Unauthenticated Printing

“Help! Papercut is tracking jobs under the wrong username! How do I get the user to authenticate when they print the job so that it always tracks properly?”

Papercut NG/MF tracks print jobs by retrieving the username from the spool file of the print job which reflects the user that was logged in at the time of printing. But what happens when the user that is logged into the workstation does not match the actual user that is submitting the job? Papercut NG/MF addresses this issue in the form of Unauthenticated Printing (otherwise known as pop-up authentication).

For more detail on how pop-up authentication works, please see our manual documentation here.

The Scenarios

There are two basic scenarios for when Unauthenticated Printing might be of use:

A public workstation that uses a generic user login

Lets say you have a workstation in the library where any user that uses this station will login with the same user credentials, maybe something along the lines of student. The problem is that every print job sent from this workstation will appear under the student user and not the actual person who printed the job.

This issue is solved by flagging the generic user account being printed from as an Unauthenticated User. With this in place, any job submitted under the student user will now come with a pop-up requesting that the user enter their individual credentials. Provided that the credentials entered are correct, the job will now be accounted for under the proper user account in Papercut NG/MF.

A public printer that receives print jobs from non-domain workstation

If we stay with library example in the previous section, lets now say we have a printer in this library that users can bring their own devices to print to. The problem we encounter here is that since the device that the print job is coming from is not managed by your organization, it is likely that the username that the user has created for themselves will not be recognized by Papercut NG/MF.

Papercut can solve this issue by flagging the printer itself as an Unauthenticated Printer. With this option, any print job sent to this print queue will now prompt the user for authentication. The user can then enter their user-specific credentials that match the credentials in Papercut and have the job properly account!

The Solution

There are two locations Unauthenticated Printing can be enabled, each of which will yield slightly different results. Make sure to look at the scenarios above to see which functionality works best for your environment.

Unauthenticated User

Here is how to configure an Unauthenticated user in PaperCut NG/MF:

  1. Navigate to the Users tab on the PaperCut Admin interface.
  2. Select the user you wish to flag as “Unauthenticated”.
  3. Check the Unauthenticated user checkbox in the Advanced Options section.
  4. Smash that Apply button.


With this enabled, any print job coming into PaperCut NG/MF from this user will now prompt a pop-up to the user requesting that they enter their user-specific credentials!

Unauthenticated Printer

Here is how to configure an Unauthenticated Printer in Papercut:

  1. Navigate to the Printers tab on the PaperCut Admin Interface.
  2. Select the printer you wish to flag as “Unauthenticated”.
  3. Check the Unauthenticated printer checkbox in the Advanced Configuration section
  4. Hit that Apply button.


You will now be prompted for authentication on every job submitted to this printer!


Still have questions?

Let us know! We love chatting about whats going on under the hood. Feel free to leave a comment below or visit our Support Portal for further assistance.


Categories: How-to Articles, Authentication, Print Queues


Keywords: Authentication, Popup Authentication

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