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Navigation: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Win2PDF as a shared printer on a print server?

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Yes, with certain caveats, although we don't officially support it. Win2PDF works differently than a paper printer.


First, the pricing and licensing requirements are the same as the standard edition of Win2PDF. Each PC that installs Win2PDF as a local printer, or accesses the Win2PDF printer from a shared print server, requires a license of Win2PDF Standard Edition. It is not based on concurrent users; each PC that has access to Win2PDF will need a license.


Second, Win2PDF differs from most printer drivers in that all operations are done locally on the PC or server where Win2PDF is installed. This is

true both when Win2PDF has been installed using the Win2PDF setup program, and when Win2PDF has been installed using printer sharing. If

Win2PDF has been installed using printer sharing, no processing or communication is done on the print server. There is no performance

advantage to installing Win2PDF using printer sharing.


It is recommended that the Win2PDF printer be installed local to each PC instead of accessing it as a shared printer. There are several limitations with the shared printer implementation, which are:


Win2PDF relies on some Windows components that are not available on all versions of Windows servers or clients. The Win2PDF setup program checks for these components, and installs them if necessary. If Win2PDF is installed using printer sharing, there is no opportunity to check for these components and Win2PDF may not function correctly if the components are missing. As such, users of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 will need to manually download and install the Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack setup before connecting to the shared printer. Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 do not need to install this separately as it is included with the core operating system.


The Win2PDF Help files will not be installed for shared users. They will only have access to the Win2PDF print driver, and not any of the help topics.


Printer sharing relies on Windows installation and update mechanisms. Most printer drivers use standard Microsoft port monitors, but Win2PDF uses a custom port. There have been several reported bugs in the Windows printer sharing relating to printer drivers with custom port monitors, and there are a large number of combinations of Windows versions and service pack levels for the print server and clients (including variations for 32 bit and 64 bit clients and servers). Only some combinations are tested with Win2PDF, and based on past experience there may be problems with other combinations. Since the installation and update process is handled entirely by Windows, these issues can be difficult to isolate and troubleshoot.


In contrast, when Win2PDF is installed directly on each PC, the installer detects the operating system and CPU architecture and installs the correct version of the print driver along with any other necessary files. It is not necessary to install the Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack separately. Also the help files will be installed locally, and there aren't any issues with updates due to the custom port.


For these reasons, we strongly encourage deployment as a local printer install instead of printer sharing. To ease deployment concerns, for orders of 50 licenses or more we provide a pre-registered volume license installer. This -- together with the silent install options -- is the preferred way of deploying Win2PDF to a large number of PCs.