Edit Print Driver inf To Install in Custom Folder

Posted on 2011-04-27
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I am trying to get a print dirver to install itself in a different folder instead of the usual C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86 sub-folder.  The purpose of this is because management does not want me to update the drivers on the print server which would then update the clients and their print preferences would then be broken and they would need to re-establish them.  They are very sensitive to this scenario.  I have a group of people that the latest driver would fix their issue.  My plan is to queue new queues on a server that doesn't have a lot of queues on.  I am concerned that the drivers would come down on the clients and over-write the old drivers and cause other issues ("driver hell").  This is for the same model printer which is a Toshiba 853 MFP.  The other issue is that I was told that users print a lot of 11x17 so having a different queue to print to will result in less problems (versus printing an e-mail in 11x17 by accident).  Thus people will have a queue with the older driver and a new queue with the newer driver.

Print servers are Win2003 SP2 and clients are WinXP SP3.

I can easily rename the name of the driver so it will show up in the print server properties/drivers as a whole new driver.  I can get the driver files to place themselves in a different folder and edit the default destination directory (DefaultDestDir=66000).  Let's say I change it to 16440 which would place them in the C:\Windows\Resources folder.  It does work but then the driver install does not finish and errors out.  I get the "Add Printer Wizard:  Print driver was not installed.  Operation could not be completed".

I am attaching the inf file.  Has anyone done this before ?  Do I need to make any other changes like perhaps to the .cat file ?  I am sort of going against the grain here.  If I manage to get this working in six months we will be going to Server 2008 R2/Windows 7 printing environment so everyone will have the new drivers at that point.  Thank you.
Question by:pizzaman7
    LVL 40

    Accepted Solution

    I'm pretty sure this is totally uninhibited territory, and you are completely on your own there. There's hope that the default location of the driver files can be altered by some yet unknown registry key, but even if it exists, it would be hard to find, impossible to tune up (the framework of print drivers is very, very fragile), and it wouldn't be stable anyways, because with Microsoft, the stability of any feature directly depends on the number of its users. I guess, your only option is to rename driver files (those referenced in the registry) as well, and hope it will work.  Another option is to do thorough beta testing of the new driver and see if dll hell etc. actually happens.

    Author Comment

    I actually have done this before.  The last time I gave the driver a different name but I was unsuccessful in directing the driver files to a different folder.  When it went to install the drivers it is in the very same folder as the old driver in both the server and the client.  I had strange issues and ended up undoing it.  This does not look good.  I will keep this open for a little longer in hopes someone might have an answer !  You never know I guess.

    Plan B is that I might just tell management that people will have to re-establish their printing preferences and just upgrade the driver.  There is going to be some pain no matter what we do.
    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    by:Vadim Rapp
    Maybe it's easier to figure out where those printing preferences are stored, save them, then restore.

    Author Closing Comment

    I am going to have to tell management that's the way it is !  I was hoping somehting could be figured out but you can't put a square peg in a round hole.

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