Friday, November 15, 2013

Windows Server 2012 - Print Management: Part 1 - installation of the role and adding a printer

It had been a while since I looked at the latest print server technology in the Windows Server systems, especially since Windows 2008 R2, so I wanted to see what was new and to what extent managing printers has been simplified since Windows 2003.
In particular, I appreciate the deployment features offered by Group Policy which I'll examine in another post (probably the next post).
But first, let's start with the basics: installing the Print (and Document) Services role.

Installation of the Print Services role

We start in Server Manager, go to the upper right-hand corner, select "Manage", then "Add Roles and Features".

We click "Next", as needed, to reach the following screen where we select the "Role-based (etc.)" option:

Server Manager allows us to manage any server that we add to the group so I'll select the server that will play the Print Server role: SVR-004:

I select the "Print and Document Services" role:

I'll make sure I select the Management Tools as well:

The admin might want to take note of the difference between Type 3 and Type 4 drivers. The latter can facilitate print service management because standard end-users can install them without administrative rights. Otherwise, adjustments can be made using Group Policy. 

For this exercise, I'll only select "Print Server" among the four role services presented:

The following screen summarizes my choices. Restarting the server was not necessary.

The installation of the role begins and...

If we open the Print Management console on SVR-004, we have something like this:

This is where we will configure print services in the sections that follow.

Adding a printer to the print server

Before we can offer print services to the end-user, we need to add a printer to the server and then make it available to the users by sharing it.

We accomplish this by proceeding as follows:

In the Print Management console, we right click on the "Printers" icon (as shown above) and select "Add Printer" in the resulting drop-down menu.
I happen to have available a HP LaserJet 4200n printer to which I assigned IP address
Note: this printer is not directly connected to the print server. It has its own network interface. Best practice is to store servers in a secure location and place printers close to users, which is not possible if the printer is connected to the server with a USB cable.

So I'll add a "TCP/IP printer" by IP address:

I'll indicate the printer IP address manually and uncheck the automatic detection of the driver. This may work perfectly well (and it does with a common printer model like the HP LaserJet 4200n) but I want to show how one would select the printer driver manually (if necessary, from "disk").

Here is where, if necessary, we could select the driver from "Disk" (or other media) or search for a driver (perhaps updated) on Windows Update:

In this case, I'll just select the driver that the wizard would have selected. I could select the PS (PostScript) driver if preferred.
I can then give the printer a name, share it, and, if desired, give it a separate shared name, for example, something like "Main Office Printer". The name can be modified later on and that is, in fact, what I did, since the default name (below) is neither descriptive nor concise.

After reviewing the settings (screen not shown), I can click "Next". If all goes well, I should see this:


So we have completed two fundamental steps in the implementation of a Print Services solution:

1. Install the Print (and Document) Services role on a server.
2. Add and configure a printer to which users will connect for their printing needs.

The options for connecting to that printer will be the subject of my next post.


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