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Managing Local and Network Print Devices

You manage print devices in Windows XP Professional from the Printers And Faxes folder, which is accessible from the Control Panel, or by clicking Start|Printers And Faxes. When working with printing in Windows XP, you need to fully understand the following printing terminology as defined by Microsoft:

  • Printer—A software interface between the operating system and a print device. It defines ports through which print jobs get routed. Printer names direct print jobs to one or more print devices.

  • Print device—A piece of equipment (hardware) that physically produces printed documents. A print device may be attached to a local computer or connected via a network interface.

  • Printer port—A software interface through which print jobs get directed to either a locally attached print device, or a network-connected print device. Windows XP supports local line printer terminal (LPT), COM (serial), and Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. It also supports network-connected printer port devices such as the Intel NetPort and the Hewlett-Packard (HP) JetDirect.

  • Print server—A computer that serves as the host for printers that are associated with print devices.

  • Printer driver—Software specific to each print device (designed to run in Windows XP) that translates printing commands into printer language codes for each print device. PCL5 and PostScript are examples of two types of printer languages.

  • Print job—The actual document to be printed along with the necessary print processing command.

  • Print resolution—What determines the quality and smoothness of the text or images that the print device will render. This specification is expressed in dots per inch (dpi). Higher dpi numbers generally result in better print quality.

  • Print spooler—The process (service) that runs in the background of Windows XP that initiates, processes, and distributes print jobs. The spooler saves print jobs into a temporary physical file on disk. Print jobs are then despooled and transferred to the appropriate print device.

  • Print queue—A logical "waiting area" where print jobs are temporarily stored until the print device is available and ready to process each job according to the job's priority level, and according to its order within the queue.

Connecting to Local and Network Printers

After you add a local printer to a Windows XP Professional computer, you have the option of sharing it with other users on the network. To add a local printer to your system, perform these steps:

  1. Log on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group.

  2. Click Start|Printers And Faxes to open the Printers And Faxes window.

  3. Click the Add A Printer link from the Printer Tasks pane. The Add Printer Wizard appears. Click Next to continue.

  4. Click the Local Printer button. If the printer that you are adding is not Plug and Play compatible, you may clear the Automatically Detect And Install My Plug And Play Printer checkbox. If the printer is Plug and Play compliant, Windows XP Professional automatically installs and properly configures it for you.

  5. If the printer is not Plug and Play, the Select A Printer Port dialog box appears. Click the port you want to use from the Use The Following Port drop-down list, or click the Create A New Port button and choose the type of port to create from the drop-down list.

  6. Click Next.

  7. Select the printer Manufacturer and Model. Click the Have Disk button if you have a DVD-ROM, CD-ROM, or diskette with the proper printer drivers from the manufacturer. Click the Windows Update button to download the latest drivers available from Microsoft's Web site. You should strive to use only drivers that have been digitally signed by Microsoft, for compatibility.

  8. Click Next.

  9. Enter a name for the printer. The name should not exceed 31 characters, and best practice dictates that the printer name should not contain any spaces or special characters. Specify whether this printer will be designated as the system's default printer.

  10. Click Next.

  11. In the Printer Sharing dialog box, click the Share Name button if you want to share this printer with the network. Enter a share name for the printer; it's a good idea to limit the share name to 14 or fewer characters, and to place no spaces within the share name.

  12. Click Next.

  13. Enter an optional Location name and Comment.

  14. Click Next.

  15. Click Yes and then click Next when prompted to print a test page; it's always a good idea to make sure that the printer has been set up and is working properly.

  16. Click Finish to exit the Add Printer Wizard.

To connect to a network printer, you also use the Add Printer Wizard from the Printers folder. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Log on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group.

  2. Click Start|Printers And Faxes to open the Printers And Faxes window.

  3. Click the Add A Printer link from the Printer Tasks pane. The Add Printer Wizard appears. Click Next to continue.

  4. Click the option button labeled A Network Printer, Or A Printer Attached To Another Computer.

  5. Click Next.

  6. Follow one of these options:

    Select Browse For A Printer, and then click Next.

    Select Connect To This Printer, type in the UNC path for the printer, and then click Next.

  7. Select Connect To A Printer On the Internet Or On A Home Or Office Network, type in the URL address for the printer, and then click Next.

  8. If you choose to browse for a printer, locate the printer from the Browse For Printer dialog box and then click Next.

  9. Click Yes or No when prompted to make the printer the system's default, and click Next.

  10. Click Finish to exit the Add Printer Wizard.

Connecting to Network Printers via the Command Line

As mentioned earlier in this chapter, you can use the net use command to connect to network drive shares. You can also use this command to connect to remote printers from a command prompt window. The syntax is as follows:

net use lptx: \\print_server_name\printer_share_name

Printer ports lpt1, lpt2, and lpt3 are represented by lptx. The net use command is the only way to connect client computers that are running MS-DOS to network printers.

Managing Printers and Print Jobs

From the Printers And Faxes folder, you manage print jobs by double-clicking the printer icon that you want to work with. After you have opened the printer's print queue window, you can pause printing or cancel all documents from the Printer menu. You can also take the printer offline from the Printer menu. If you select an individual print job that is listed, you can Pause, Resume, Start, or Cancel that job by selecting one of these options from the Documents menu. The print queue window itself displays the document name, the status, the document owner, the number of pages for each print job, the size of the job, the time and date that the job was submitted, and the port used.

