Add x86 drivers to x64 print server

We decided some time ago to make our Windows Print Server a 64-bit system (Windows Server 2008 R2). By going with the highest level system (at the time) we should be assured of backwards compatibility. The issue arose with adding 32-bit (x86) drivers to the shared printers (although it seemed impossible to add 64-bit drivers to a 32-bit print server!).

We learned the hard way that you have to be careful when choosing drivers. We are an HP shop, but HP drivers just didn’t suit our needs. The best option is to use the drivers that come with Windows, which are simple, clean and stable. And NEVER use the HP Universal driver! That totally screwed our Citrix environment!

If you download driver packs from HP then adding the 32-bit drivers isn’t difficult: You just point the installer to the right folder. I found lots of on-line notes about this, but nothing worked…

Here’s what we did:

– Have a 32-bit Windows 7 station available and keep the updates in sync with the Print Server. You want the drivers to be the same version!
– Install the printer on the Print Server and share it, whatever.
– Install a printer on the Windows 7 station with the same driver just to make sure it’s available.
– Go to the Sharing tab of the printer (from Print Management on the Print Server) and select Additional Drivers
– Check ‘x86’ and you should be prompted for the file location
– Go to \\\c$\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky – you need to find the right inf folder. There are only five for HP (‘prnhp00x’ – printer – HP), but you can open them in notepad and find the one with your model.

That’s it! This has worked for the dozen or so different HP models we have.

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