64-Bit Printing Problems and Solutions

Posted by Jordan Pusey

Since 2008 or so, the enterprise sector has made a slow but concerted migration toward 64-bit architecture on account of such benefits as improved scalability, more powerful processing, and vastly increased memory addressability. Laptops, workstations, servers, and even mobile devices have shifted to a combination of 64-bit hardware and software to take advantage of these benefits. Yet that can result in a number of problems—especially 64-bit printing issues—in all kinds of network environments.

For print environments that continue to incorporate residual 32-bit architecture, the mix of 32- and 64-bit platforms can be especially tricky. Running the two in tandem involves the same concessions and workarounds as maintaining any other still-functional legacy technology: say, 802.11b WiFi networks or end-of-life operating systems. Many of the new 64-bit advantages will be unavailable to legacy devices. At the same time, supporting backwards compatibility with 32-bit devices has the potential to handicap the functionality of the 64-bit devices while regularly eating up engineers’ time and energy.

Not everything is smooth sailing for environments that are exclusively 64-bit, either. Some printers still lack 64-bit drivers, so they must be sidelined or retired in the new environment – which can mean a loss of productivity or additional hardware expense to replace them. And if a 32-bit guest tries to enter to the print environment, it will most likely result in long calls to the service desk as the problems are ironed out.

Common 64-bit printing issues include:

  • 32- and 64-bit incompatibility: Printer drivers are either 32-bit or 64-bit, not both. This can result in serious incompatibility issues when 32-bit operating systems are unable to access a 64-bit driver (or vice versa). Trying to manage and reliably deploy these different print drivers in hybrid environments, especially when print servers are installed, can be a nightmare scenario.
  • Legacy devices: Drivers are the vital link between printers and workstations. If a manufacturer has only issued 32-bit drivers for a particular printer, it’s simply unusable in a 64-bit environment. On the flip side, if a printer only has 64-bit drivers, it will not be compatible with 32-bit workstations. This has the potential to obsolete a lot of hardware before its time.
  • Spooler crashes and other performance hits: Much like print drivers, 32- and 64-bit print spoolers are not one and the same. If 32/64-bit incompatibilities exist within the print environment, these can have productivity-hindering repercussions further down the printing chain in the form of print spooler hangs and crashes. Likewise, general printing performance can be negatively impacted by these issues, slowing or even halting printing outright.

PrinterLogic’s print management software is an easy-to-implement, enterprise-wide fix for 64-bit printing issues like these. By providing effortless print driver management, universal printing support, centralized printer administration, and automated deployment without the need for group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts, it eliminates driver incompatibilities and prolongs the useful life of legacy devices in hybrid as well as all-64-bit print environments.

With PrinterLogic, 32-bit and 64-bit drivers can coexist seamlessly and be quickly configured for specific workstations. What’s more, PrinterLogic has the ability to eliminate print servers altogether, further reducing the 64-bit printing issues—not to mention all the other hassles—that can arise in print environments that continue to rely on them. That not only makes your organization’s 64-bit printing transition smoother, it makes all of enterprise print management easier and more cost-effective.