Windows Server 2008: Print Management Enhancements

Welcome to Day Thirteen.  We have reached the halfway point of our series.  There's only two weeks to go!  Today we'll continue on with our look at Printing in Windows Server 2008 - in particular the enhancements to Print Management and the Print Management Console (PMC). There are two primary tools that are used to […]

Welcome to Day Thirteen.  We have reached the halfway point of our series.  There's only two weeks to go!  Today we'll continue on with our look at Printing in Windows Server 2008 - in particular the enhancements to Print Management and the Print Management Console (PMC).

There are two primary tools that are used to manage the Print Services role in Windows Server 2008, the Server Manager and the Print Management Console.  The PMC was introduced in Windows Server 2003 R2 and has been enhanced in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.  The Server Manager utility and its integration with Print Services is a new feature of Windows Server 2008.  One important thing to remember is that the Print Management instance that is available inline under the Print Services role node in the Server Manager console can only be used to manage the local server.  To manage multiple print servers, you would need to either use the PMC or use an MMC snap-in.

For those who have never used the PMC before, it is an MMC snap-in that enables you to install, view, monitor, manage, migrate and deploy printers from Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008.  The PMC provides real-time details about the status of printers and print servers on the network.  PMC can help you locate printers that have an error condition by using filters.  You can also send e-mail notifications or run scripts when a printer or print server requires attention.  To use the PMC on Windows Server 2008, the Print Services role or the Print Services Tools Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) feature must be installed.  On systems running Windows Vista, the Print Management snap-in is automatically installed and available as an MMC snap-in - as shown in the image below (a default view of the PMC on Windows Vista)

 

To take full advantage of Print Management, you must be logged on as a domain administrator or be a member of the local Administrators group on the print servers you are managing.  Member of the Print Operators group can perform domain printer management but they cannot deploy printers using Group Policy.  Print Management allows you to manage printers running on print server running Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Let's take a look at some of the new functionality available in the new version of PMC.  You can use Print Management with Group Policy to automatically deploy printer connections to users or computers.  This feature was introduced in Windows Server 2003 R2, but it required the use of the PushPrinterConnections.exe tool in a startup script (for per-computer connections) or in a logon script (for per-user connections).  This functionality is included in client computers running Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.  These operating systems can also receive per-user printer connections during background Group Policy refreshes.  In order to deploy printer connections using Group Policy, the domain controller must either be running Windows Server 2008, or running Windows Server 2003 with the Windows Server 2008 schema extensions installed.  To deploy a printer using the PMC, right-click the printer that you want to deploy and select the Deploy with Group Policy... option as shown below and then follow the wizard.  Remember that you will need to use the PushPrinterConnections.exe tool on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems.

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Additional Resources:

Microsoft, WS2008, Windows Sever 2008, Print, Printing, Management, Architecture, Knowledgebase