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What's New in Print and Document Services

Updated: September 15, 2010

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

What are the major changes?

Windows Server® 2008 R2 introduces new functionality and enhancements to Windows printing and scanning services that provides improved performance, increased reliability, and greater flexibility for users.

The following changes are available in Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • Print migration enhancements

  • Printer driver isolation

  • Print administrator delegation

  • Print Management snap-in improvements

  • Client-Side Rendering (CSR) performance improvements

  • XML Paper Specification (XPS) print path improvements

  • Location-aware printing

  • Distributed Scan Server role service

In addition, there are improvements to the Add Printer Wizard.

What does Print and Document Services do?

In Windows Server 2008 R2, Print and Document Services is a role in Server Manager that enables you to share printers and scanners on a network, set up print servers and scan servers, and centralize network printer and scanner management tasks by using the Print Management and Scan Management Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins. Print and Document Services replaces and extends the Print Services role in Windows Server® 2008. (The Print Management and Scan Management snap-ins are also available in versions of Windows® 7.)

Who will be interested in this role?

IT professionals who manage print and scan resources in a domain environment will be interested in using this role.

What new functionality does this role provide?

The following enhancements were made to this role in Windows Server 2008 R2.

The Printer Migration Wizard (available through the Print Management snap-in) and the Printbrm.exe command-line tool were introduced in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista® to replace the Print Migrator (Printmig) utility. These enable an administrator to easily back up, restore, and migrate print queues, printer settings, printer ports, and language monitors.

Enhancements to the Printer Migration Wizard and Printbrm.exe in Windows Server 2008 R2 provide greater flexibility and better error handling and reporting—for example, you can now restore configuration information for print servers and print queues in a backup. You can also selectively back up specific print processors and print language monitors.

There is also support for print driver isolation setting migration and an option to not restore security settings for print queues during a restore operation.

Printer driver isolation

Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, the failure of printer driver components has been a main print server support issue—the failure of a printer driver loaded onto the print spooler process would cause the process to fail, which would lead to an outage of the entire printing system. The impact of a spooler failure on a print server is particularly significant because of the number of users and printers that are typically affected.

In Windows Server 2008 R2, you can now configure printer driver components to run in an isolated process separate from the printer spooler process. By isolating the printer driver, you can prevent a faulty printer driver from stopping all print operations on a print server, which results in a significant increase in server reliability.

In addition to the benefit of improving overall printing system stability, this new feature provides a means to isolate new drivers for testing and debugging, and to identify which printer drivers have been causing spooler failures.

On computers running Windows Server 2008 R2, the default permissions do not allow non-administrative users to perform any administrative print operations.

However, an administrator can delegate specific administrative printer tasks to non-administrative users, which reduces costs. Security risks are not introduced because non-administrative personnel are not granted system administrative rights.

Improvements to the Print Management snap-in enable you to better manage print servers, print queues, and print drivers. In Windows Server 2008 R2, the Print Management snap-in includes better support for driver management and the ability to view all print drivers installed on the network. You can now examine driver versions, driver package information, and manage driver isolation.

CSR performance improvements

In Windows Server 2008 R2, the frequency of CSR caching has been increased. Subsequently, the number of printer spooler requests that are made by applications has been reduced, which improves overall printing system performance and reduces network load.

XPS print path improvements

XPS enables Windows applications to produce rich content that can be preserved through the entire print system without costly conversions or data loss. XPS can replace a document presentation language (such as Rich Text Format (RTF)), a print spooler format (such as Windows Metafile Format (WMF)), and a page description language (such as PostScript).

In Windows Server 2008, an XPS-based print path was introduced to enhance the fidelity and performance of Windows printing. In Windows Server 2008 R2, the use of XPS in the printing system is extended and improved upon in several areas: "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) printing, improved print fidelity and color support, XPS Viewer enhancements, new rendering and rasterizing services for printer drivers, and significantly improved print performance. In addition, this functionality is now available in an unmanaged application programming interface (API) layer for application developers.

Location-aware printing

In Windows Server 2008 R2, the Default Printer setting is now location aware. A mobile or laptop user can set a different default printer for each network that they connect to. They may have a default printer set for home, and a different default printer set for office use. Their laptop can now automatically select the correct default printer, depending on where the user is currently located.

Distributed Scan Server role service

As more scanners become network enabled, administrators need a way to manage these devices on their network without having to use the applications from different hardware vendors. Additionally, scanners need to be part of an organization's document workflow process.

In Windows Server 2008 R2, Distributed Scan Server is a new role service in the Print and Document Services role. You can use Distributed Scan Server to monitor Web Services on Devices (WSD)–enabled network scanners and create and manage scan processes. Distributed Scan Server makes it possible to easily use scanners to integrate paper-based information into corporate computer-based networks more effectively.

A scan process is a rule or set of instructions that defines how a document is scanned, where or who it is delivered to, and what users and groups are allowed to apply the rule to their scanned documents. A user selects a scan process at the front panel of a scanner that supports WSD at the time the document is scanned.

Scan settings include image resolution settings, color format settings, and file types. These settings are defined as part of the scan process rules. These settings can also be validated to make sure the settings are compatible with the scanner associated with the particular scan process. You can configure the scan process so that a user can override the scan settings at the scanner. Scanned document images can be sent to a network shared folder, a Windows SharePoint Web site, e-mail recipients, or any combination of these.

Which editions include this role?

The Print and Document Services role is available in all editions of Windows Server 2008 R2, except for Windows Web Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems. Although the Print and Document Services role is available for the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 R2, the associated snap-ins are not available for Server Core installations.

Additional references