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64 Bit Print Server in a 32 bit virtual machine

Posted on 2010-04-01
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Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Hello Experts!

My team and I have run into a quite common problem. One of our clients decided it would be a smart idea to go ahead and buy a bunch of 64 bit workstations, primarily for cad, we soon discovered that we could not install print drivers on the server, probably being that it is a 32 bit server, don't take my word for it, i'm not the primary guy on this job, but i can get all information needed if i don't provide enough. Anyways, for now we have a solution were we can install the print drivers locally, but it would save a lot more time and money if we could install print drivers on the server. Now this is were i got the idea of hosting a virtual 64 bit machine inside one of thier servers, they have 3, and we already have VMware set up on one for disaster recovery.  In my mind we should be able to turn this 64 bit virtual machine into a print server, just a small server with the print drivers to send out. Right now in shop i've tested with Sun Virtual Box, and i can confirm i can load a 64 bit os onto a 32 bit os, but the problem is i have no 64 bit machines here to test my theory. I wanted to ask if my idea is logical and possible, and if so if i'd be going about it the right way, or any problems i might run into.
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Question by:STS-Tech
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Expert Comment

by:miahi
ID: 29339618
Are they Windows servers? You can install the 64-bit drivers for the printer on a 32-bit Windows server, by going to Control Panel/Printers and Faxes, right-click on the empty space and choose "Server Properties". Go to the Drivers tab and choose Add to start the Add Printer Driver wizard, click Next and there you can choose what processor and OS you need. There you choose x64, for 64-bit drivers, and continue installing the driver. It will be accepted and served to the appropriate clients. You need the driver files in an unarchived version (you will need the .ini file).

I use this method for a Windows 2003 Server 32-bit with shared printers and Windows 7 64-bit clients.
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Author Comment

by:STS-Tech
ID: 29339864
I believe that was what my coworker tried originally, he's on his way here to shop, so i can confirm, but i'm pretty sure it would not take the drivers. I'll keep you posted.
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Expert Comment

by:miahi
ID: 29341470
Sorry, it was the .inf driver descriptor in my first comment, not the .ini.

The other way round, if the 32-bit Windows Server is installed on a 64-bit capable processor (any processor made in the last 3 years at least), you can install a 64-bit Windows VM guest, install the shared printer with manually-installed 64-bit drivers, then share that printer again to the 64-bit workstations. But you'll have two different print servers, one for the 32-bit workstations and the other for the 64-bit ones (because if you want to use only the virtual server for both, you'll need to install the 32-bit drivers in the same way the 64-bit ones would be installed in the 32-bit system - you could have the same install problem there).
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Author Comment

by:STS-Tech
ID: 29353257
miahi -

I've talked to my guy, he claims that most of the drivers he could find for the printers didn't contain .inf and thats were the main problem was. Do you know if there is anyway to pull the .inf from a workstation that has had the drivers installed locally, i'm assuming in  theory i should be able to rip them off and send em over the the server and do as you suggested.
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Expert Comment

by:miahi
ID: 29356627
If the driver is an exe it contains all the files, and it should extract them when the driver is installed - to a temporary folder at least. Sometimes you can identify them in window's temporary folder.

I use Driver Magician for recovering drivers from live installs. It locates the inf driver and then searches all the drive for the files described in the inf.
http://www.drivermagician.com/
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Author Comment

by:STS-Tech
ID: 29370256
I'm tring to rip the drivers with that tool, and i don't see how. Any ideas?
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Accepted Solution

by:
jrtec earned 2000 total points
ID: 29391225
1. Load the 32-bit driver on the server and share it out.
2. Load a 64-bit driver on a workstation locally.
3. From the workstation perform the Run command to connect to the server (example:
\\11.11.5.33) and press enter. This should bring up the server.
4. Navigate to the previously shared out printer on the server.
5. Right-click on the shared out printer and select properties.
6. Select the sharing tab and then click on the Additional Drivers button.
7. Select or check-off the 64-bit driver to be added to the 32-bit system.
8. Select OK and then browse to the folder that houses the 64-bit driver to be installed and
select OK. The Additional Drivers window should now have the 64-bit and 32-bit checked
off.
9. Check the Additional Drivers of the Server to make sure that the 64-bit has been pushed
up (right-click on the shared out printer of the server => Properties => Sharing Tab
=> Additional Drivers).

Or use the method in the attached document
How-to-add-PS-driver-of-differen.doc
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:miahi
ID: 29454464
Nice, I wouldn't have thought of that... getting the driver directly from the share of the 64-bit computer.
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