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Question; we have been trying to get a new printer server configured, and with the organization starting to move into the Windows 7 wagon and mixing 32 bit legacy (XP) systems with 32- and 64- bit Win7 systems, we needed to get specs in place for the printer server (Windows server, active directory, virtualized on VMWare ESXi).

We were told that we would need a 32 bit Windows server to handle the 32 bit machines and their printers, and a 64 bit server for the Win7 64 bit clients. Is this true? I didn't think that sounded right, but have others had experiences that confirm this?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is not true at all...64 bit servers will hand our 32 bit drivers as long as you install them. From printer properties, go to sharing, and add the 32 bit drivers from there. I've ran into a small problem with 2008 R2 machines when loading some 32 bit drivers because it doesn't have the ntprint dlls. You can grab these from a 32 bit Windows 7 install and provide them when asked for. This hasn't led to a single problem for any of my installs.

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32 and 64 bit Windows will spool printers to each other just fine AFAIK. However, the automatic driver loading could be a problem. I'm not sure that a 64 bit machine will let you setup a 32-bit driver to be available for download to 32-bit clients. If it does, it'll definitely not be installed by default.

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We're doing it right now. I have a 32-bit print-server supplying drivers to over a thousand clients. It's Server 2008. I made a point of loading 32 and 64 bit drivers into it in order to ease the job of our Computer Lab administrators as they upgrade stuff. So far they're doing mostly 32 bit client OSes, but we've had quite a number of 64-bit "tests" go through where the drivers just download.

Where we may run into problems is when the drivers were loaded. For the most part, our 64-bit drivers were pulled from Vista machines with a few downloaded off the internet. Whether or not those work just fine with Win7 is something we're figuring out right now. That was just a timing issue for when we deployed this print server.

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