Members of the Administrators group and members of the Power Users group have permissions to manage print jobs that are listed in the print queue. At the time that users print one or more documents, they get the built-in security principal Creator Owner applied to their user accounts so that they are granted permission to manage documents as well. Users may manage only their own print jobs, unless they are members of the Administrators group or the Power Users group (if the computer is standalone or a member of a workgroup), or members of the Print Operators group or the Server Operators group (if the Windows XP print server is a member of a Windows domain). Users can also manage other users' print jobs if they have been granted the Allow Manage Documents permission.

CAUTION

Windows XP has dropped support for the Data Link Control (DLC) protocol, which is used by some older Hewlett-Packard (HP) Jet Direct cards and Jet Direct print server devices. These older devices should be upgraded to newer HP network interface cards and print devices that support TCP/IP and the standard port monitor.

Configuring Print Server and Printer Properties

A Windows XP Professional computer becomes a print server when you physically connect a printer to the system and then share that printer with the network. You can easily configure many of the properties of your Windows XP Professional system as a print server by selecting File|Server Properties from the Printers And Faxes window. You can configure many print server settings—such as changing the location of the Spool folder—from the Print Server Properties dialog box. Using this dialog box means that you don't have to edit the Registry directly to make changes to your Windows XP print server configuration settings.

By right-clicking one of the available printer icons in the Printers And Faxes folder and choosing Properties, you can configure that printer's settings and options. The printer Properties dialog box contains six tabs (seven tabs for a color printer): General, Sharing, Ports, Advanced, Security, Device Settings, and Color Management (for a color printer).

The General Tab

From the General tab, you can work with the following settings:

  • Add or modify printer location and comment information.

  • Set printing preferences such as portrait or landscape orientation.

  • Select paper source and quality.

  • Print a test page.

The Sharing Tab

The Sharing tab displays the following options:

  • Share the printer, change the network share name, or stop sharing the printer.

  • Install additional printer drivers for client computers that use different operating systems or different Windows NT CPU platforms.

TIP

Windows XP print server computers automatically download the correct printer drivers for client computers running Windows 95, Windows 98/Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP that connect to the print server, as long as the correct drivers have been installed on the print server.

The Ports Tab

On the Ports tab, you have these configuration options:

  • Select a port to print to.

  • Add, configure, and delete ports.

  • Enable bidirectional printing support.

  • Enable printer pooling, which enables you to select two or more identical print devices that are configured as one logical printer; print jobs are directed to the first available print device.

The Advanced Tab

On the Advanced tab, you work with scheduling and spooling settings, like these:

  • Set time availability limits.

  • Set print job priority.

  • Change the printer driver or add a new driver.

  • Spool print jobs and start printing immediately, or start printing after the last page has spooled.

  • Print directly to the printer; do not spool print jobs.

  • Hold mismatched documents.

  • Print spooled documents first.

  • Retain documents after they have been printed.

  • Enable advanced printing features (such as metafile spooling) and enable advanced options (such as Page Order, Booklet Printing, and Pages Per Sheet); advanced options vary depending upon printer capabilities.

  • Set printing defaults.

  • Select a different print processor: RAW, EMF, or Text.

  • Specify a separator page.

The Security Tab

You can configure the following security settings with the Security tab:

  • Set permissions for users and groups (similar to NTFS file and folder permissions): Allow or Deny the Print, Manage Printers, and Manage Documents.

  • Set up printer auditing (similar to NTFS file and folder access auditing) via the Auditing tab by clicking the Advanced button.

  • Take ownership of the printer (similar to taking ownership of NTFS files and folders) via the Owner tab by clicking the Advanced button.

  • View the effective permissions for the printer (similar to viewing the effective permissions for NTFS files and folders) via the Effective Permissions tab by clicking the Advanced button.

TIP

For a Windows XP computer that is not a domain member, the default security permissions for printers are as follows: Administrators–Allow Print, Allow Manage Printers, and Allow Manage Documents; Creator Owner–Allow Manage Documents; Everyone–Allow Print; Power Users–Allow Print, Allow Manage Printers, and Allow Manage Documents. For a Windows XP computer that is joined to a domain, the default security permissions for printers are as follows: Administrators–Allow Print, Allow Manage Printers, and Allow Manage Documents; Creator Owner–Allow Manage Documents; Everyone–Allow Print; Print Operators and Server Operators–Allow Print, Allow Manage Printers, and Allow Manage Documents.

The Device Settings Tab

The Device Settings tab enables you to configure printer-specific settings. The available settings on this tab vary depending on the manufacturer and the model of the printer that you are working with. For example, many printers enable you to configure paper tray assignments, font cartridge settings, and any installable options such as printer memory settings.

Using the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP)

Windows XP Professional computers can connect to printers that are attached to Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows .NET Server print servers by using a Web browser and a URL, instead of connecting via the GUI or via the command line using a UNC path. IPP works over a corporate intranet or through an Internet connection. IPP gives users the ability to print over an Internet connection. IIS version 5 or later must be running on the print server computer. You can enter one of two available URLs into your Web browser:

  • http://print_server_name/printers—This address connects you to the Web page for the Printers And Faxes folder on the Windows XP print server computer (however, fax devices are not displayed in the browser window).

  • http://print_server_name/printer_share_name—This address connects you to the Web page for the print queue folder for the printer that you specify, as shown in Figure 3.20.

Figure 3.20 The Web browser interface for a network printer that uses IPP.

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