Installing drivers on WS2003 shared printers for Vista clients

Changes in the Vista print driver model means your existing server shared printers (especially if pushed down from a WS2003R2 server) may cause the local spooler subsystem to crash, disabling printing. Some printer manufacturers have updated their Windows built-in drivers but have not made them available for general release. Use the following procedure to install Vista drivers onto the server:

  • If you use GPOs to push printers on WS2003R2, put a PC running Vista into its own OU to ensure no existing printers are pushed to it. (Block policy inheritance if necessary)
  • Log on as a system administrator to this PC.
  • Open printmanagement.msc (Print Management Console)
  • Right click Print Servers and add the WS2003 server to the list of servers.
  • Expand the tree under the server you just added and right click Drivers.
  • Add the drivers from the local computer to the server for each printer you need. (Version number will typically start with 6 and provider will be Microsoft)
  • Right click the WS2003 server in the Print Servers tree and click Add Printer.
  • Select the appropriate options to install the printer(s). When asked for a driver, select the driver for that printer that you installed above.
  • If you want to use GPO printer deployment on a WS2003R2 server, put your Vista clients in their own OU and create a GPO that deploys only the Vista-drivered printers from the server.

During these procedures you may receive messages that the spooler subsystem or service has stopped working. In order to complete each procedure:

  • Open the Local Services console from Administrative Tools in Control Panel
  • Step back one step in the procedure you were performing before you received the spooler subsystem error.
  • Restart the Print Spooler service in the Local Services console.
  • Resume the installation procedure you were performing when you received the spooler subsystem procedure. It should now be able to be completed.

If you continue to experience problems with the spooler subsystem, check with Microsoft Product Support for other possible causes.