All the printer sharing and management capabilities discussed in the previous sections are available on any Windows Server 2012 R2 computer in its default installation configuration.
However, installing the Print And Document Services role on the computer provides additional tools that are particularly useful to administrators involved with network printing on an enterprise scale.
When you install the Print And Document Services role by using Server Manager’s Add Roles And Features Wizard, a Select Role Services page appears, enabling you to select from the following options:
–Print Server Installs the Print Management console for Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which enables administrators to deploy, monitor, and manage printers throughout the enterprise
–Distributed Scan Server Enables the computer to receive documents from network-based scanners and forward them to the appropriate users
–Internet Printing Creates a website that enables users on the Internet to send print jobs to shared Windows printers
–LPD Service Enables UNIX clients running the line printer remote (LPR) program to send their print jobs to Windows printers
As always, Windows Server 2012 R2 adds a new icon to the Server Manager navigation pane when you install a role. The Print Services home page contains a filtered view of print-related event log entries, a status display for the role-related system services and role services, and performance counters.
The Print Management console, an administrative tool, consolidates the controls for the printing components throughout the enterprise into a single console. By using this tool, you can access the print queues and Properties sheets for all the network printers in the enterprise, deploy printers to client computers by using Group Policy, and create custom views that simplify the process of detecting print devices that need attention due to errors or depleted consumables.
Windows Server 2012 R2 installs the Print Management console when you add the Print And Document Services role to the computer. You can also install the console without the role by adding the Print And Document Services Tools feature, found under Remote Server Administration Tools, Role Administration Tools in the Add Roles And Features Wizard.
The following sections demonstrate some of the administration tasks you can perform by using the Print Management console.
Adding print servers
By default, the Print Management console displays only the local machine in its list of print servers. Each print server has four nodes beneath it, as shown in Figure 2-20, listing the drivers, forms, ports, and printers associated with that server.
FIGURE 2-20 A print server displayed in the Print Management console
To manage other print servers and their printers, you must add them to the console by using the following procedure.
1. In Server Manager, click Tools and then click Print Management to open the Print Management console.
2. Right-click the Print Servers node and, from the shortcut menu, click Add/Remove Servers to open the Add/Remove Servers dialog box.
3. In the Specify Print Server box, click Browse. The Select Print Server dialog box opens.
4. Select the print server you want to add to the console and click Select Server. The server you selected appears in the Add Server text box in the Add/Remove Servers dialog box.
5. Click Add To List. The server you selected appears in the Print Servers list.
6. Click OK. The server appears under the Print Servers node.
7. Close the Print Management console.
You can now manage the printers associated with the server you have added to the console.
One of the major difficulties for printing administrators on large enterprise networks is keeping track of dozens or hundreds of print devices, all in frequent use and all needing attention on a regular basis. Whether the maintenance required is a major repair, an ink or toner replenishment, or a paper tray refill, print devices will not get the attention they need until an administrator is aware of the problem.
The Print Management console provides multiple ways to view the printing components associated with the print servers on the network. To create views, the console takes the complete list of printers and applies various filters to it, selecting which printers to display.
Under the Custom Filters node, there are four default filters, as follows:
– All Printers Contains a list of all the printers hosted by all the print servers which have been added to the console
– All Drivers Contains a list of all the printer drivers installed on all the print servers which have been added to the console
– Printers Not Ready Contains a list of all printers that are not reporting a Ready status.
– Printers With Jobs Contains a list of all the printers that currently have jobs waiting in the print queue
Views such as Printer Not Ready are a useful way for administrators to identify printers that need attention without having to browse individual print servers or search through a long list of every printer on the network. In addition to these defaults, you can create your own custom filters.
Managing printers and print servers
After you have used filtered views to isolate the printers you want to examine, selecting a printer displays its status, the number of jobs currently in its print queue, and the name of the print server hosting it. If you right-click the filter in the left pane and select Show Extended View from the shortcut menu, an additional pane appears containing the contents of the selected printer’s queue. You can manipulate the queued jobs just as you would from the Print Queue window in the Print Server console.
The Print Management console also enables administrators to access the configuration interface for any printer or print server appearing in any of its displays. Right-clicking a printer or print server anywhere in the console interface and then selecting Properties from the shortcut menu displays the same Properties sheet you would see on the print server computer itself. Administrators can then configure printers and print servers without having to travel to the site of the print server or establish a Remote Desktop connection to the print server.
Deploying printers with Group Policy
Configuring a print client to access a shared printer is a simple matter of browsing the network or the AD DS tree and selecting the printer. However, when you have to configure hundreds or thousands of print clients, the task becomes more complicated. AD DS helps simplify the process of deploying printers to large numbers of clients.
Publishing printers in the AD DS database enables users and administrators to search for printers by name, location, or model (if you populate the Location and Model fields in the printer object). To create a printer object in the AD DS database, you can either select the List In The Directory check box while sharing the printer or right-click a printer in the Print Management console and, from the shortcut menu, select List In Directory.
use AD DS to deploy printers to clients, you must configure the appropriate policies in a Group Policy object (GPO). You can link a GPO to any domain, site, or organizational unit (OU) in the AD DS tree. When you configure a GPO to deploy a printer, all the users or computers in that domain, site, or OU will receive the printer connection by default when they log on.
To deploy printers with Group Policy, use the following procedure.
1. In the Print Management console, right-click a printer in the console’s scope pane and, from the shortcut menu, select Deploy With Group Policy. The Deploy With Group Policy dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 2-21.
FIGURE 2-21 The Deploy With Group Policy dialog box
2. Click Browse to open the Browse For A Group Policy Object dialog box.
3. Select the GPO you want to use to deploy the printer and click OK. The GPO you selected appears in the GPO Name field.
4. Select the appropriate check box to select whether to deploy the printer to the users associated with the GPO, the computers (or both) and click Add. The new printer GPO associations appear in the table.
Deploying the printer to the users means that all the users associated with the GPO will receive the printer connection no matter what computer they use to log on. Deploying the printer to the computers means that all the computers associated with the GPO will receive the printer connection no matter who logs on to them.
5. Click OK. A Print Management message box appears, informing you that the operation has succeeded.
6. Click OK and then click OK again to close the Deploy With Group Policy dialog box.
7. Close the Print Management console.
The next time the users running Windows Server 2008 or later and Windows Vista or later who are associated with the GPO refresh their policies or restart, they will receive the new settings and the printer will appear in the Devices and Printers control panel.