Running PaperCut on a peer-to-peer or home network

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Q I have a small peer-to-peer network (no domain server). How do I setup PaperCut?

PaperCut Quota and PaperCut NG will run fine on a Peer to Peer network. Peer to Peer networks are common in homes or small office environments. These networks differ from a standard business type network in that there is no central server managing logins and access. Also referred to as a domain or Active Directory network.

The requirements for running PaperCut on a peer-to-peer network are as follows:

1. Desktop systems must be running Windows XP Pro, Win 98, Windows NT or Windows 2000. Windows XP Home is not supported as Microsoft has introduced limitation in this operation system to restrict network identites to a guest account only.
2. One desktop will have to host the PaperCut server software. We usually recommend nominating a system that is physically close to a printer. This system should also be turned on most of the time as other desktops will print via this system.
3. All Desktops should be configured so users need to enter a username and password after the computer boots. If a user uses more than one computer, they will need an account on each of these systems. For ease of management ensure the passwords are the same.

To setup PaperCut on a peer-to-peer network:

1. Nominate one of the peers (normally a desktop computer) as a system to host the printers.
2. On the nominated system, add a Windows user accounts for each network user. The username and passwords should be identical to what users use to logon to their desktops.
3. Setup ALL printers on this system as per manufactures setup notes and drivers.
4. Share the printers using standard Windows network printer sharing (right-click on the printer icon and select Sharing…)
5. Setup a “network printer” on each desktop (peer system) mapping to the printer(s) shared in step 4. This will normally be a printer mapping to \\<host>\<printer_name> where host is the name of system nominated in step 1.
6. Install the PaperCut server software on the system nominated in step 1. Select the “Import user information from this computer” option when prompted. Follow the standard setup notes and add the printer(s) to the charging list and assign an appropriate cost-per-page.
7. Test the setup by having each user print from their desktop. Ensure PaperCut tracks and charges each print job as expected.


1. Windows XP Home clients is not supported due to networking limitations in-built into this Windows version. Please use Windows XP Pro is OK.
2. Windows XP, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation only allow 10 simultaneous connections (See Microsoft article). So these operating systems can only used for print servers when less than 10 users are connecting. Consider setting up a domain server or using a Windows server version as the print server on larger networks.

Categories: Implementation, Architecture

keywords: peer-to-peer network, home use, small networks


Share your findings and experience with other PaperCut users. Feel free to add comments and suggestions about this Knowledge Base article. Please don't use this for support requests.

Article last modified on September 11, 2008, at 11:16 AM
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