Use PowerShell to Test Remote Printers

Use PowerShell to Test Remote Printers

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Summary: Learn how to use Windows PowerShell to test remote printers. 

Hey, Scripting Guy! Question Hey, Scripting Guy! I don’t know what it is, but for some reason printing still seems to be a pain. I mean, we have been using the network for a long time, and something as basic as printing still seems to be a problem. Whatever happened to the paperless office of the future? All we do is kill trees faster by using high-speed printers to print massive amounts of useless junk that no one reads.

Anyway, for some reason, about half of our Help Desk calls are related to print issues. To be sure, some of it is user training issues—people trying to select the wrong feature for the wrong printer. But in all honesty, not all of the print problems are user related. For example, sometimes the print spooler seems to die, and we need to restart it. My Help Desk techs can open Computer management to stop and restart the spooler service, but I would like to do this via a script. Can you help?

—RM

Hey, Scripting Guy! Answer Hello RM,

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. We continue to get lots of rain here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lots and lots of rain. The solar heaters for our pool are not doing much good these days. Oh well, maybe the sun will come out tomorrow.

The print management module

RM, you did not say if you are using Windows 8, so I am going to assume that you are. In Windows 8 (and in Surface RT, Surface Pro, and Windows Server 2012), there is a print management module called PrintManagement. It exposes the following commands:

PS C:\> Get-Command -Module PrintManagement

 

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName

-----------     ----                                               ----------

Function        Add-Printer                                        PrintManagement

Function        Add-PrinterDriver                                  PrintManagement

Function        Add-PrinterPort                                    PrintManagement

Function        Get-PrintConfiguration                             PrintManagement

Function        Get-Printer                                        PrintManagement

Function        Get-PrinterDriver                                  PrintManagement

Function        Get-PrinterPort                                    PrintManagement

Function        Get-PrinterProperty                                PrintManagement

Function        Get-PrintJob                                       PrintManagement

Function        Remove-Printer                                     PrintManagement

Function        Remove-PrinterDriver                               PrintManagement

Function        Remove-PrinterPort                                 PrintManagement

Function        Remove-PrintJob                                    PrintManagement

Function        Rename-Printer                                     PrintManagement

Function        Restart-PrintJob                                   PrintManagement

Function        Resume-PrintJob                                    PrintManagement

Function        Set-PrintConfiguration                             PrintManagement

Function        Set-Printer                                        PrintManagement

Function        Set-PrinterProperty                                PrintManagement

Function        Suspend-PrintJob                                   PrintManagement

Inspecting a network printer connection

From a client workstation (one defined with a network printer), I can use the Get-Printer function. This function returns detailed information about every printer that is defined on the local system. This includes what I consider to be real printers and what I consider to be virtual printers. In the system that follows, only one real printer is defined, and it happens to not be able to connect to the server.

PS C:\> Get-Printer | select printerstatus, name, computername

 

               PrinterStatus name                        computername

               ------------- ----                        ------------

                      Normal Snagit 11

                      Normal Send To OneNote 2013

                      Normal Microsoft XPS Document W...

                      Normal Fax

               ServerOffline \\dc1.iammred.net\HP Las... dc1.iammred.net

Because the server is reported as offline, there are a couple of possibilities. It may be that the server is actually down, or it may be that the spooler service is not responding. If the spooler is hung, I can restart the service. If the server is down, or not responding to remote queries, I need to restart the server.

This is exactly what the RestartSpoolerService.ps1 script does. If the server is up and responding to a ping, but the PrinterStatus is not normal, the script restarts the spooler service. This script does not use credentials, but it would be easy to modify it to do so by first soliciting credentials via Get-Credential and storing the returned credential object in a variable. Then supply the credential object to the Invoke-Command cmdlet. This script is shown here:

 get-printer |

 select printerstatus, name, computername  |

 Foreach {

    If ($_.PrinterStatus -ne 'normal')

      {

        if(Test-Connection -ComputerName $_.ComputerName -Quiet)

          {Invoke-Command -ComputerName $_.ComputerName -ScriptBlock {Restart-Service -Name Spooler} } }}

RM, that is all there is to using Windows PowerShell to test printer servers. Printer Week will continue tomorrow when I will talk about creating printer ports.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy

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  • Oh no in my company we have Win 7 Enterpise and PSh 2.  How can I test remote printers?

  • @RM: I guess you are out of luck...

  • @RM: PowerShell might not work in your case, but there is always the trustworthy VBScript option. :)  Of course, just a bit more work.

  • I guess you would work with the WMI objects

    Get-WmiObject win32_printer |Get-Member