printername\ from LPT1.  then you should be set.
TIP Courtesy of masteroffm from The Green Button Forums.

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