Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adding 64-bit Printer Drivers to 32-bit Windows 2003

As more of our clients are adding 64-bit client computers a common concern is printer drivers with older Windows 2003 servers. The printers are installed on Windows 2003 and shared with clients. When 32-bit clients are connected to the printer, the driver from the server is downloaded to the client and installed automatically. Unfortunately, 64-bit clients cannot use the same driver and 32-bit Windows 2003 does not have an interface to add a 64-bit driver.

The solution is to use a 64-bit Windows 7 client to add the printer driver as follows:
  • Start the Print Management administrative tool (printmanagement.msc)
  • Add the Windows 2003 file server as a print server
  • Add the 64-bit driver
You can also browse to the shared printer over the network from the 64-bit client and add the 64-bit driver in the properties of the printer.

Please note that the 32-bit and 64-bit drivers need to be named the same. So, with different version of the driver, you may have issues.

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