Win 7 64 bit Upgrade problem with 64 Bit printer drivers.

Posted on 2011-09-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I’m looking for some direction on upgrading to Win 7 64 bit.
I created  Win7 64bit image, but some of our field servers are using Windows 2000 pro and do not have 64 bit drivers for printers so I cannot use that image for our field users.
What I considered so far (we mostly use HP):

1.Find all or most Printer models on our network and install all the 64 bit drivers on the image.( kind of a slow process of finding the printer models that we use at over 100 locations…most likely solution)
2.Install Universal 64bit print drivers from HP( does not work with our old custom software)
3.Replace the Win 2000 servers ( will happen within a year and we need to use the win 7 image now)
4.Install  additional 64 bit driver under each printer on each Win2000 server. . (I do not think that can be done on Win 2000)

Does anyone one have any other ideas on how to implement the 64 bit printer drivers for our Win 7 64bit user OS upgrade?

Thank you for any help!
Question by:SRCL
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LVL 63

Accepted Solution

SysExpert earned 167 total points
ID: 36506322
HP jetadmin might be helpful for finding all HP printers on your network and managing them

For drivers, usually the printers are backward compatible with standard PCL 5 or 6, so you may be able to use that for basic printing which I have used and does work.

I have found that using the IP Port and setting it up that way seems to be the best.

You may be able to script it once you can get the IPs

I hope this helps !
LVL 41

Assisted Solution

graye earned 167 total points
ID: 36507715
By now you've figured out that you can't install 64-bit printer drivers on the Win2k server.

So, the solution is to create a "local printer" on the Win7x64 that points to the printer share on the server.  This technique essentially takes the Win2k box out of the loop... will all of the print processing, spooling, etc being done exclusively on the client PC.

But to get this to work, you need to manually install the correct 64-bit drivers (hopefully they exist for your printers).

So, that means your option 1 is really the only viable option.   If it were me, I wouldn't attempt to install a gazzilion print drivers on the image... and instead, I'd just keep a network share with all of the printer drivers.  When someone calls and need a printer, you'd just remote in, and pick the driver from the network share.
LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 36507720

Assisted Solution

LondonCitizen earned 166 total points
ID: 36509790
Hello, this is a huge move, I had some experience with moving our mobile users to Win7 64bit image
with the printers on more than 100+ sites..

You could consider these 2 options:

1. Getting a new print server or multiple print servers (and get rid of your existing print setup on win200)

Since windows 2000 is useless and you won't be able to install win7 compatible drivers on them you need to build a new print server on Windows Server 2008 - 64bit.

Once done you can add all printers. Just map them through TCP and share them.

Make sure that you install both 64bit & 32bit drivers. This will save alot of pain if you get win7 32bit users on your network later on. ( I recommed to install also older WinXP drivers so you can decomission your old print setup and use only new print servers)

Once added, review security permission on printers to make sure desired users have permissions to print and manage print jobs. (especially with Dell 1815, 2335, 2355 printers).

Next task would be to setup GP to automatically map printers for your field users on startup, based on their requirements. (Just assign different print mapping to different OUs, you can even choose default printer for them)

This is not the greatest solution but it works, you may encounter increased traffic since if users print at remote site, they will generate unnecesarry traffic from their location to your print server, then to the printer at the remote site and back.

Only other option would be to upgrade your current PCs at the location to Win7 compatible which is unlikely to happen any time soon, no point to hold your field users upgrade because of this.

2. There is also 2nd option as graye suggested to manually create local printer, create new TCP IP port and everything will be handled on the client's PC.

However this can be automated process, no need for users to set this up manually on each laptop.
You can combine Group Policy with AutoIT script, to automatically create local printers on your "field users computers"

GP would automatically start AutoITscript on the laptop startup, AutoIT script would review and if required install new print mapping on your "field users computers" based on for example spreadsheet where you specify user to printer allocation.

After the GP and AutoIT script is setup you would only need to access and change the 1 spreadsheet sitting on a share to manage all printer mappings on all laptops.

Once you change the mapping on spreadsheet, print mapping would change on each laptop on next restart.

The good news is this solution would not generate any addional traffic as client would print with direct route to the printer bypassing any print servers.

Author Comment

ID: 36524983
Thanks All, I will use hybrid of all our suggestions. I will install 2 most common printer drivers in to our image and then create a share with drivers to be installed on demand. If that does not work I will use IP mapping to the printer from user’s pc.
Thanks Again!

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