Windows Server 2008 Print Services – ntprint.inf and 64-bit

Server 2008
The Good Ole' Days

Due to some unforeseen issues with our 2003 R2 print server, I decided it was about time to build up a new print server.  The old print server was built up by another person and it was never very stable so this was a good time to start with a clean slate.

Our old server was a Dell Poweredge with a 32-bit proc.  This time, we are going to use our new VMWare ESX environment to stand up a 2008 Server in 64-bit.

Everything went well until I got to our Dell Printers.  I added the 64-bit drivers and setup the printer.  All was well.  I went to the sharing tab in the printer properties to add x86 (32-bit) support.  I checked the box and got an error:

Install Components from Windows Media
Please provide path to Windows media (x86 processor).
Type the path where the file is located and click OK.

After searching around, I came across this page on Technet. At the very bottom, I found the solution. Basically, here are the steps involved:

  1. From a 32-bit OS (I used 32-bit XP Pro)
  2. Browse to: \%servername%Printers and Faxes
  3. Right click the printer you want to add 32-bit support to and select properties
  4. It will tell you the 32-bit drivers are not installed and ask for the installation disk. Browse to the 32-bit drivers and hit okay.  If you say No, you will not be able to complete the steps below.
  5. Once the printer’s properties are displayed, select the Sharing tab and click “Additional Drivers”
  6. Check x86 and press OK
  7. Browse to the 32-bit drivers and it will copy the 32-bit drivers from the local folder to \%servername%print%W32X86

After getting past this hurtle, I ran across it again. Except this time, the Dell drivers were updated enough that I received a decent message:

The selected driver must be installed remotely from an x86 computer using Type 3 (User mode) drivers.

If you receive that message, it is basically telling you to follow the steps I outlined above. It’s a bummer MS couldn’t have included the sub-system to support the required backward compatibility often necessary in the enterprise. At least the workaround is simple enough.


  1. ZV says:

    I have a question. I tried the above but when I go to the Windows XP PC the add additional driver button is greyed out. I was logged in with domain credentials on the server 2008 64 bit and Windows XP 32 bit PC. Last thing I tried was giving myself full permissions to the printer but the button was still greyed out.

    The way I have been doing the installation of the x86 print drivers was to export the ntprint directory from a Windows 7 32 bit version to my Server 2008 64 bit. That way I can add both drivers from Server 2008 but for some reason this way keeps failing for an HP LaserJet 8000 printer.

    Any suggestions?



  2. Greg says:

    Andrew you are a life saver. Your info. helped me install 32bit drivers on new print server (Windows2008x64). Thank you very much.

  3. Ken says:

    This didn’t work for me. On the XP machine it tells me “The files installed are not valid for the selected architecture.” I’m trying to install 32 bit RICOH 4500 drivers onto a Server 08 R2 platform.

  4. Tomas says:

    On the 32bit machine I browse the printer click add additional drivers when i click ok to add the additional drivers I get the same error message.

    “The selected driver must be installed remotely from an x86 computer using Type 3 (user mode) drivers”

  5. fred says:

    I don’t get the first step. How does one “browse” to %servername%Printers and Faxes??? Sorry if I’m dense.

    Perhaps you mean:
    Start / Run
    %servername%Printers and Faxes ??
    Well, actually, I got it to work to a point by doing this:
    Start / Run %servername%
    Then when the server opens up, Printers and Faxes is showing on the list of items.
    But when I follow the instructions given thereafter, the first thing that happens is:
    “The [printer] driver is not installed on this computer….. install the driver now? Yes/No”
    If one says Yes then an install happens (somewhere) on the XP 32 system using a downloaded driver .inf file that I have to point to…
    Then, trying it again, the same thing happens. If one selects “No”, then opening the printer anyway and the Sharing tab shows the Additional Drivers grayed out.

    In this computer I was able to add the X86 driver on the Win 7 machine printer install by doing a text edit of the name in the .inf file … which seems a pretty common need. And, in this case I didn’t get the need for:
    “Please provide a path to Windows medio (x86 processor)”

  6. Robert says:

    Step 6 gives no browse function to point to the install directory’s where I have my W32 drivers. It just gives an error and quits..

Comments are closed.