Microsoft adds new printing feature to Terminal Services

With little fanfare, Microsoft has added a new feature in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 that makes life easier for IT administrators dealing with printing issues using Windows Terminal Services. SearchWin2000.com recently conducted an e-mail interview with Terminal Services and Citrix technology expert Stefan Vermeulen, who maintains the site PrintingSupport.com, to discuss the printing feature.

What is the universal printing feature for Terminal Services in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1? The universal

printing feature in Terminal Services … is the use of a fallback printer when no

For those users who do not have heavy requirements regarding printing functionality, it could even be a permanent solution to use the fallback driver.


Stefan Vermeulen

,
suitable match can be found during the logon of the client. This is most often encountered when the client side has loaded a new or unknown printer driver, not known to the server administrator yet. This fallback driver will create a printer at all times, thus never depriving the user [of] basic printing capabilities. How can IT administrators use it to make their jobs easier?
This new feature can help administrators a lot. Most of the time they are not informed when a user changes printer, or what a new user has for a printer. It also helps in situations where the administrator and the client are in different time zones, and the client needs printing functionality immediately.

The new feature will buy the administrator time to find a more suitable matching driver at a later time, but not deprive the user of printing functionality during his or her first connection to the Terminal Server. For those users who do not have heavy requirements regarding printing functionality, it could even be a permanent solution to use the fallback driver. How does it work?
Microsoft has added a new policy called 'Terminal Server Fallback Printer Driver Behavior,' which is disabled by default. If this setting is set to enabled, the fallback printer driver is enabled and the default behavior is for the Terminal Server to find a suitable printer driver. If one is not found, the client's printer is not available. You can choose to change this default behavior.

The available options are:

  • Do nothing if one is not found -- This is the default pre-SP1 behavior, where no printer is auto-created without a perfect driver match or mapping.
  • Default to Printer Control Language (PCL) if one is not found -- If no driver match or mapping is found, it reverts to the PCL fallback printer driver.
  • Default to PS if one is not found -- If no driver match or mapping is found, it reverts to the PS fallback printer driver.
  • Show both PCL and PS if one is not found -- If no driver match or mapping is found, it reverts to both the PS and PCL based fallback printer drivers.

    If this policy is set to 'disabled,' the Terminal Server fallback driver is disabled and the Terminal Server will not attempt to use the fallback driver.

    The PCL driver is based on the HP DeskJet 500 driver from the Windows 2003 CD-ROM. The PS driver is based on the HP LaserJet 4/4M PS. Both drivers are black and white and only provide basic printing functionality.

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