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Attach Printer to WHS Server?

    Question

  • Hi,

     

    Simple question. Can I attach a local (USB) printer to the server and access it from other computers on the home network without FUBAR'ing the backup functions?

    Regards,

     

    Ray

    Monday, July 14, 2008 10:47 AM

Answers

  • In general I would recommend a network-enabled printer father than a printer connected to your server. Windows Home Server is not designed to function as a print server, as a result there is no way in the WHS interface to configure or manage a printer. You need to resort to Remote Desktop, which has numerous opportunities for messing up your server beyond hope of salvation short of reinstalling. In addition, most consumer grade printers don't have drivers that can be installed easliy under Windows Server 2003, or if they can be installed, they include a DVD's worth of bloatware extra software that you have to install. However, decent network printers and multifunction devices can be had for a couple of hundred dollars, and you don't need to position the printer next to the server (unless that's where you would have put it anyway, of course Smile ).
    Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:49 AM
    Moderator
  • Yes, if you have appropriate drivers this should be no problem. 

     

    Here is how to install printer on server and print on client:

     

     

    How to Share a Printer

    1. Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.

    2. Right-click the printer that you just installed, and then click Sharing.

    3. Click Share this printer, and then type a share name for the printer.

    4. Optionally, click Additional Drivers, click the operating systems of the client computers that may attach to this printer, and then click OK. By adding drivers for these operating systems, users on client computers can connect to the print server and automatically download the appropriate drivers for this model of printer without having to configure anything.

    5. When you are prompted to do so, insert the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM ( or WHS DVD or printer driver cd).

    6. Click OK to close the printer properties.

    7. Close the Printers and Faxes folder

    (From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325860)

     

    To install printer on client:

     

    1. on client open explorer window and in address bar type \\server (Or your own servername if you're using a custom name) and hit enter

    2. double click printer icon

    Monday, July 14, 2008 11:33 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Yes, if you have appropriate drivers this should be no problem. 

     

    Here is how to install printer on server and print on client:

     

     

    How to Share a Printer

    1. Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.

    2. Right-click the printer that you just installed, and then click Sharing.

    3. Click Share this printer, and then type a share name for the printer.

    4. Optionally, click Additional Drivers, click the operating systems of the client computers that may attach to this printer, and then click OK. By adding drivers for these operating systems, users on client computers can connect to the print server and automatically download the appropriate drivers for this model of printer without having to configure anything.

    5. When you are prompted to do so, insert the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM ( or WHS DVD or printer driver cd).

    6. Click OK to close the printer properties.

    7. Close the Printers and Faxes folder

    (From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325860)

     

    To install printer on client:

     

    1. on client open explorer window and in address bar type \\server (Or your own servername if you're using a custom name) and hit enter

    2. double click printer icon

    Monday, July 14, 2008 11:33 AM
    Moderator
  • For those looking for a printer to use in a WHS system, I've been using a Brother HL5250DN network-enabled laser printer.  I've had this printer in my system for almost two years with no problems, and there are official Brother drivers for Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003.  The cost is reasonable (around $200-250) and the cartridges last forever, it was 16 months before I had to replace the first one, and that's with fairly heavy use by the entire family with three kids doing school and college projects.

     

     

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 10:18 PM
  • In general I would recommend a network-enabled printer father than a printer connected to your server. Windows Home Server is not designed to function as a print server, as a result there is no way in the WHS interface to configure or manage a printer. You need to resort to Remote Desktop, which has numerous opportunities for messing up your server beyond hope of salvation short of reinstalling. In addition, most consumer grade printers don't have drivers that can be installed easliy under Windows Server 2003, or if they can be installed, they include a DVD's worth of bloatware extra software that you have to install. However, decent network printers and multifunction devices can be had for a couple of hundred dollars, and you don't need to position the printer next to the server (unless that's where you would have put it anyway, of course Smile ).
    Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:49 AM
    Moderator
  • Have you managed to share this printer over the internet?

