Configuring Printer Properties

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By William R. Stanek

from Chapter 13, Windows NT Administrator's Pocket Consultant.

Once you install network printing, you can use the Properties dialog box to set its properties. You access the Properties dialog box by doing the following:

  1. Double-click on the Printers icon in the Control Panel or select Settings in the Start menu and then choose the Printers option.

  2. Right-click on the icon of the printer you want to configure and then select Properties from the pop-up menu.

  3. This opens the dialog box shown in Figure 13-9. You can now set the printer properties.

The sections that follow explain how to set commonly used printer properties.

Adding Comments and Location Information

To make it easier to determine which printer to use when, comments and location information can be added to printers. Comments provide general information about the printer, such as the type of print device and who is responsible for it. Location describes the actual site of the print device. Once set, these fields can be displayed by applications. For example, Microsoft Word displays this information when you select Print from the File menu in the Comment and Where fields, respectively.

Comments and location information can be added to a printer using the fields in the General tab of the printer's Properties dialog box. Enter your comments in the Comment field. Enter the printer location in the Location field.

Changing Printer Drivers

In a Windows NT domain, you should configure and update printer drivers only on your print servers. You don't need to update printer drivers on Windows clients. Instead, you configure the network printer to provide the drivers to client systems as necessary.

Updating a Printer Driver

You can update a printer's driver by doing the following:

  1. Open the printer's Properties dialog box and select the General tab. The Driver field lets you select the driver from a list of currently installed drivers. Use the Driver drop-down list to select a new driver from a list of known drivers.

  2. If the driver you need isn't listed or if you obtained a new driver, click on the New Driver button to install a driver from disk. Windows NT displays a prompt telling you that printer properties will change when you install the new driver and asking you to confirm that you want to continue. Click Yes. Then use the Add Printer Wizard dialog box to select and install the new driver.

Downloading a New Driver

After you install a new driver, you may want to select the operating systems that should download the driver from the print server. By allowing clients to download the printer driver, you provide a single location for installing driver updates. Thus, rather than having to install a new driver on all the client systems, you install the driver on the print server and allow clients to download the new driver.

You can allow clients to download the new driver by doing the following:

  1. Open the printer's Properties dialog box. Click on the Sharing tab.

  2. Use the Alternate Drivers list box to select operating systems that can download the new driver. When prompted, insert the distribution CD and/or printer driver disks for the selected operating systems.

Note: If you want to install alternate drivers, you may need the installation disks for the selected operating systems and chip architectures. The Windows NT 4.0 distribution CD-ROM has drivers only for Windows NT version 4. For Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, and Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 drivers, you'll need the appropriate distribution disks.

Setting a Separator Page and Changing Print Device Mode

Separator pages have two uses on Windows NT systems:

  • They can be used at the beginning of a print job to make it easier to find a document on a busy print device.

  • They can be used to change the print device mode, such as whether the print device uses PostScript or PCL (printer control language).

To set a separator page for a print device, follow these steps:

  1. Access the General tab of the printer's Properties dialog box and then click on the Separator Page button.

  2. In the Separator Page dialog box, click Browse and then select one of the three available separator pages:

    • PCL.SEP Switches the print device to PCL mode and prints a separator page before each document.

    • PSCRIPT.SEP Sets the print device to PostScript mode but doesn't print a separator page.

    • SYSPRINT.SEP Sets the print device to PostScript mode and prints a separator page before each document.

To stop using the separator page, access the Separator Page dialog box and remove the file name.

Changing the Printer Port

The port used by a print device can be changed at any time by using the Properties dialog box for the printer you're configuring. Open the dialog box, then click on the Ports tab. You can now either add a port for printing by selecting its check box or remove a port by deselecting its check box. To add a new port type, click Add Port and then follow step 6 in "Installing Network Print Devices." To remove a port permanently, select it and then click Delete Port.

Scheduling and Prioritizing Print Jobs

Default settings for print job priority and scheduling are set using the Properties dialog box for the printer you're configuring. Open the dialog box and then click on the Scheduling tab. You can now set the default schedule and priority settings using the fields shown in Figure 13-10, on the following page. Each of these fields is discussed in the sections that follow.

Scheduling Printer Availability

Use the Available field of the Scheduling tab to set the printer availability. Printers are either always available or available only during the hours specified using the From list box and the To list box.


Figure 13-10: Configure printer scheduling and priority using the Scheduling tab.

Scheduling Printer Priority

Use the Priority slider of the Scheduling tab to set the default priority for print jobs. Print jobs always print in order of priority. Jobs with higher priority print before jobs with lower priority.

Configuring Printer Spooling

For print devices attached to the network, you'll usually want the printer to spool files rather than print files directly. Print spooling makes it possible to use a printer to manage print jobs.

Enabling spooling To enable spooling, use one of the following methods:

  • Select the radio button labeled Spool Print Documents So Program Finishes Printing Faster.

