Windows Server 2008 R2 is a x64 bit OS. There’s no way around that. So what do you do when you want to share the printer to machines, such as XP or Win7, that may be 32-bit? Some printer manufacturers make this easy. RICOH, for example, is pretty straight forward:
- Download both 32-bit and x64 print drivers.
- Install the printer, being sure to browse out to the recently downloaded drivers for x64.
- Once installed, head to the properties > sharing > additional drivers section and add the x86 printer.
- Browse out to where you downloaded the other drives and click OK.
- Close out of all open windows, being sure to apply all settings.
But some printers don’t give you such easy options. Sometimes the driver packages that you download from websites don’t have the files you need readily available until you fully install a printer. For example, some more home office targeted printers will give you trouble adding the second set of printers. In this case, you’ll need to use the Dynamic Printer setup to accomplish this:
- Head to HP’s website and download x64 and 32-bit print drivers.
- If you tried before and failed, be sure to delete all drivers installed on the printer for that server located under Roles > Print Server > ServerName > Drivers.
- Add a printer by opening up the x64 drivers you downloaded from HP and double clicking on the Setup.
- You’ll be prompted to use a traditional install or a dynamic install. Choose dynamic.
- Once the printer is installed, you’ll see the option to “Enter a Printer Address…”. Click this and enter the IP Address of the printer. It will install the printer with the drivers appropriately.
- Afterwards, the properties box will pop up and you’ll have the option to head to “Additional Drivers…” under the “Sharing” tab as you normally can.
- From there, choose the 32-bit drivers folder that you downloaded. It will be able to find the drivers in the folder automatically and add them as needed.
I try not to stray from using simply drivers and a straight forward wizard, but it looks like I’ve reached the end of the line with some printers; there’s just no easy way to do it. I’m hoping this will help someone else. Here are some of the articles that led me to my findings. You’ll probably see other ways to go about doing it, but I’m also not going to bow down to having to use a second 32 bit machine and pushing drivers up to the server, etc. At some point, some time, HP sat down with the exact same scenario I did and solved it without having to go to a Windows 7 32-bit machine. What upsets me is that they also knew the easiest way to accomplish this and for some reason decided to not make it so so easy on the end user.
- Technet Blog Discussion Suggesting to push drivers from a 32 Bit Operating System - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/sk-SK/winserverprint/thread/3a71358a-3cd0-4850-9890-86be5d497545
- Updating and Managing Print Drivers - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732946.aspx
We’ve been in limbo between 32-bit and x64 machines for years now. There are few environments out there that are strictly one or the other at this point. You’d think manufacturers would have the decency to simply create a drivers only installation including drivers of both processor types.