Understanding Print Sharing Services

Printers and printing services are areas of Windows Server 2003 that haven’t changed very much in the migration from Windows 2000. Given that, let’s take a brief look at the relevant terminology associated with printing services and how Windows treats printing in general.

To Windows, a printer is the machinery that actually puts ink or toner on a page. There also is such a thing as a logical printer, which refers to the interface between the physical printer and the software that is instructing the printer to print. Think of the logical printer as the printer driver; you can indeed use the two terms interchangeably.

Some important points to consider:

  • It is possible and practical in some instances to have multiple logical printers for every physical printer. I cover some of the scenarios in which such a configuration would be useful in this section.

  • Conversely, you can associate one logical printer with multiple physical printers, creating a “printer cluster” of sorts. The technical term for this is a printer pool, and it’s most commonly used when print jobs need to be directed to the first available printer. I also discuss that a bit later in this part of the chapter.

  • Different types of drivers are available for use in Windows Server 2003. Level 2 drivers are older drivers that were written for Windows NT which run in kernel mode, a function of the OS that makes the entire OS vulnerable to any instability on the part of the driver. Fortunately, ...

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