Printer drivers in the 32/64 world

On January 15, 2009, in sbs 2008, by

Stay tuned for a couple of blog posts on how to do 32bit printers in a 64bit world.  I’m not quite ready to hit print (okay so in fairness I slightly got sidetracked because my Ebay purchase of the Airborne movie that I ordered from Australia came in and I had to see if it worked on my Dvd player (it didn’t) or my Computer’s DVD player (it did).  Before you think less of my taste in cult movie classics, it has Seth Green and Jack Black in their early years.

One thing that I found early on going the other way… having 64bit workstations in a 32bit server world is that I couldn’t put the drivers on the server.  Even more so because I needed Vista/Windows Server 2008 drivers and my print server is a Windows 2003 box.  In our “paperless office” where we kill more trees per capita on an annual basis we have small desktop printers on each workstation.  We do this to keep the workflow for the worker bees.  Then we have large scanner/copier/network printers.  Each one of those has a static IP address. 

For any Vista 64bit workstation, I had to add a local printer, then to tcp/ip port and then I entered in the static IP address of the printer while at the workstation.

I would then add the printer driver at the workstation.  This seemed to do the best rather than trying to add the driver on the server and share out from there.  Now there are more elegant solutions, but if you need a few 64bit workstations to be able to print to a network printer that has a static IP, this is one way to do it.

More blog posts on ways to deal with the 32/64bit printer driver world.


4 Responses to Printer drivers in the 32/64 world

  1. Matthew Clapham says:

    You could also point the server directly to the IP address then have all clients (even 64b ones) point to the server’s share printer queue, but that still has some driver gotchas. But 64b Windows has been out for years and it’s the defacto standard on servers now. There’s no excuse for a top tier IHV not to have driver support.

  2. Rosewood says:

    Quite often on my Vx64 clients I would need to print to shared printers (USB printers or network printers that you can’t print to directly).

    If the driver was not built into Vista, I could simply add it like any other network printer and specify my driver (always trying to keep the version and especially type the same, so never using a postscript driver when the host uses a PCL).

    The problem I ran into was when there was no driver to download, because it was built into Vista. Vista just doesn’t handle that well. So, what then?

    Well, in the above instructions, instead of adding a TCP/IP port, I added a standard local port. When prompted for the port name, I used the full UNC path to the printer, ie \\server\hpprinter. This adds the printer as a local printer, and I can then choose from the built in driver list to get exactly what I wanted.

    One more pro-tip. Users will not get the UAC prompt for adding a printer to Vista if you pre-install the drivers on the machine. To do it manually at least, right click in the white space in Printers and choose Run As Administrator, Server Properties. From the driver section there you can add the drivers in.

  3. cseiter says:

    Airborne. Wow, there’s on I haven’t seen in a long time. The diner where he talks about nothing matters and the girl overhears it, that’s Pompilio’s, the same place as the toothpick scene in “Rainman”. The inside house scenes of the aunt’s house; it the same place as the houce in “Fresh Horses” wih Molly Ringwald. I grew up two blocks from Pompilio’s and went to school with the people who owned the house. They had their whole hose redocoreated twice for free. We had a casting call for extras at my high school, but they said I might overshadow the rest of the cast.

  4. Manuel W. says:

    I second the trick mentioned above — create a new port, Local port, \\servername\printer share name.
    Also, here is a way of installing x64 drivers from a vista machine on a 2003 server.