Managing Printers and Printing

Microsoft has their own version of printing terminology that you must be familiar with. To quickly revisit the important details:

  • A Printer is considered ‘software’ or the interface between the OS and a print device. It has properties which can be configured, such as available times and output port information
  • A Print Server is the physical system where individual printers are installed, and where jobs are spooled and queued.
  • A Print Device is the physical box that spits out the paper. Simple!
  • A Printer Port is the interface that a particular print job is directed to. This could be a local port (like LPT1) or an IP address (for a network-attached device)
  • A Print Queue is logically where the jobs directed to a printer wait their turn.
  • A Print Spooler is the service that receives, stores, schedules, processes, and ultimately distributes the jobs to the Print Device.

Setting up Printers in Windows 2000 is still accomplished via the Add Printer Wizard. When you start this wizard, you are asked whether you want to add a local or network printer. Note that what it is actually asking is whether you wish to connect to an existing printer (network), or install a whole new printer (local). You are also given the choice of having a local printer detected by Plug and Play, or selecting it manually. If you choose Local printer, things are pretty straightforward. You simply pick the port (this can be local like LPT1 or remote, like an IP address, for example), driver, and so forth, and then share it if you want it made available over the network.

These wizard options are different than in NT 4. The first allows you to search for a Printer in Active Directory based on things like its name, location, model or other more detailed capabilities (like whether it can print color) and advanced attributes. The second option expects either a UNC path or for you to browse for a printer. The last option allows you to connect to a Web Printer, using a URL (more on this in a bit). You can still use a net use command to connect to printers from the command prompt, as in NT 4.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.