The Saga

I’ve definitely been beating my head on the desk with this one for a few days but finally found a solution thanks in part to Google.  I was attempting to install Additional Drivers for a printer that was shared/installed on a print server running Windows Server 2008 R2.  If you are reading this, then you no doubt have experienced the severe shortcoming by Microsoft in this area of O/S functionality.  It’s simply broken and I’m surprised that they have yet to fix it (I guess they want us all to move to Windows 7 ASAP).

When attempting to install the x86 User Mode drivers, I was first prompted for the location of the drivers.  Then soon after I was prompted for the Windows Server x86 installation media.  Huh?  Come to find out, the installer wanted the ntprint.inf file.  Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get to this file because the installer will not accept it from the C:\Windows\inf folder or from the latest Windows Server 2008 media directly.

The solution is to utilize the Windows AIK‘s imagex tool to mount the install.wim file so that you can grab the ntprint.inf (and all of the other files necessary for installation).  So here’s how I got it resolved.

How to Install the ntprint.inf File on Windows Server 2008 R2

  1. Download and install the Windows AIK.   This particular one is for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.  Here’s the one for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.  I didn’t perform these steps with the latter but if anyone wants to give it a shot, let me know.
  2. Insert the installation media for Windows Server 2008 32-bit and go to [drive]:\sources\ folder.
  3. Copy the install.wim file to a temporary folder–let’s say C:\TEMP.
  4. Create a folder to act as a mount point–let’s say C:\MOUNT will act as the mount point.
  5. After installing the Windows AIK on a server, go into the installation directory for Windows AIK.  On my machine it’s, C:\Program Files\Windows AIK.
  6. In the Windows AIK folder type the following command to mount the image: imagex /mount C:\TEMP\install.wim 1 C:\MOUNT.  This will mount the image in the C:\MOUNT folder so that you can browse its contents.
  7. Once the image is mounted go to C:\MOUNT\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ntprint.inf_xxxxxxxx, where the string of x’s represent a hexadecimal number.
  8. Within my particular install.wim file, there were 2 folders with the ntprint.inf_ name, so copy both of them to a network location that is accessible by your print server.
  9. Once the files have been copied go back to your print server and attempt to install the drivers again.  But, this time, when it asks for the ntprint.inf files, direct the installer to the network location that you copied the folders to.  I choose just 1 of the 2 folders that I copied (this first one) and the installation completed for me–printer installed just fine.
  10. (Cleanup) Go back to the Windows AIK and run imagex /unmount C:\MOUNT to unmount the image.

This sparred me a few brain cells so I hope to save a few of yours as well.  Good luck.