Recently I purchased a new computer to replace my main Windows box at home. It is brilliant – Quad Core, 4Gb of memory, 300 Gb of RAID0 on 10k Raptors, NVIDIA SLI. Naturally, this hardware required Windows Vista 64-bit – if for nothing else, then to use the full 4Gb of memory. There were loads of issues I discovered when trying to set it up. Here is one of them.

I have a number of other computers. My main Windows desktop serves as a “print server” – i.e., it shares a printer to the rest of the network. It is HP LaserJet 1020. And that’s where the problem comes from. You see, it prints fine from the computer which it is connected to. But remote jobs do not print unless you stop and start the Print Spooler service again. After a fair bit of research, I found out that essentially, doing these three things solves the problem:

  1.  Disable bidirectional support for your printer in its properties:Disable bidirectional support
  2. In your Group Policy Object Editor, in “Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Printers” enable “Allow Print Spooler to accept client connections” (yes, I know it is not easy to find Group Policy Object Editor – see below how to do so):GPO Print Spooler
  3. In your Group Policy Object Editor, in “Local Computer Policy\User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Printers” disable “Point and Print Restrictions”:GPO Point and Print

This solution seems to work fine and enables the network computers to use shared printers on Windows Vista 64-bit… Although there is still a glitch: because you disabled “Bidirectional Support”, that means that the printer cannot communicate back its response to the computer. The result is that if you need to print on a special type of paper (i.e., envelopes or mail labels), your printer cannot request the spooler to show a dialog to display “please, insert special paper” message. Enabling back bidirectional support solves this issue – but then the other computers on the network cannot print. I do not know any solutions to this problem. If you know of any – welcome to comments!

Now, here is how to get to Group Policy Object Editor:

  1. Start mmc.exe from your Run prompt
  2. Press Ctrl-M; you should now see a dialog to choose which snap-ins you want to use:GPO MMC
  3. If you double-click it and accept default settings, that’s it – your GPO Editor is up and running.

I do hope this helps those who struggle with their printers on Vista sort out printing problems.