Technology changes at a lightning-fast pace. That's means everything - whether it's PCs, software or even printing concepts - is current one day and replaced by something else the next.

For example, I recently received an email asking if Windows 7 supports printer pooling. That takes me back to the Windows NT 4.0 days all over again.

I assumed Windows 7 supports printer pooling, but I hadn't done it for years. So I decided to take some time and review printing concepts from NT 4.0 that still apply to Windows 7 - which new admins may have never come across.

Printer pools

If you click the Start orb and choose Devices and Printers in Windows 7, you'll be dazzled by the pretty icons that greet you to represent your keyboard, mouse, drives, printers and more. By contrast, NT 4 icons must look a lot like Pac-Man to new admins, but at the time they were awesome.

First of all, what is a printer pool and what are priorities?

A printer pool is designed to assist with load-balancing print jobs. Whereas you might use servers and set up printers off the server for persons working in an office or a document processing center, you might just as easily (and more cost-effectively) use a Windows 7 system with multiple printers connected to it. To enable printer pooling, you have to go into the properties of the starting print device.

Getting into printer properties involves either right-clicking the printer (that is, the 'logical printer', not the physical 'print device'; there is a difference between the two), choosing Printer Properties, and going to the Ports pane. You can also double-click a printer and click the Customise Your Printer link. Once in the Ports pane, you should see your various ports and the printers attached to those ports.

Initially only one port is selected. Select the Enable Printer Pooling check box at the bottom of the pane; this lets you add more ports and printers to the pool. Now, when a person prints to that logical printer, it will be distributed among the device pool, providing load-balancing and speeding along those print jobs.

NEXT PAGE: Priority levels

  1. Many techniques are still relevant now
  2. Priority levels