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I can manually install a printer driver on a server and that shows up as a configured printer just like on a workstation. However there are applications where I can provide a UNC name to a printer and the system will just print to that printer without installing a printer driver.

How is the system able to print to a printer without actually installing a printer driver?

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2 Answers 2

The Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools has the utility PRINTDRIVERINFO.exe This will show details about installed printer drivers.

Run it without any command line parameters to get a list of all installed drivers.

The command line switches:

  • /S = server name to look at a remote server
  • /P = printer name to look at a specific printer
  • /D = driver name to look at a specific driver
  • /F = file name of a driver to look at a specific file

The resource kit can be downloaded here: Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit

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An application printing to a UNC path could be doing one of two things.

  1. It could be spooling a raw print file which bypasses the printer driver.

  2. It could be mapping the printer in the background without you realising, in this case the driver will be downloaded and the printer mapped automatically.

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