Printers and Active Directory

Windows 2000 print servers are thoroughly integrated with Active Directory, making it possible for clients to easily find a suitable printer on the network.

How Printers Are Published

Printers are automatically published in Active Directory when you share them on the network, unless you clear the List In The Directory check box. You can control whether a printer is published by opening the printer's Properties dialog box and, in the Sharing tab, selecting or clearing the List In The Directory check box.

Printers are published to whatever domain controller the print server happens to find on its domain. The new printer objects (printQueue objects in Active Directory-speak) are then automatically propagated through Active Directory to the other domain controllers so that clients can find the printers regardless of which domain controller they're querying. The maximum propagation delay within a single site is about 30 minutes, but it's usually closer to 5 to 10 minutes.

When a print server updates the characteristics of its printers, Active Directory is automatically updated. If a print server goes offline, its printers are removed from Active Directory until it comes back online, at which point the print server republishes its printers.

Real World

Publishing All Printers in the Active Directory

Most enterprises won't have all their printers hosted by Windows 2000 print servers, yet ideally, all printers that are available to clients should be listed in Active Directory. For this to happen, you'll need to specifically publish printers that are not hosted by a Windows 2000 print server in Active Directory.

To do so, launch Active Directory Users and Computers from the Administrative Tools folder, right-click the domain, subnet, or organizational unit in which you want to publish the printer, and choose New Printer from the shortcut menu. Enter the path of the printer to be published in the UNC Path Of Downlevel Print Server To Be Published text box, and then click OK.

Using Active Directory to Find Printers

Active Directory makes it easy to search for printers to which you want to connect. To find a printer using Active Directory, point to Search on the Start menu and choose For Printers. Enter the name of the printer or its model in the Name and Model text boxes. Alternatively, click the Features tab to specify the particular features needed, or click the Advanced tab to fine-tune the search with a variety of values (Figure 8-18).

Figure 8-18. Possible features for designing a printer search.

If you're in a large organization, it might be difficult to identify a nearby printer without printer location tracking, discussed in the next section.

If printer location tracking is enabled, when the query form opens, the system determines the location of the computer from which the query is being run and fills in the Location box. Click Browse to change the location.

When location tracking is enabled, you can use the Group Policy snap-in (covered in Chapter 9) to define locations that don't depend on actual geographic locations.

Using Printer Location Tracking

Finding a printer in a large enterprise can be tricky. Active Directory provides a useful alternative to wandering the halls: printer location tracking. Printer location tracking uses Active Directory to store the printer location, allowing users to search for printers based on names, locations, and a long list of features (as described in the next section).

To use printer location tracking, you need to publish the printers in Active Directory with the Location field filled out. This makes it easy for users to find printers that are physically near them when searching Active Directory for a printer.

This section covers the requirements for using printer location tracking and explains how to enable this feature. (It is turned off by default.)

Meeting the Requirements for Printer Location Tracking

Printer location tracking requires a few conditions to work properly. These conditions are easy for most organizations to meet, but the network infrastructure of some companies will require modification. To use printer location tracking, the following conditions must be in place:

  • Active Directory must be installed on the network and must contain more than one site or more than one IP subnet.
  • The network must have an IP addressing scheme that matches the network's physical layout reasonably well.
  • The client computers must be able to query Active Directory. (They must support LDAP 2 or later.)
  • Each site should be on a separate subnet.
  • Each subnet that clients need to access should have its own subnet object in Active Directory.

For information on how to install Active Directory and create the appropriate subnets for the enterprise using Active Directory Sites and Services, see Chapter 12.

Printer location tracking isn't particularly useful until an enterprise is quite large. However, you should use a compatible naming convention so you can enable printer location tracking at some future time.

Enabling Printer Location Tracking

Once you've prepped the network, follow these steps to set up printer location tracking:

  1. Launch Active Directory Sites and Services from the Administrative Tools folder.
  2. In the Sites folder, right-click the first site and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
  3. Click the Location tab and enter the location name for the site, or click Browse to select the location from the location tree for the enterprise.
  4. Click OK and repeat steps 2 and 3 for each site and subnet on the network.
  5. Open the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click the domain for which you want to enable location tracking, choose Properties from the shortcut menu, and click the Group Policy tab.
  6. Select the policy to edit, and then click Edit to open the Group Policy snap-in.
  7. Open the Computer Configuration folder, open the Administrative Templates folder, and finally, open the Printers folders (Figure 8-19).

    Figure 8-19. The Group Policy snap-in.

  8. Double-click the Pre-Populate Printer Search Location Text policy, select Enabled, and click OK. Close the Group Policy window, and then close the domain's Properties dialog box. This automatically fills in the Location box for clients when searching Active Directory with the location of their subnet.
  9. Right-click the first printer in the print server's Printer folder, and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
  10. Fill in the Location text box, or click Browse to select the location from the location tree for the enterprise.

    You'll probably want to be more specific in the Location box for printers than simply providing the location of the subnet. For example, you might add a room number or name.

  11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 for all printers in Active Directory.
  12. Test the printer location tracking by searching for client machines to make sure that everything is configured properly.

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator's Companion
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrators Companion
ISBN: 0735617856
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 320 © 2008-2017.
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