Microsoft’s official Group Policy blog
You might know GP Preferences is great for mapping drives, pushing out shortcuts, and adding new folders. But did you know that you can use GP Preferences to add a printer and set it as default? Check it out:
Here’s the Devices and Printers inventory on my Windows 7 Client machine: one shared Canon printer. You can also do this on your XP SP2 clients.
On my Windows Server 2008 R2 Server (you can do this on a Windows Server 2008 server as well), I navigate to the Printer extension under User Configuration. (User Configuration\Preferences\Printers). Right click on ‘Printers’ and select ‘ New’, then choose a type of printer you’d like to add. I’m choosing Shared Printer, but you can manage TCP/IP and Local Printers with GP Preferences as well.
Now the configuration dialog to find and optionally map the printer: I’m just going to browse for the printer I want by clicking on the ‘…’ button next to the Share Path cell.
Ah ha! Familiar browser window. Searching the directory yields 2 shared printers; one that’s already shared to my client, and one that’s not. I select the Epson, which populates the Share Path field with its full address.
And now that I have the full address of the shared printer, the option to “set this printer as default…” is enabled. I can also select “only if a local printer is not present” if I want, but I don’t want to.
I’m done with my Printer Preference item, so I gpupdate \force on my client machine and check the Devices and Printers to see that it’s been updated.
Not only is the Epson added as a shared printer, but it’s designated as the default (the green check mark). Nicely done, GP Preferences.
For even more fun and adventure, you can add multiple printers per GPO, just like you can map multiple drives and push out multiple shortcuts. For more granularity, edit the targeting options under the Common tab. You can map certain printers only within specific IP ranges, date+times, for specific operating systems, and much more. Want to know more about targeting? GP Preferences? Printing? Let me know in the comments.
If you have trouble with the steps above, ping the GP TechNet Forums for troubleshooting help.
Hope this helps,
LiliaG, Group Policy PM
Hi, Lilia. Ever tried this with a third party printer driver? No luck here, GPP processing hangs in "starting class printer"...
Hi, Lilia. Does this work with (signed) third party printers from, say, Kyocera or HP?
Would be interested to here about ways of targetting based on subnet (of client system), or site location (AD).
Thanks for an informative post
Hey Daabm -
As far as I know, if the printer shows up in the directory of printers in a findable share, you can do it. Test it out and let me know what happens.
I would like to share TCP/IP-printers with preferences other than default eg duplex, grayscale. Is that also possible with GPOs?
Can someone explain the difference between Update Replace and Create when adding a shared printer?
I want to be able to use GPPs to map a printer for everyone in the company, but set it as the default for only a certain group (which I already have set up in AD). What is the best way to accomplish this?
Thanks in advance for your input.
I like this! If I have multiple printers setup this way and want to set the default printer for users based on group membership, can that be done?
I'd like to know are it works with xp sp3?
cause, how many times I try it doesn't works.
Andrew - it works fine with XP SP3. Sounds like you may not have the GPP CSE's installed though.
Michael Kleef, PM