The Windows Server 2003 and prior implementation of Terminal Services has been successful for the most part, but one of the biggest drawbacks to using it in larger environment is the way it handles printer management. Under the old version of Terminal Services, the network administrator must install a print driver to the server for every client print device that is connected to the client system and must be used in the terminal session.
The Easy Print feature in the Windows Server 2008 implementation of terminal services is the likely answer for this problem. Simply put, Easy Print is a proxy for print actions that simply redirects all printing-related work to the user’s local machine without the need to install any print drivers on the terminal server. Rather than creating a simple client side interface that allows for only basic printing options, the proxy method used by Server 2008 Terminal Services launches a window outside of the terminal session on the client computer that gives them the same printer specific interface they are used to.
The requirements for using Easy Print are .NET Framework 3.0 (SP1), Terminal Services Client 6.1, and, of course, a Windows Server 2008 server. This feature should eliminate the hesitation imposed by the printer management woes related to Terminal Services.
Chris Sanders is a network consultant for KeeFORCE, one of the most popular network consulting firms in western Kentucky. Chris is the author of the book Practical Packet Analysis as well as several technical articles. His personal website at www.chrissanders.org contains a great deal of information, articles, and guides related to network administration, network security, packet analysis, and general information technology.