  • Select Start Printing Immediately if you want printing to begin immediately when the print device is not already in use. This option is preferable when you want print jobs to be completed faster or when you want to ensure that the application returns control to users as soon as possible.

  • Select Start Printing After Last Page Is Spooled if you want the entire document to be spooled before printing begins. This option ensures that the entire document makes it into the print queue before printing. If for some reason printing is canceled or not completed, the job won't be printed.

Other spooling options You can disable spooling by selecting the Print Directly To The Printer radio button. Additional check boxes let you configure other spooling options. These check boxes are used as follows:

  • Hold Mismatched Documents If selected, the spooler holds print jobs that don't match the setup for the print device. Selecting this option is a good idea if you frequently have to change printer form or tray assignments.

  • Print Spooled Documents First If selected, jobs that have completed spooling will print before jobs in the process of spooling—regardless of whether the spooling jobs have higher priority.

  • Keep Documents After They Have Printed Normally documents are deleted from the queue after they're printed. To keep a copy of documents in the printer, select this option. Use this option if you're printing files that can't easily be recreated. In this way, you can reprint the document without having to recreate it. For details, see the section of this chapter titled "Pausing, Resuming, and Restarting Individual Document Printing."

Starting and Stopping Printer Sharing

Printer sharing is set using the Properties dialog box of the printer you're configuring. Open the dialog box and then click on the Sharing tab. You can use this tab to change the name of a network printer as well as to start sharing or stop sharing a printer. Printer sharing tasks that you can perform include

  • Sharing a local printer (thus making it a network printer) To share a printer, select Shared and specify a name for the shared resource. If Windows 3.1 or MS-DOS systems will access the printer, be sure the printer name conforms to the standard 8.3 naming rule, such as SOUTHEAS.PRT rather than SOUTHEAST_PRINTER. Click OK when you're finished.

  • Changing the shared name of a printer To change the shared name, simply enter a new name in the Share Name field and click OK.

  • Quit sharing a printer To quit sharing a printer, select the Not Shared radio button. Click OK when you're finished.

Setting Printer Access Permissions

Network printers are a shared resource, and as such, you can set access permissions for them. You set access permissions by using the Properties dialog box of the printer you're configuring. Open the dialog box and then click on the Security tab. Next, open the Printer Permissions dialog box by clicking on the Permissions button.

Table 13-2, on the following page, shows the available printer permissions and their meaning. These permissions are assigned to users and groups with the same technique you use for other shared resources, such as files. To print documents, a user must have Print permission for the printer and Change permission on the local spool directory. See the section of this chapter titled "Locating the Spool Folder and Enabling Printing on NTFS" for details.

Table 13-2 Printer Permissions Used by Windows NT



Actions Permitted

Full Control

User/group has complete control over printer configuration, print spooling, and document settings.

Print documents. Administer printer, printer properties, and printer permissions.
Control settings for documents.
Pause, resume, restart, and cancel print jobs.


User/group can print documents. User/group has no control over the spooling or setting of documents.

Print or delete his or her own documents only.

No access

User/group can't use the printer or access the printer queue.


Figure 13-11 shows the default settings of the Printer Permissions dialog box. These settings are used for any new network printer you create:

  • Administrators, Print Operators, and Server Operators have full control over the printer by default. This allows you to administer the printer and its print jobs.

  • Creator or Owner of the document can manage his or her own document. This allows the person who printed a document to change its settings and to delete it.

  • Everyone can print to the printer. This makes the printer accessible to all users on the network.


    Figure 13-11: The default settings of the Printer Permissions dialog box are used for any new network printer.

Auditing Print Jobs

Windows NT lets you audit common printer tasks. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the printer's Properties dialog box, then click on the Security tab. Open the Printer Auditing dialog box by clicking on the Auditing button.

  2. In the Printer Auditing dialog box, add the names of users or groups you want to audit with the Add button and remove names of users or groups with the Remove button.

  3. Select the events you want to audit by selecting the check boxes under the Success and Failure headings as appropriate. You can track both success and failure. These events are used as follows:

    • Print Log events related to document printing and the changing of print job settings.

    • Full Control Log events related to printer sharing, modifying printer properties, and modifying the status of print jobs (through Pause, Restart, Resume, and Cancel, as well as changing the position of a print job in the printer stack).

    • Delete Log events related to deleting a printer.

    • Change Permissions Log events related to changing the printer access permissions.

    • Take Ownership Log events related to taking ownership of a printer.

  4. Click OK when you're finished.

Setting Document Defaults

Document default settings are only used when you print from non-Windows applications, such as when you print from the MS-DOS prompt. You can set document defaults by doing the following:

  1. Double-click on the printer's icon in the Printers folder.

  2. In the Printer Management window, select Document Defaults from the Printer menu.

  3. Use the fields in the Page Setup tab and the Advanced tab to configure the default settings.

from Windows NT Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek. Copyright © 1999 Microsoft Corporation.

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