    I have installed a Brother IP printer onto WHS (altering IIS settings as documented elsewhere).

    On a client machine away from the network..

    The printer is now listed on https://mydomain.homeserver.com/printers

    When I press Connect, I am given a box to enter my username and password - which i do

    But then it just hangs and no drivers are installed.

     

    I have also tried installing installing the printer on the client using Add printer with the same result.

    Select appropriate driver (XP Brother 1870N)

    Add network address...

    https://mydomain.homeserver.com/BrotherH/.printer

    Enter username and password...

    It just hangs.

     

     

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 10:12 AM
  • I have two network printers one a Canon iPF5000 that has a network port and the other is a Canon Pro9000 tha uses USB 2.0

    The USB printer was installed on WHS using the DVD that came with the printer and using the Drivers only option and then setup for sharing with a share name.

    I then installed the DVD software on each machine to have the printer monitor etc. when it could not find a connected printer I cancelled the installation. Then using Windows Explorer I navigated to the printer on WHS and right clicked and selected connect ignoring the warnings. Works like a charm and no tweakings or editing IIS settings.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 4:40 PM
  • It seems to be internet related.

    If I use a PC on the same side of NAT eg https://servername/printers/

    The installation goes ahead just fine.

    So what is the problem with doing this the other side of the firewall?

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 5:12 PM
  • I have been using my HP LaserJet 1020 on my server for as long as I have had it set up.  I just plugged it in and used the drivers off the instillation CD and the instructions from above.  I would recommend that you don't install one of those multifunction printers to your server, since you will not have access to the other features.

    I also have printeranywere running on my server so I can print to it from anywhere I have an internet connection.  Check out printeranywhere at: http://www.printeranywhere.com/  It is easy to set up and it will run as a service.  The biggest complaint I have with it is that it prints a banner page for every job you send to it, but for the price I can not complain.

    I would not let the comments Ken attaching a printer to your server, RDC is not that difficult to use, but just watch out for the other "junk" that may be on the driver CD that may try to get installed.  I would recommend that you go to the manufactures web site and just download the drivers and use them, look for drivers for Windows Server 2000, or XP, most will work with WHS.

    Good luck,

    Emory Lehman
    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 4:36 AM
  • I've got the drivers on the WHS and I can see the printer and printer status from anywhere on the internet.
    The bit I cannot do is install the remote driver.
    There is more detail here:
    http://forums.technet.microsoft.com/en-US/whssoftware/thread/7952b9e8-7839-4efc-af3f-cc3a67306631/
    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 5:38 PM
  •  
    Ken Warren said:

    In general I would recommend a network-enabled printer father than a printer connected to your server. Windows Home Server is not designed to function as a print server, as a result there is no way in the WHS interface to configure or manage a printer. You need to resort to Remote Desktop, which has numerous opportunities for messing up your server beyond hope of salvation short of reinstalling. In addition, most consumer grade printers don't have drivers that can be installed easliy under Windows Server 2003, or if they can be installed, they include a DVD's worth of bloatware extra software that you have to install. However, decent network printers and multifunction devices can be had for a couple of hundred dollars, and you don't need to position the printer next to the server (unless that's where you would have put it anyway, of course Smile ).


    I have been searching for info on printer support within Home Server without success until I came across this.  I find this response very disappointing.  Decent printer support on a server was one of the main reasons I was considering getting Home Server.  It seems ludicrous that you should be suggesting I go out and buy new printers when I already have excellent printers.  Why does Microsoft always fail to provide us with the things we really want?  What is the point of a server if it doesn't allow me to share the hardware between my computers.  I was also hoping to be able to share my scanner as well.  The more I read about Home Server the more inadequate it seems to be.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 2:25 AM
  • Hi Dave,
    it is not Microsofts job to supply printers with drivers they do not make.
    While it is possible to use the underlying Server 2003 operating system as print server, this is not a specially supported feature in Windows Home Server (and not is part of the marketing either, AFAIK). Our wishes and the feature set must naturally differ, especially for a version 1 or a product.
    You can use the function at your own risk, given you can supply appropriate printer drivers. The problem with those is, that they are deep embedded in the system and if programmed not clean, they can destabilize a system seriously. And not each maker of printers supplies server drivers or even considers the usage of his printers as shared printer. So you get, what you pay for.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 8:44 AM
    Moderator
  • Dave, while I understand your desire to share your printers, most consumer printers available today are usually referred to as "GDI printers" or "winprinters". These printers are really pretty poor candidates for network sharing through a server because of the driver architecture.

