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Experts offer a potpourri of printer troubleshooting tips

Continuing from part one of this two-part Q&A, our experts tackle a potpourri of your printer management problems.

Continuing from part one of this two-part Q&A, our experts tackle a potpourri of your printer...

management problems. member: When using roaming profiles on Win2k/XP, is it possible to set up network printers in a per-PC setting (which is how Win9x works) rather than as part of the profile? The problem I've got is that users move around a lot and I want them to print to the printer nearest the PC by default.

Serdar Yegulalp: The answer to this may lie in per-system mandatory profiles. If you look in each individual profile directory, you'll find a hidden file called NTUSER.DAT. This file contains all the user-configurable aspects of the profile. To create a mandatory profile, simply rename this file NTUSER.MAN. Make the local changes to the mandatory profile first before copying it, of course. How do I add a printer to a Windows 2000 workstation so that all users will be able to access the printer? Currently we use the "copy profile to default" method, but what can I do for a PC with already existing users? Installing the printer via logon is not an option either; there are not enough "standards" in our environment.

Jerry Honeycutt: See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article "How to add printers with no user interaction in Windows." member: I am currently running a Windows 2000 AD server and Win2k Professional network in a school environment. I use the following command to add network printers to the Windows 2000 Professional clients: "Rundll32 printui.dll, PrintUIEntry /ga /in /n server-nameprinter-name." This works fine except for one problem: I need the printers to be installed with the default paper size set to A4, instead of the current default of Letter. I have set the default user profile to English U.K. on the client machines, but this still doesn't help.

Laura Hunter: The PRINTUI.DLL system has two switches, /Ss and /Sr, which can be used to save and restore printer settings from a file. You can probably set A4 as the default by using the above command to export the settings for the printer to a file, and then modifying the statement to add the network printer so that the settings are loaded from the same file. member: When I click from a Windows 98 PC on a Windows 2000 computer that shares a printer on my network, I get a prompt asking for a network password to connect to that resource (server$IPC). I know that it's a remote user authentication problem, but I've allowed the printer access to everyone on the Windows 2000 server, so I expect a prompt asking for the connection user/password. It happens with a Windows ME remote computer but not with a Windows 98 remote computer. Why?

William Boswell: When a Win9x computer asks for a password for serverIPC$, it's telling you that it was unable to negotiate access to the target server. IPC$ is the InterProcess Communication pipe used to establish secure channels between machines. Add a user account to the target machine with the same name and password as you use on your machine. That will solve the problem. member: We have a pool of load-balanced terminal servers accessed by users across an ADSL network using RDP. Printers are mapped through from the client machines at logon time and a specific printer from the client is then set as default. Occasionally, within a user session, their default printer changes without user interaction causing printouts to be send to wrong destinations thousands of miles away. Can you give me any tips on how to resolve this? It occurs on both Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers.

Christa Anderson: If you are using roaming profiles, it is possible that your users have two copies of their profile open, have changed the default printer in one and not the other, and then logged off and saved the changes. member: I have a workgroup network consisting of Win2k Pro machines, with shared printers on two of them. Every night, or when one of them logs off, the printer share goes offline. The only way to fix it is to reconnect each time, which is an annoyance to my users. I have researched TechNet -- and Microsoft admits this is a problem. Is there any way around it?

Laura Hunter: Ah, the joy of "we know it's a problem and are working on it." The most obvious workaround, if it's feasible within your environment, would be to have the users lock their workstations instead of logging out entirely. member: I have a problem with printing from DOS applications in Windows 2000. For some reason, my dedicated printer will spool for 15 seconds before printing, or will begin to print, stop, wait 15 seconds and then continue to print. How can I eliminate the 15-second wait? This problem occurs on standalone computers and networked.

James Michael Stewart: DOS applications are allowed to interact with hardware (including shared printers). All I can recommend is deleting and recreating the printer. Be sure to use a name less than eight characters long and configure it to print directly to the printer and not spool. Other than that, you'll either need to roll back to Windows 98/SE/ME or upgrade the DOS application.

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