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Simply check the Enable Printer Pooling box on the Ports tab of the printers' property sheets, then (in the same dialog box) check each of the ports that connects to a printer that you want to be in the pool.
If you find that you need to redirect documents to a different printer - for example, due to a printer hardware glitch - Windows XP provides a method, which I describe in Lab 7-3.
Lab 7-3: Redirecting Documents from a Stuck Printer
1. Choose Start?Control Panel?Printers and Faxes to open the Printers and Faxes folder.
2. Right-click the stuck printer and choose Properties.
3. Click the Ports tab.
4. If a working printer of the same type exists on a different local port on the same print server, click the port's check box and click OK. Otherwise, if a working printer of the same type exists on a different print server, proceed to Step 5.
5. Click the Add Port button.
6. Click Local Port in the Printer Ports dialog box.
7. Click the New Port button in the Printer Ports dialog box.
8. In the Port Name dialog box, specify the working printer with UNC notation.
That is, use the form \\printservername\printersharename.
Instant Answer If a printer fails, you don't want to lose queued documents, and if another print server has a compatible printer, add a local port on the stuck print server.
If you share a printer that already exists on a Windows XP PC, as opposed to sharing the printer when you create it (see 'Installing a new printer' earlier in this chapter), you have to add drivers to your PC for any non-Windows XP operating system that may print to the printer. The procedure is mercifully easy: Click the Sharing tab of the printer's property sheet and click the Additional Drivers button.
Instant Answer Windows NT, 2000, and XP clients check the print server for driver updates before they print each document. That's handy because when you update a driver on the PC that acts as print server, you don't have to run around updating all the client PCs as well. Note, however, that Windows 9x clients do not perform this check and therefore do require manual driver updates.
Playing with priorities
Unlike Windows 9x, the NT platform (including Windows XP) lets you assign a priority to a printer. Just right-click the printer icon, choose Properties, click the Advanced tab, and pick a number from 1 (low) to 99 (high).
Remember Priority 1 is the lowest priority, 99 is the highest. I used to have a terrible time keeping this rule straight; just remember, 'high number, high priority.'
Instant Answer You can use printer priorities in a tricky way to make sure that one user or group's print jobs always receive preferential treatment. (This bit of wizardry always seems to be on the MCSE tests.) Suppose, for example, that you have a single physical print device but two users who print to it. In order to give user A's print jobs priority over user B's, you can create two Windows XP virtual printers with different names, each of which points to the same physical print device. Give one printer a high priority, the other a low one. Then configure user A's computer to print to 'Serf' and user B's computer to print to 'Lord.' (You can enforce these settings using access permissions on the printer objects. With a large number of users, you'd assign access permissions to groups instead of individual users.) Their documents go to the same device, but Windows XP prioritizes them differently. You could also use the same trick to differentiate different kinds of documents, instead of different users or groups.
Using a Printer
This last section deals with some common actions that users perform in the course of printing documents: finding a printer, managing print jobs, and printing offline.
Finding a printer
First things first: You must find a printer before you can print to it. Finding locally attached printers is easy - they appear by default in the drop-down list box in the Print dialog box of most Windows applications. Finding network printers is almost as easy in Windows XP. Simply run the Add Printer Wizard, click the Network Printer radio button in the Local or Network Printer dialog box, click Next, and you see a dialog box like what's shown in Figure 7-6. (If you're not running an Active Directory network with Windows XP Server, you won't see the option to Find a Printer In the Directory.)
Figure 7-6: You can find a network printer three main ways.
Here are your options:
* On an Active Directory network, you can click Find a Printer in the Directory. Clicking Next takes you to a dialog box where you can search based on printer name, location, comment, or printer capability (such as color).
* You can click Connect to This Printer and specify a printer name (such as the UNC, or Universal Naming Convention, name - format \\printserver\printername), or leave the name field blank and click Next to browse the network (Active Directory or otherwise) to view all printer names.