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Windows 7: Network Printers and Drivers

01 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Pro
Network Printers and Drivers

Can someone educate me on how network printers work in Windows?
  1. Is there only one way of setting these up, or several ways?
  2. Do I have to have a driver for the specific printer on the client? Why can't the material be sent to the server in some device independent format (Postscript??), and converted to printer commands on the server?
  3. Do I have to have a driver for the specific printer on the server? If the driver is on the client, presumably it's talking directly to the printer (using the server only as a means of communication) using the printer's own command codes, so I don't see why the server needs a driver...
  4. Under what circumstances can or can't the client download the driver from the server?
  5. What happens if the client and server are running different versions of Windows, either an older version on the client, or an older version on the server?
  6. What happens if the client is running 64-bit and the server 32-bit, or vice versa?
  7. What happens if there is no driver available for the newer version of Windows (which might be the client, or the server), because the printer is quite old?
Many thanks - Rowan

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jun 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro

No, those are just straightforward "how to install a network printer" articles. My question is more complex, and concerns what happens if the server and the client are running different versions of Windows. So when you try to connect to the shared printer from the client, it can't download the driver from the server, because the server has the wrong version of the driver.

And what if the client has a newer version of Windows, for which a driver for this older model of printer does not exist? How can I drive the shared printer now?

And, in any case, why do I need a printer driver on the client and on the server? I would have thought that if the server is communicating with printer-specific codes to the printer, then I would not need a printer driver on the client. It should be able to send the data to be printed to the server in some printer-independent way (postscript?) And if the client is producing printer specific commands, why do I need a driver on the server - surely it's only buffering and retransmitting the codes, which requires no intelligence about the printer?

I hope someone understands this stuff and can enlighten me...

Thanks - Rowan
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Whether it is a local, shared or network printer a driver is needed to be installed to help windows communicate with your printer else things may not work as they should or not at all.

The printer manufacturer's website is where you will find the latest drivers for different windows Operating systems or mac os'es such osx lion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Network Printers and Drivers

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