Deploying printers from x64 servers to x86 clients

Ah, the fun with SBS 2008 continues. Today we noticed that one of the printers (an HP Laserjet 2300) we had added to the server for deployment via group policy CSE (client side extensions), was not installing on any clients. This included both x86 Vista and XP machines. The error we were receiving in the event log is as follows:

The user ‘HP LaserJet 2300 Series PCL 6’ preference item in the ‘Common {<id>}’ Group Policy object did not apply because it failed with error code ‘0x8000ffff Catastrophic failure’ This error was suppressed.

This error is not very helpful as you can see, and infact turned out to be that the driver for the printer was not available. This led us into another issue – that of installing x86 drivers on the server to be available for clients when they connect.

Initially, we thought this would be easy. “Oh, just go into sharing and tick the x86 box in additional drivers”, we thought. Having tried to do that it turned out to be a lot more complex than it should be. Ticking this box will ask you to browse to find the x86 version of the x64 driver you currently have installed – easy. Then it will ask you to ‘please provide path to windows media (x86 processor)’ – OK, that’s doable?

It seems to be looking for the file ntprint.inf, and wanted to look on a CD-ROM, in the I386 folder by default. So, recognising the folder name we stuck in the XP pro disc, thinking we would be off, but alas, it tries to load the file and then gives the same prompt again! I then decided to search my own workstation (Vista Ultimate x86) for the the file and found the following directory to contain it, as well as an I386 folder.

C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ntprint.inf_xxxxxx

I copied the contents of this directory to the same directory on the server which holds the x86 version of the driver in question, and then went into sharing and ticked the x86 box once more. It again asked for the path to the driver, but this time did not prompt asking for the additional media!

So, in conclusion, it seems you need both your x64 server and an x86 client available in order to get the driver installed, for our printer at least.

6 thoughts on “Deploying printers from x64 servers to x86 clients”

  1. Thanks for this info… wasted ~20 minutes fiddling through the same steps as you until I found this in a Google search.

  2. I just wish that hardware companies would hurry up on producing x64 drivers… You guys apparently at least have x64 drivers available.

  3. Nice blog about printer. I have a lot of problem with my office printer. I’m IT support and need to solve any problem. Do you have any suggestion about printer troushooting guide site? Thank you very much.

  4. excellent guide!
    I had the same issue with a HB (host based) driver for a HP Laserjet 1015.
    This however did not work the way described above, but copying the contents of “C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ntprint.inf_xxxxxx” from a Windows 7 x86 to our 2008 SBS x64 server, while ticking the x86 driver box it did inject the driver successfuly – on the x64 SERVER!

    Thanx again mate 😉

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