Print Services Role

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Print Services role in the Windows Server® 2008 operating system includes two primary tools that you can use to administer a Windows® print server: Server Manager and Print Management.

Print Management was introduced in the Windows Server 2003 R2 operating system and has been enhanced in Windows Vista® and Windows Server 2008. Server Manager and its integration with Print Services is new for Windows Server 2008.

What does Print Services do?

Print Services enables you to share printers on a network and centralize print server and network printer management tasks by using the Print Management snap-in. Print Management helps you monitor print queues and receive notifications when print queues stop processing print jobs. It also enables you to migrate print servers and deploy printer connections by using Group Policy.

Who will be interested in this feature?

This feature will be of interest to administrators of small, medium, or large networks who need to manage and monitor multiple printers and Windows print servers. It will also be of interest to administrators who want to deploy printer connections to users by using Group Policy.

What new functionality does this feature provide?

The following sections describe the new Print Services functionality in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Any differences between Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are called out explicitly.

Integrated ability to deploy printers by using Group Policy

You can use Print Management with Group Policy to automatically deploy printer connections to users or computers and install the appropriate printer drivers. This feature was introduced in Windows Server 2003 R2, but required the use of the PushPrinterConnections.exe tool in a startup script (for per-computer connections) or in a logon script (for per-user connections). This functionality is now included in client computers running Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008. Additionally, these operating systems can now receive per-user printer connections during background Group Policy refresh operations.

For additional information, see Printer Management Help in Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.


To deploy printer connections by using Group Policy, the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) schema must use a Windows Server 2003 R2 or Windows Server 2008 schema version.

Import and export capabilities for print queues

You can use the Printer Migration Wizard or the Printbrm.exe command-line tool to export print queues, printer settings, printer ports, and language monitors, and then import them on another print server running a Windows operating system. This is an efficient way to consolidate multiple print servers or replace an older print server.

The Printer Migration Wizard and the Printbrm.exe command-line tool were introduced in Windows Vista. They replace Print Migrator 3.1.

For additional information, see Printer Management Help in Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.

Improved Event Viewer event descriptions and resolution information

All the descriptions of the print-related events that appear in Event Viewer have been rewritten to improve their usefulness when you are trying to understand and troubleshoot problems with printing. Additionally, clicking the Event Log Online Help link while viewing an event displays detailed information in a Web browser about how to diagnose and resolve a problem, as well as how to verify that the problem is successfully fixed. See print-related troubleshooting information at

Improved Help content

There are three sources of help content for Print Services in Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008:

  • Windows Server 2008 Print Services TechCenter. The Print Services page ( of the Windows Server 2008 TechCenter serves as a central repository for up-to-date information about managing printers and print servers.

  • Print Management Help. Accessible from Print Management (and from the Windows Server 2008 TechCenter), this is the primary location to find information about managing multiple printers or print servers on a network.

  • Help and Support. Accessible from the Start menu, Help and Support includes end-user help for common printing tasks. In Windows Vista, Help and Support also includes select information for system administrators. In Windows Server 2008, it includes an overview of the Print Services role.

Printer driver installation security improvements

The default security settings for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 allow users who are not members of the local Administrators group to install only trustworthy printer drivers, such as those provided with Windows or in digitally signed printer-driver packages. This helps ensure that users do not install untested or unreliable printer drivers, or drivers that have been modified to contain malicious code.

However, the enhanced security means that sometimes users cannot install the appropriate driver for a shared printer, even if the driver has been tested and approved in your environment. To allow users who are not members of the local Administrators group to connect to a print server and install printer drivers that are hosted by the server, you can use one of the following approaches:

  • Install printer-driver packages on the print server.

  • Use Group Policy to deploy printer connections to users or computers.

  • Use Group Policy to modify printer driver security settings.

For additional information, see Printer Management Help in Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008, and Printing - Architecture and Driver Support (

Printer-driver packages

Printer-driver packages are digitally signed printer drivers that install all the components of the driver to the driver store on client computers (if the server and the client computers are running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008). Additionally, using printer-driver packages on a print server that is running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 enables users who are not members of the local Administrators group to connect to the print server and install or receive updated printer drivers.

To use printer-driver packages on a print server that is running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista, download and install the appropriate printer-driver packages from the printer vendor.


You can also download and install printer-driver packages from a print server to client computers that are running Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, or Windows 2000. However, the client computers do not check the driver's digital signature or install all components of the driver into the driver store because the client operating system does not support these features.

When you install a printer driver on a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, Windows first copies the printer driver to the local driver store, and then installs it from the driver store.

When removing printer drivers, you have the option to delete only the printer driver or remove the entire printer-driver package. If you delete the printer driver, Windows uninstalls the printer driver, but leaves the printer-driver package in the driver store to allow you to reinstall the driver at a later time. If you remove the printer-driver package, Windows removes the package from the driver store, completely removing the printer driver from the computer.

For additional information, see Printing - Architecture and Driver Support (

Printer filter improvements in Print Management

In Print Management, filters display only those printers that meet a certain set of criteria. For example, it might be helpful to filter for printers with certain error conditions or those printers in a group of buildings regardless of the print server they use. Filters are stored in the Custom Printer Filters folder in the Print Management tree and are dynamic, so the data is always current.

Filters are improved in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 in two ways:

  • All Drivers custom filter. This is a new default filter that displays all drivers installed on the selected server, as well as the versions for the drivers.

  • Number of filter criteria increased to six. Increasing the number of filter criteria from three (the previous limit) allows you to create more specific filters.

The performance of Print Management when managing or monitoring large numbers of servers has been improved in the following ways:

  • Print Management opens more quickly

  • Sorting of printers and print servers takes less time

  • You can now add a large number of servers to Print Management simultaneously by pasting a list of servers into the Add/Remove Servers dialog box. You can separate server names using spaces, commas, or line breaks.

Server Manager integration

In Windows Server 2008, you can use Server Manager to install the Print Services server role, optional role services, and features. Server Manager also displays print-related events from Event Viewer and includes an instance of the Print Management snap-in, which can administer the local server only.

Print Services in Windows Server 2008 is implemented as a server role in Server Manager with the following child role services:

  • Print Server

  • Line Printer Daemon (LPD) Service

  • Internet Printing

Together, these role services provide all of the functionality of a Windows print server. You can add these role services while you are installing the Print Services role by using the Add Roles Wizard of Server Manager. Or you can install them at a later time by using the Add Role Services Wizard of Server Manager.


Because Windows Vista is a client operating system, it does not include role services. Instead, it includes the Print Management snap-in by default in Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, and Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows Vista also includes LPD Print Service as an optional Windows feature. You can install LPD Print Service from Control Panel by using the Programs and Features item. Windows Vista does not include the Internet Printing feature.