Friday, April 10, 2009

Windows Software Print Server

I had a client today that has around 40 windows PC’s on a workgroup network. One of these PC’s as a USB printer attached. However the USB controller on the mainboard died and none of the computers were able to print. I could of installed the printer on another PC and shared it out, however that would mean every PC would need to map the new printer. Instead I used a program called Brooks RPM Select LPD Print Manager to setup a software print server – very handy and comes with a free 21 day free trial. This allowed me to re-add the printer as a TCP/IP network printer on the computer with the failed USB and share it out with the same name without modifying any settings on any of the workstations. I only advise using this as a temporary solution to get users up and printing again.

Heres how to do this.

1. Install Brooks RPM Select LPD Print Manager on the new PC which has the printer physically connected.
2. In RPM, choose Create from the Queue menu.
3. Enter the name of the new queue you wish to add and click Create. The new queue will be created.
4. Highlight the queue and choose Settings from the Queue menu. Add the printer as a raw printing device to the new queue you made.

On the computer with the failed USB perform the following:

1. Perform a telnet test to verify your computer can connect to RPM. To do so, type the following at a command prompt (cmd.exe): telnet 515. Substitute the IP address or hostname of your RPM host where appropriate.
2. A successful connection shows a "connected to -address-," message indicating connectivity. After pressing Enter, the connection will close and show a "unknown LPD command" message. If the RPM log has this same message, your telnet test was successful.
3. In the Windows Printers folder, select Add Printer. Review the Add Printer Wizard's introduction page and click Next.
4. In the first step, choose Local printer attached to this computer, deselect Automatically detect and install my plug and play printer.
5. When prompted, select Create a new port, highlight Standard TCP/IP Port and click next. The Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port Wizard will begin. Click Next on the Introduction page.
6. Enter the RPM host's IP address in the Printer Name or IP Address field. Either accept the default Port Name or enter a new name and click Next.
7. Windows will attempt to configure the port using SNMP. Because RPM does not support SNMP, the wizard will tell you that additional port information is required. Choose Custom and click Settings.

8. Select the LPR protocol, enter the RPM queue name in the parameter. LPR byte counting is optional, but SNMP status should not be enabled. Click OK when finished. Click Next, then Finish to complete the Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port wizard.

9. Complete the Add Print Wizard by selecting the correct printer software. You might also use the Generic/Text Only print driver in certain situations.
10. Reshare the printer out with the same share name as before. All your workstations will continue printing as normal.

Remember this will only work for 21 days unless you purchase the software. However if you want to permantly move the printer, I would stay back one night and point all the pc’s to the new computer sharing out the printer. Remember this post is only refering to workgroups, for a domain you can use logon scripts etc to correct the printer mapping. You can even force all workstations to re-run the logonscript by using software such as PsTools. It is not every day you need to do a procedure like this - but its handy to know there is software out there that supports it.

1 comment:

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