Printers are the bain of every IT administrator’s existence. Every manufacturer is different, there are a million and a half methods for managing them, users install them in ways that not even you knew were possible, the list goes on.
But let’s say that you have a computer that’s shared among many users throughout a shift across multiple shifts. That very computer has several different printers installed via various methods. One is installed by IP address, the other is installed via USB. Whatever your scenario, you have different configurations to serve your need. Hell, you may even have the same printer installed twice, but with different names and different configurations so that they behave as two seperate printers.
Bizarre situations like this always present themselves. But for this particular case, it would be much easier to install a printer once, configure all of those custom settings, and have those same settings apply to any user who logs in.
Configure all of your printer settings
When you’re ready (of if you already have your printer configured, skip this). Go ahead and get all of your settings just the way you need them. This process works on a few different models (that I’ve personally verified) such as Zebra GX430t & Lexmark C4150. Get your settings just right such as your magins, custom printer sizes, ink density, install the same printer several times with different names, whatever.
Make those custom settings the default
Now that you have things just the way that you want them, it’s time to make those available for all users that log into that computer. This works across local and domain user accounts also.
Open your devices and printers management. Open Start, and search for Devices and Printers. Or, open start, scroll to Windows System > Control Panel (be sure view is in Category view) > and under Hardware and Sound, click View Devices and Printers.
Right click on your printer, and chose Printer Properties.
Navigate to the Advanced tab, and click Printing Defaults. You’ll notice here that the settings will likely differ from what you set above. Just simple re-apply your custom settings in these screens.
Once you’re all done making your changes, click OK then OK again. Repeat this process for all printers that you need to have available for everyone with the same settings. When you’re finally all finished, logoff of the computer and log in as someone brand new, or create a test account. Just as long as it’s an account that’s never logged in so you can be sure that your printer settings are applying to all users.
If you have to replace a printer (even if it’s the same model)
If you have to replace a printer, even if it’s the same model, you’ll need to do this all over again. Windows treats these as new printers due to having different serial numbers.
What about Group Policy’s or Print Servers?
I agree. Why stand at the computer physically, set these up, just to have to do it again? Well, there’s always a special case where neither of these options are a good fit. Where one station may have to get the same exact printer each time. If networked and shared from a print server, if that printer ever needed to be replaced, it would have to be re-IP’d and reinstalled on the print server anyway. Not to mention the need to create a policy for each individual workstation (in this very specific example). Anyways, whatever your reason, here it is. Took me two days to remember this stupid method 😛