Lesson 4:?Configuring Network Printers
After you have set up and shared network printers, user and company printing needs might require you to configure printer settings so that your printing resources better fit these needs.
Five common configuration changes you can make are as follows:
- You can share an existing nonshared printer if your printing load increases.
- You can download additional print drivers so that clients running other versions of Windows can use the shared printer.
- You can stop sharing an existing shared printer.
- You can create a printer pool so that the print jobs are automatically distributed to the first available printer. In this way, users do not have to search for an available printer.
- You can set priorities among printers so that critical documents always print before noncritical documents.
After this lesson, you will be able to
- Share an existing printer
- Download additional printer drivers
- Stop sharing a printer
- Create a printer pool
- Set priorities between printers
Estimated lesson time: 25 minutes
Sharing an Existing Printer
If the printing demands on your network increase and your network has an existing, nonshared printer for a print device, you can share it so that users can utilize the printer.
When you share a printer, you need to assign the printer a share name, which appears in My Network Places. Use an intuitive name to help users when they are browsing for a printer. You can also add printer drivers for all versions of Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 95, and Windows 98.
In the Properties dialog box for the printer, you can use the Sharing tab to share an existing printer (see Figure 6.7).
Figure 6.7??The Sharing Tab of the Properties dialog box for a printer
You would use the following steps to share an existing printer using the Sharing tab:
- In Control Panel, click Printers And Other Hardware.
- In Printers And Other Hardware, click Printers And Faxes.
- In Printers And Faxes, right-click the icon for the printer that you want to share.
- Click Sharing.
- In the Sharing tab for the printer, click Share This Printer.
- In the Share Name text box, type in a share name and then click OK.
After you have shared the printer, Windows XP Professional puts an open hand under the printer icon, indicating that the printer is shared.
Downloading Printer Drivers
If you are sharing the printer with users whose computers are running different versions of Windows, you need to install different drivers. To verify which printer drivers are downloaded or to download printer drivers to your print server, use the following steps:
- On your print server, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
- Click Printers And Other Hardware, and then click Printers And Faxes.
- Right-click the printer for which you want to verify that the drivers are downloaded or for which you want to download additional printer drivers, and then click Properties.
- In the Sharing tab, click Additional Drivers.
In the Additional Drivers dialog box (Figure 6.8), if the check box is selected, the printer drivers are downloaded.
Figure 6.8??The Additional Drivers dialog box
- Select the check box for any additional printer drivers you want to download, and then click OK.
You are prompted to enter the path to the Windows XP Professional installation files.
- Enter the path to the Windows XP Professional installation files, or insert the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then click OK.
The drivers are installed.
Stopping the Sharing of a Printer
If the printing demands on your network change, you can stop sharing an existing shared printer. Use the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog box for that printer to stop sharing it. The steps to stop sharing a printer are similar to those for sharing a printer. However, in the steps to stop sharing a printer, in the Properties dialog box for the printer, in the Sharing tab, click Not Shared (see Figure 6.7) and then click OK.
Setting Up a Printer Pool
A printer pool consists of two or more identical printers that are connected to one print server and act as a single printer. The printers can be local or network interface printers. Although the printers should be identical, you can use printers that are not identical but use the same printer driver. After you install a printer, you can create a printer pool using the Ports tab of the Properties dialog box for that printer. In the Ports tab, select the Enable Printer Pooling check box and select additional ports on the printer server (see Figure 6.9).
Figure 6.9??Enabling printer pooling
When you create a printer pool, users can print documents without checking which printer is available. The document prints on the first available printer in the printing pool.
When you set up a printer pool, you should place the printers in the same physical area so that users can easily locate their documents.
A printing pool has the following advantages:
- In a network with a high volume of printing, it decreases the time that documents wait on the print server.
- It simplifies administration because you can administer multiple printers simultaneously.
Before you create a printer pool, make sure that you connect the printers to the print server.
To create a printing pool complete the following steps:
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Printers And Other Hardware.
- In the Printers And Other Hardware window, click Printers And Faxes.
- Right-click the printer icon, and on the menu that appears, click Properties.
- In the Properties dialog box for the printer, click the Ports tab.
- In the Ports tab, select the Enable Printer Pooling check box.
- Select the check box for each port to which a printer that you want to add to the pool is connected, and then click OK.
Setting Priorities Among Printers
Setting priorities among printers makes it possible to set priorities among groups of documents that all print on the same physical printer. Multiple virtual printers point to the same physical printer, which allows users to send critical documents to a high-priority printer and noncritical documents to a lower priority printer. The critical documents always print first.
There are two things that you must do to set priorities among printers:
- Add a printer and share it. Then add a second printer and point it to the same physical printer or port. The port can be either a physical port on the print server or a port that points to a network interface print device.
- Set a different priority for each of the printers that is pointing to the physical printer or hardware device. Have different groups of users print to different virtual printers, or have users send different types of documents to different virtual printers.
For example, see Figure 6.10. User1 sends documents to a printer with the lowest priority of 1, and User2 sends documents to a printer with the highest priority of 99. In this example, User2's documents always print before User1's.
Figure 6.10??Printer pool with different priorities set
Use the following steps to set the priority for a printer:
- Log on as Administrator or with a user account that is a member of the Administrators group on the print server.
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Printers And Other Hardware.
- Right-click the icon for the printer, and then click Properties.
The Properties dialog box for the printer appears.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- In the Advanced tab, adjust the Priority setting for the printer.
This value for a printer can be set from 1 through 99-the higher the number, the higher the priority of the printer.
Here are some questions to help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers for these questions are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."
- What are some advantages to sharing a printer?
- How do you share a printer?
- Which of the following statements about a printing pool in Windows XP Professional are correct? (Choose all answers that are correct.)
- All printers in a printing pool must be network interface printers.
- A printing pool consists of two or more identical printers that are connected to one print server and act as a single printer.
- If you use printers that are not identical, they must use the same printer driver.
- If you use printers that are not identical, you must install all the required printer drivers on the print server.
- Why would you create virtual printers and vary the priorities on them?
- To share an existing printer, use the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog box for the printer and select Share This Printer.
- A printer pool consists of two or more identical printers that are connected to one print server and act as a single printer.
- Setting priorities on virtual printers makes it possible for users to send critical documents to a high-priority printer and noncritical documents to a lower priority printer, even when there is only one physical printer.