Els's blog

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Print Management in Windows Vista

Print Management is an MMC snap-in that enables you to install, view and manage all of the printers in your organization from any computer running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2003 R2.

You can use Print Management to install printer connections to a group of client computers simultaneously. It can help you find printers that have an error condition by using filters. It allows you to send e-mail notifications or run scripts when a printer or print server needs attention. On printer models that provide a web page, Print Management has access to more data, such as toner and paper levels, which you can manage from remote locations.

 Print Mgmt

But one of the best features of Print Management is that you can use it to deploy printers to users or computers using Group Policy.

To do this, you use the Deploy with Group Policy dialog box to automatically add a printer connection to an existing GPO. You simply right click the printer you wish to deploy and select deploy with Group Policy. When group policy processing runs on client computers, the printer connection settings are applied to the users or computers associated with the GPO.

To enable this feature on computers running versions of Windows earlier than Windows Vista, you must use a utility called PushPrinterConnections.exe.
Add this utility to a startup script or a logon script for all computers or users that will get the GPO with the printer settings.
Use the same policy for the script and the printer connection settings.
You can find the PushPrinterConnections.exe in the following directory: %Systemdrive%\Windows\PmcSnap on a Windows Server 2003 R2 machine.

 Print Mgmt GPO

Remarks:

  1. On computers running Windows 2000 only per-user printer connections are supported. For computer policies, you need at least Windows XP.
  2. Before you can use Group Policy to deploy printers this way, your Active Directory environment has to support these features. That means that you will have to update your AD Schema to match the R2 version using the following command: adprep.exe /forestprep.
    (Adprep can be found on the R2 CD in the following directory: Cmpnents\r2\adprep.)

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