printing pool

Definition of printing pool in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Printing Pool?

A way of connecting one printer to multiple print devices. In Microsoft Windows terminology, a print device is the physical hardware that does the printing, while a printer is a software interface on a computer that enables jobs to be sent to a print device.

Normally, a printer is configured for each individual print device. Using a printing pool, you identify several print devices as a single printer to the operating system.

When a client sends a print job to a printing pool, the printer sends the job to the first available print device managed by the printer. Clients can thus print jobs without having to check to see which print device is free.

Printing pools are used in networks with high printing volume and also to provide a form of fault tolerance. Printing pools also simplify the administration of large numbers of print devices. You can create printing pools on print servers running Windows NT and Windows 2000.


The print devices in a printing pool must be the same make and model or at least be similar devices that use the same printer driver. Print devices that are pooled can be a mix of local and network interface print devices. Place pooled print devices in close physical proximity to one another so that users do not have to search for the device that printed their job.


If you don’t have identical print devices and thus cannot create a printing pool, you can take other measures to meet the needs of increased printing volume:

  • Share an existing printer that is currently not shared for network use.
  • Configure priorities between printers to enable critical documents to be printed before noncritical ones.
  • Institute company policies on how to use printers properly, and audit printer usage.

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