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Sharing Printers

As with sharing files, Windows 2000 has more than one way of sharing printers. Printers can be shared with other computers running Microsoft operating systems using Server Message Blocks. Windows 2000 computers can connect to printers on Unix computers using the LPR protocol (this protocol is also supported by some laser printers that connect directly to the network). By installing the optional Print services for Unix service, Windows 2000 computers can offer their own printers to clients that support this protocol. Windows 2000 servers can also share their printers with Apple Macintoshes, although Windows 2000 Professional machines cannot. Both can use the AppleTalk protocol to send jobs to printers.

One notable new feature in Windows 2000 is the integration of Internet Information Server with Printing. This allows information about a printer to be checked from a browser, but it goes further than that. Users of Windows 2000 client computers can click a link on a Web page to connect to a printer. The biggest change is that the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which is normally used for reading Web pages and (less frequently) used to upload pages to a server, can now be used to submit print jobs. Combinations of firewalls and proxy servers may mean that HTTP is the only protocol that can get out of a site from a user's desktop, or it may be that HHTP is the only protocol that can come in to a server from the outside world. HTTP printing provides a useful way of accessing printers in spite of such limitations.


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