Can I install PaperCut on a Domain Controller?

Q We’re new to PaperCut and we’re trying to decide where to install the PaperCut software. Can we install it on our Domain Controller?

Yes… but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

While there are a number of scenarios where it would be perfectly okay to install PaperCut on a Windows Domain Controller, this is something that we would not recommend for a number of reasons which we’ve detailed below.

1. It muddles up your infrastructure

Imagine if you start having a problem with need to install updates and need to reboot the server, or have a problem that requires taking the print server offline temporarily. What normally should be an quick and easy job now gives you gray hairs because you have to worry whether your users will still be able to log in, or whether your Active Directory will continue to replicate successfully.

2. It won’t work with Mobility Print

Domain Controllers often also act as DNS servers. When the Mobility Print application and the DNS service are both running on the same machine, they will often end up fighting over the traffic on port 53, with mixed results. Just don’t do it.

3. Domain Controllers just don’t make good print servers

We have heard it on good authority and seen several anecdotes firsthand that configuring a print server as a Domain Controller can cause issues. Apparently the act of promoting a server to domain controller resets the permissions on the Windows spool folder and will interfere some rendering tasks necessary for Windows printing, causing print jobs to fail in specific scenarios.

Q So what should I do instead?

Set up a dedicated print server in your environment to install PaperCut on. This can be a virtual machine or an old desktop. Separating out server roles in your environment onto separate machines is widely regarded as common sense IT. Installing PaperCut on a separate server just for printing will give you piece of mind that printing and Active Directory won’t adversely affect each other and will be much easier to troubleshoot if things go awry.

If your only Windows server is the domain controller and you cannot add any other physical servers, then consider adding the Hyper-V role to this server so that you can set up a virtual machine to act as a dedicated print server. At the time of this writing, a Standard Windows Server license allows you to set up two additional Windows servers as virtual machines. This is a no-cost solution that won’t require purchasing any additional licenses from Microsoft and uses your existing infrastructure.

Q Still have questions?

Let us know if you need assistance! We’re happy to help. Feel free to leave a comment below to ask questions or reach out to us directly if you’re unsure. We can get you connected with experts to help you set up PaperCut in your organization in the best possible way.

Categories: FAQ, Installing, Uninstalling and Migrating

Keywords: Domain Controller, DC, Mobility Print

Firsthand examples from Microsoft’s forum: