I have a printer on my Windows 2008 Print Server that despite many attemps and approaching the situation from different ways, I cannot get the preferences that I set on the Print Server to be shared with the rest of the clients. It is possible that this is a 64-bit/32-bit issue since my server is 64 bit and my clients are Windows 7 32 bit. We also had to use the Vista driver since there is not a suitable Server 2008/Win 7 Driver. (The printer in question is a HP DesignJet 1050C ) So after trying to set the preferences from a Win 7 station and that not taking, I figured I would have to find the actual preferences and somehow deploy those. Surprisingly, there is not a lot of information about location of print preferences, manually replicating print preferences, or otherwise copying/deploying these print preferences. Here is how I ended up accomplishing this:
This was the big aha moment, it is all stored in the registry and the preferences are all stored in a single binary value. I had found some articles pointing to this location in the registry, but none of them explained the importance of the DevMode binary value. Source: http://blog.case.edu/djc6/2005/03/16/default_printer_preferences_for_all_users
1) Create and Export Registry Key: So on one of the client computers, I set all of the printing preferences settings then proceeded to export the key. (Important Note: in the key there is a server value that you will want to inspect. Make sure that if you are going to map this through a FQDN then your server name will need to match here.) This file will need to be copied to a location that everyone that will map this printer and need its settings, has access to. (Sysvol on the domain is a potential good place as everyone has access to it, in my case I have a share on one of my file servers that has other reg files that I deploy so I chose this location.)
2) Create Group Policy: I created a group policy that basically would copy the .reg to a folder on the client, copy a .bat file that I created to the windows start menu, and create a folder for the preceding file to reside in. This is deployed in the computer configuration so that the files will be copied to the computer before a user logs in.
For the group policy:
– Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Files (.reg file that will be copied to the folder below. Example: printer.reg)
– Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings ->Folders (This one will create the folder for your .reg File Example: c:\printprefs)
– Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Files (.bat file (Example printpref.bat)created in same directory as .reg file copied to start menu: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\ )
*** The .bat file would have the following line in it based on the examples above:
reg import c:\printprefs\printer.reg
3) Test: You should be able to restart a computer with this policy and see a folder created, with a .reg file in it. If you look in the start menu under startup, there should be a .bat file in there that calls the reg file. You should be able to look at your printers preferences and everything that you set should be not set on the new client.
There is likely more elegant ways to do this, like build the registry key and values through group policy. But I think that this is more managable as I just have to update one .reg file if the preferences need to change and it is automatically updated on all computers with that group policy without having to modify the group policy. This is also NOT the standard way to deploy preferences. You should just be able to jump on the print server open the printer properties, go to the advanced tab, and set the printing defaults. However when that fails like in my case, the above works….
Keywords (these are all of the things I tried googling to come up with this and found very few results….):
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