    That's the main reason why I recommend a network printer or multifunction. If you have a printer that uses a page description language (PostScript, PCL, etc.) rather than rendering on the host and sending a bitstream to the printer, then it's a much better candidate for sharing on a network. And you'll probably find that the driver/software suite is smaller, and there are often Windows Server 2003 drivers as well.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 5, 2009 4:30 PM
    Moderator
  • WHS works fine for all network printers I tested, including those that are not network printers but connected to the network using a JetDirect.  For those that are designed to be network printers (I have tested a Brother MFC-9840CDW, a Brother MFC-9440CN, a Sharp AL1655CS) just install the printer drivers on WHS and they should be working fine.  Although scanner driver and fax driver may work, I haven't tested them but strongly recommend against that practice.  I also tested a HP1300 (laser), HP6550(inkjet), and Epson R320(inkjet), which are not network printers but connected to the network through a JetDirect, again printer driver only, and they work OK.
    For Multi-function printer/scanner/Copier/Fax, the only way to get there best performance is to install their drivers and software on the local PCs.  Consider install a network printer only if you need quick access to a network printer without bothering installing the printer driver manually on the local machine.  Keep in mind that when you PC first connects to the print server (WHS in this case) it will need to download and install the printer driver from the printer server anwway.  The only difference between a networked printer & a local printer is that with a network printer, print jobs a queued and processed in an orderly manner, whereas local printers process jobs at the local machine and will conflict one another if they are sent to the printers concurrently.  When that happens one or all print jobs will fail due to dealock.
    Tuesday, January 6, 2009 4:25 PM
  • Hi,

    I agree with Dave, I thought the WHS would provide centralise printing capability ie I connect via USB my printer and then this is accessible from the kids laptops. Bear in mind this product is pitched at home users who already have a basic printer and most wouldn' know what a "network" printer is.

    I have sort of got this working but it take ages and ages to "connect" to the printer and "ages" to print anything. I have found this aspect very disappointing.

    WHS needs to be updated quickly to make this basic (and expected) function work correctly ie easily and simply. This just needs to work like OneCare which (prior to having WHS where I had regular desktop with the printer was connected) spotted the printer and made it, in affect, a network printer.

     

     


    Tim
    Friday, January 23, 2009 7:27 PM
  • Darcy123 said:

    I have sort of got this working but it take ages and ages to "connect" to the printer and "ages" to print anything. I have found this aspect very disappointing.

    Tim, this behavior is, unfortunately, outside Microsoft's control, as it's related to printer drivers. Microsoft doesn't supply the drivers; the printer manufacturer does.

    Consumer printers rarely ship with drivers for Windows Server 2003, so the usual best case scenario is that the printer works okay with XP drivers, when shared from your server. But if the drivers aren't robust, or the printer is a "winprinter" (where the driver uses Windows as the rendering engine and just sends bitstreams to the printer) you may see much worse performance. Worst case, the drivers are just not compatible with Windows Server 2003 or don't work when connecting to the printer over a network, and the printer doesn't function. 

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, January 23, 2009 11:29 PM
    Moderator
  • Just as another point of reference, I have a Canon i860 printer connected to my server. I used the WinXP drivers. It works great as a shared printer.

     Regards, Scott

    Saturday, January 24, 2009 12:26 AM