File and Print Services

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-04-24 Print this article Print

File and Print Services File and print services are much easier to configure in Windows Server 2003, with wizard-type tools that stepped us through setup processes in tests. Chief among the enhanced file and print capabilities is the Shadow Copies of Shared Folders feature. When enabled by the server administrator, this facility saves copies of documents stored on network shares at preset intervals and allows individual users to access these copies from a new tab in the file properties dialog of Windows clients.
The Shadow Copies feature is no replacement for a solid data backup scheme, but it can serve as an effective complement to these systems. In most cases, end users will be able to retrieve a backup version of a document themselves (see screen).
The client software that enables access to Shadow Copies works with the Home and Professional versions of Windows XP, with Windows 2000 Server and Professional (Service Pack 3 and above), and with Windows 98. Also new in Windows Server 2003 is a WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) redirector that enables clients to access files on WebDAV repositories through file system calls—in the same way as previously possible with SMBs or local files. Along similar lines, Distributed File System functionality has been improved in Windows Server 2003, which can now transparently direct users to the closest available server for accessing files replicated in multiple locations (based on information provided through Active Directory). For print serving, Windows Server 2003 boasts faster file spooling than Windows 2000 Server. In addition, the operating system ships with 3,800 new print drivers, and drivers are now downloaded automatically when client computers connect to print servers. This will broaden connectivity and help streamline printer installation for the clients that Windows 2003 serves. —Jason Brooks


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