Making Printers Available to All Users

Easier methods to deploy printers

Note that this article is showing its age somewhat - while the technique here still works, we’ve come a long way in helping customers ‘get their printers installed’ with other methods too:

  • Mobility print lets you advertise your printers over the network - great for BYO devices or unmanaged devices!
  • Print Deploy is a feature of PaperCut MF/NG that lets you push out the right printer to the right person at the right time. Almost like a managed device solution, without needing a managed device solution.

The original solution

Windows 2000, XP and 2003 all have the capability to install a printer and have it globally available to all users (Similar to the way printers worked in the old Windows 95/98 days). Unfortunately the Add Printer wizard does not expose this functionality and only adds the printer for the current user. The command-line needs to be used to install and expose a printer globally. The process is as follows:

  1. Log on to the workstation as an Administrator
  2. Start→Run and enter “cmd” then press OK
  3. Type rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /ga /n\\server\printer where server and printer make up the correct UNC path to the printer.
  4. Restart the spooler service with the commands:
    • net stop spooler
    • net start spooler
  5. The printer should now be listed and available to all users that log onto the workstation.

Note 💡 As of September 2021, Microsoft’s requirement to download the print driver software from the server is administrative access on the client system. When the logged on user is not in the local Administrators group, the connection to the shared printer is not added.

Also see: [Legacy] Automating printer management in a school, university or education environment for more examples.

Categories: How-to Articles, Print Queue Deployment