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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Tacoma, Washington, USA
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    How to Most Efficiently Share Network Printer?

    I have over a dozen new HP Laserjet printers to setup in the next couple of weeks. It's been over ten years since the last time we changed out printers. I'm sure there's a better way to do this by now.

    There's never more than four people assigned to each printer. The average is three. Right now most of our workstations are running Windows XP. We're holding out until late 2012 or 2013 to change workstations.

    When I first started here 18 years ago, all of our printers were directly connected to the nearest workstation via parallel cable and shared from that workstation on the network. That workstation would suffer performance issues if someone print a large job or if we assigned too many people on that printer.

    Eleven years back when we last changed out the printers, we switched to managing the printers on various servers via IP. In other words, we add the printer to a server via Standard TCP/IP Port, then share is on the network. Then the end user adds the printer shared from that server in order to print to the printer sitting next to them. We always had to be careful not to put too many printers on a server or the server would suffer performance issues.

    Surely there's a better way to do this by now. What are others doing under similar circumstances?

    Should I add the printers to each individual workstation via Standard TCP/IP Port and no longer share printers from servers or workstations?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    A cultural area in SW England
    Thanked 212 Times in 189 Posts
    Still with PCs on Windows XP, I have a PCnames file which among other things defines the location of the PC (which PC is used usually by a specific user) and by implication its primary shared printer. In the generalised Logon Script I identify the current user and assign mapped drives on the server, and use CON2PRT to assign the primary printer according to the user's PC location, plus the other three printers which they can use if they want (among which an A3 duplex colour printer and a high-capacity photocopier/laser printer). One could use RUNDLL32 with appropriate parameters rather than CON2PRT, but I find the latter more convenient.

    Basically we do what you do about connecting shared printers, except do it automatically! I moved from having two printers defined on each of our two servers to all four defined on an XP print server (because XP had better drivers for a couple of printers!) simply by changing four lines in the Logon Script!

    Mission: identify what we do best and find more ways of doing less of it better

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 1,125 Times in 1,048 Posts
    I see no reason to use more than one print server for dozens of printers. Single point management, single point for drivers - single point of failure too, but you have to weigh that one yourself. Printing even very large jobs uses minimal network bandwidth and some disk space, which is not an issue if the server does nothing else.

    Personally I'd use fewer, big printers / copiers as they are much cheaper to run and you get maintenance support from the manufacturer. Users soon get used to having to walk a little further if the result is better.

    cheers, Paul

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