Printers

Video: Automatically configure printers using Print Management in Windows Server 2003

Adding new printers to your network isn't rocket science, but it can take time out of your already busy schedule. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler shows you how to automatically detect and install printers using the Print Management Console in Windows Server 2003 R2.

Adding new printers to your network isn't rocket science, but it can take time out of your already busy schedule. Luckily, there is a feature in Windows Server 2003 R2 that automatically detects and sets up printers on the same subnet. In this IT Dojo video, I show you how the Print Management Console can shave a little time off a common network administration task.

After watching the video, you can read the original tip in Derek Schauland's article, "Automatically configure printers using Print Management in Windows Server 2003". For more print management tips and tricks, check out the following TechRepublic Resources:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

11 comments
techrepublicsucks
techrepublicsucks

This is really an excellent tool but you have to know Active Directory Group Policy for it to make sense. There is also a very important lesson I learned testing it that I would like to share. You MUST remove the printers using the Print Management Console. Do not delete them directly from their GPO. I made the mistake of deleting the printers in the GPO. Even after removing the workstation from the domain and logging on locally I still had the printers from the GPO. I deleted them and rebooted but they would not go away! I corrected the problem by redeploying the same printers with the same names using the Printer Management Console to the original OU/GPO. Once I added the workstation back to the domain and placed it in the original OU I successfully (and permanently) removed the printers using the Printer Management console. I hope this helps.

brian
brian

Ok, so you've set up the print "server" with the proper drivers, or so you hope. We need to delve into: 1) Multiple OSes: Vista, XP, Mac, Linux, UNIX. 2) AD scripting for delivery. 3) AD steps to secure certain print services, like the check printer in Finance area.... Make it so, Bill!

cgbullock
cgbullock

We have our subnets segmented where servers are on a different subnet than users and printers. It would be nice if this utility was for 1, able to search different subnets and 2. for XP or Vista.

jketterer
jketterer

Dang! I wish I knew that three months ago when I built us a new print server.

thisisfutile
thisisfutile

This probably is a series of stupid questions and perhaps I'm just showing my lack of IT experience (specifically on big networks)... What's the benefit to using this? Is this the same as just going to Control Panel > Printers and Faxes > Add Printer? By some miracle does Microsoft now make this printer automatically installed on workstations of this domain? I guess I just don't see how they're "automatically configured". I probably just missed it in the video.

Ralph S.
Ralph S.

I agree with the previous posts about the need for AD deplyment, use of other subnets, and other OS's support. I also have an issue that I deal with daily about the PROPER drivers being available within the windows drivers library. Most of the printers are so old that you wouldn't want them on your network anyway. Even if windows has a driver for one of my MFP's, the driver is old and may/will have issues that would annoy users if deployed. Most manufacturers ( mine included ) are always putting out NEW drivers for our NEW products and the fact that they need the accesories properly configured is still a manual configuration issue. Plus my job is to KNOW how to best set up and deply my companies drivers within the customers environment. This function would not help me do that.

DaBigTrain
DaBigTrain

I don't see much benefit to using this; setting up printers on a print server is no big deal. What drives me nuts is that MSFT spent time and energy on this rather than on simplifying the task of connecting domain users to networked printers- why is it, that 8 years after AD was introduced, there is still no simple (that is, without arcane login script commands, VB, etc) way to connect users to network printers? A nice little properties page on their AD account where you can connect them to three network printer on login? Drive me nuts.

Chug
Chug

I absolutely 100% agree! We just migrated from NetWare 6 servers to Windows 2003 servers. After the convenience of being able to use NDPS and iPrint to automatically configure deployment of printers to workstations, I can't believe Microsoft doesn't have something integrated into AD by now for doing this. We need to be able to deploy printers based on groups and by office. It was SO easy in NetWare and I haven't found anything even close to comparison in the Windows Server world. We have an auto deployment .vbs script set up and it works but it was A LOT more work and requires a lot more hands on management than the NetWare NDPS/iPrint did. Yet one more way Microsoft is so far behind NetWare.

woods1971
woods1971

I use a snap shotting tool and deployment tool called Prism. It is very quick and easy to create printer driver packages and deploy to workstations. It also mirrors AD allowing you to deploy to OU's or create custom groups. www.newboundary.com

DaBigTrain
DaBigTrain

Thanks for that suggestion- I found it right away by googling "Deploy printers by using Group Policy." The article is very thorough, and I'm sure it will work- but to do what it says, you have to: - pdate your Active Directory schema with the Windows Server 2003 R2 changes - add the PushPrinterConnections.exe utility to a machine or user startup script - then use the Deploy with Group Policy dialog box to automatically add a printer connection setting to an existing Group Policy object Though this is better than some VB scripts I've seen, it's still too complex. Drives me nuts.

JohnDJauch
JohnDJauch

I think there is a way using Group Policies to deploy printers. There is an article in Technet titled "Deploy printers by using Group Policy". It involves using "PushPrinterConnections.exe". Hopefully there are enough key words here to run a good search on Microsoft's website. Good luck.