How to index standalone printers in Active Directory

Occasionally users will need to send a job to a network printer they don't normally print to. Here's how Windows administrators can use Active Directory to create a print queue for a standalone printer.

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Printing directly to a network printer is much more efficient than spooling the job to a local print queue hosted on a user workstation; it conserves memory, disk space and CPU time on the server.

Occasionally, though, users will need to send a job to a network printer that their own workstation doesn't support. For these users, an administrator can create an Active Directory listing that directs users to a print queue hosted on a Windows server that the job can pass through.

Printing through this queue may not be as efficient as sending a job directly to the network printer but it will reduce help desk calls since users can use Active Directory to locate the printer via a query.

Here's how to create a print queue for a standalone printer:

First, choose the Printers and Faxes command from the server's Start menu. When the Printers and Faxes window opens, double click on the Add Printer icon. Windows will then open the Add Printer Wizard.

Click Next to bypass the wizard's Welcome screen and the set up a local printer or a network printer screen will appear. Even though you are sharing a networked printer, choose the Local Printer option, as shown in Figure A.


Figure A: Choose the Local Printer attached to this computer option.

Once you choose the local printer options , click next. Windows will then start to search for printers that are attached directly to the server. When the search completes, a no printers were found message will appear. Click Next to bypass this message and move on to the screen that asks what port the printer is attached to.

Here, choose the Create a New Port option, as shown in Figure B.


Figure B: Choose the option to create a new port.

Note: the Create a New Port option contains a Port type drop down list. Choose the Standard TCP/IP Port option from this drop down list, and click Next.

At this point, Windows will launch the Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port Wizard. Click Next to bypass the wizard's Welcome screen and a new screen asks you to enter the printer's IP address. As you enter the printer's IP address, Windows will automatically assign a port, as shown in Figure C.


Figure C: Windows will automatically create a port name when you enter the printer's IP address.

Click Next, and a summary of the information you've entered will appear. As you can see from Figure D, Windows was able to automatically determine that the printer is using an HP Jet Direct port, and the server needs to communicate with the printer over port number 9100.


Figure D: Windows should be able to identify Jet Direct-based printers.

Click Finish and return to the Add Printer Wizard. You will then be asked to choose the type of printer that the queue will correspond to. Although Windows includes hundreds of printer drivers, you should click the Have Disk button and provide the updated driver you have downloaded from the printer manufacturer's Web site.

After selecting the printer type, you will be asked to assign a name to the printer and if you want it to be the default printer. I recommend that you give the printer a descriptive name. And since the goal is to just list the printer in the Active Directory, you do not want the server to use this queue as the default printer.

Once complete, click next and you'll see a screen that asks if you want to share the printer. Choose the Share Name option and enter the name that you want to assign to the share, as shown in Figure E.


Figure E: You must share the print queue you are creating.

More on network printer management

Learn how to create a network printer pool.

Visit our Microsoft Windows file and printer management topical resource center.

Again click Next and you'll be asked for the printer's location. The location you enter will also be entered directly into the Active Directory, so remember to be descriptive. There is also a comments field that you can use to enter more detailed information about the printer's location or its capabilities.

Once the printer's location has been defined, click next and you'll be prompted to print a test page. When the test page prints, click Next, and then Finish to complete the wizard. At this point, the Printers and Faxes window will display an icon that corresponds to the printer you have defined.

Finally, confirm the printer was listed in the Active Directory. To do so, right click on the printer's icon, and select the Properties command from the shortcut menu. You should see the printer's properties sheet. Once in the properties sheet's go to the Sharing tab, and check that the List in the Directory check box is selected, shown in Figure G.


Figure G: The printer should be listed in the Active Directory.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server, Exchange Server and IIS. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. He writes regularly for SearchWinComputing.com and other TechTarget sites.

This was first published in September 2007

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