In this article, Terminal Server printing guru Stefan Vermeulen (webmaster for printingsupport.com and fellow BriForum speaker) explores the new UPD printing capabilities that Microsoft is building into Service Pack 1 for Terminal Server on Windows 2003.
Now that Citrix has yanked the chain of third-party printing solution providers by creating an EMF-based printer solution for the upcoming MPS 4.0, it’s Citrix’s turn to bite the bullet. Microsoft has very quietly added a new feature to Service Pack 1 for Windows 2003 server. With SP1, open the group policy editor and go to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Terminal Services | Client/Server data redirection. You'll see a new policy item called "Terminal Server Fallback Printer Driver Behavior."
- Both settings of "Not Configured" or "Enabled" with "Do nothing if one is not found" will result in no client printer being created using the fallback driver.
- "Default to PCL if one is not found" will result in an auto created printer using the PCL driver if the standard driver mapping process cannot find a suitable driver on the Terminal Server or in a mapping file.
- "Default to PS if one is not found" will result in an auto created printer using the Postscript driver is a suitable driver cannot be found.
- "Show both PCL and PS if one is not found" will result in an auto-created printer using the PCL and the PS driver.
The last option is quite interesting, as it could be that your local printer responds better to a PS then a PCL print job and vice versa.
The term PCL and PS sound very similar to Citrix’s Universal Print Drive (UPD) I and II technology, so it looks like it will behave the same. There isn't much official mention of these functions by Microsoft other then some obscure programmer's references in this preliminary MSDN article.
The new fallback driver will only be available if the client machine is Windows XP. (That one was to be expected)
Of course this new driver will hit the same limitations as the Citrix version did, such as not working on host based printers, no support for duplexing, etc.
On the other hand, choosing to name this function "fallback printer" instead of "universal printer" like Citrix did is a more close approach of the truth, and the fact that it comes for free is a nice extra.
I've tried to get this new fallback printer to create but was unable to. After ripping apart the ntprint.inf on the server and looking in every corner for a clue, I came to the conclusion that either this technology is not fully implemented in SP1 RC2 or I've missed something to get it running. Hopefully the final release will tell what exact driver(s) is/are used as a fallback.
Update March 16, 2005
After some tips from a Microsoft engineer I got it up and running--it’s running fine now (read the comments at the bottom of this article for more information). The PCL driver is indeed the “HP Deskjet 500” and the “HP Laserjet 4/4M PS” is for PS. Both drivers are the default ones from the win2k3 driver.cab file.
The next challenge will be to try manipulating the 500 fallback driver into the 550C. (The 550C is more generic and has color support)
To be continued...