Choosing and configuring a port

Print monitor is a term used to describe two types of print monitors: language monitor and port monitor. A language monitor is needed to support bidirectional printing, which is a two-way communication between the printer and the spooler running on the print server The spooler can then access configuration and status information from the printer. The port monitor controls the I/O port to the printer. A printer port is the interface through which a printer communicates with the computer. You can add printer ports while adding a printer (using the Add Printer Wizard), from the Ports tab in the printer's property page, or through the print server property page.

If the printer is physically attached to the print server, select the appropriate local port. LPT1 through LPT3 represent parallel ports; COM1 through COM4 represent serial ports When a client prints to a printer port denoted as FILE, the client is prompted for the file name. If you decide to add a new local port you can enter one of the following:

A file name, such as C:\Dir\Filename. All jobs sent to this port are written to the named file, and each new job overwrites the last one.

The share name of a printer, such as \\Server\Printer (URLs are not accepted). Jobs sent to this port are transferred over the network to the named share by the network redirector.

NUL. This specifies the null port, which you can use to test whether network clients can send jobs. Jobs sent to NUL are deleted without wasting paper or delaying real print jobs.

IR. Use this port to connect to infrared-enabled printers meeting Infrared Data Association (IrDA) specifications. If your hardware does not support IR, it will not be listed on the Ports tab.

Certain ports are not listed in the Ports tab unless a printer that requires one of them is installed. Universal serial bus (USB) and IEEE 1394 printers support Plug and Play so when you plug a printer into the correct physical port (USB or IEEE 1394), the correct port monitor is installed automatically. Windows will detect the device and display its settings on the screen, prompting you to approve. You might be required to insert a CD-ROM containing driver files, as described in To add a local port

If the printer is attached directly to the network, add a port when prompted by the Add Printer Wizard for a port selection. The following table shows the port options available and explains under what conditions the port is available. To add a port, you must have Administrator or Power Users privileges, and have the Load/Unload Device Drivers privilege.

Additional portEnables clients to print toAvailable

Local port

Printers connected to a parallel port, serial port, specific file name, universal naming convention (UNC) name, or the NUL port

By default

Standard TCP/IP port

TCP/IP printers connected directly to the network

By default

LPR port

TCP/IP printers connected to a UNIX (or VAX) server

When Print services for UNIX is installed


The port you need might not appear in the wizard if the necessary network protocol or services are not installed. For more information, click Related Topics.

Related Topics

Add a network component

Add an LPR port

Add a standard TCP/IP port

Add a local port

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