A. Windows Vista and Longhorn Server will provide printer publishing using native Group Policy. In the interim, Windows 2003 R2 allows printers to be pushed out via Group Policy and a small piece of client-side code that runs as part of the logon process. It looks at Group Policy and checks which printers it should add, then adds them. Your Active Directory (AD) needs to be running the Windows 2003 R2 schema changes that support printer deployment. To deploy printers, follow this process:

First, on the Windows 2003 R2 server, you need to add the Print Management Component:

  1. Start the "Add or Remove Programs" Control Panel applet (Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, "Add or Remove Windows Components," "Management and Monitoring Tools," then check the Print Management Component.
  2. Click Next and when prompted, point to the Windows 2003 R2 disk 2 location.
  3. Click Finish.

A new Print Management snap-in is now available in the Administrative Tools folder. To deploy a printer, perform these steps:

  1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Print Management snap-in (Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Print Management).
  2. Expand the Print Servers branch, then expand the print server hosting the printer and select Printers.
  3. Right-click the printer you want to deploy with Group Policy and select "Deploy with Group Policy."
  4. Click Browse to select the Group Policy Object (GPO) name to use.
  5. Click the "new" GPO icon (or select an existing GPO) and name it Deploy Printers. Click OK.
  6. Check either or both "The users that this GPO applies to (per user)" or "The computers that this GPO applies to (per machine)" and click Add.
  7. Click OK to the deploy dialog box.

Make sure the GPO you created (if you created one) is linked to a domain or OU to ensure that users and computers receive the pushed printer. When you open the GPO you'll notice a new Deployed Printers branch, which lists deployed printers in the GPO.

Currently the selected printer won't deploy because the client doesn't understand the Group Policy settings since they're new to R2 and not expected by older clients; you need to configure the PushPrinterConnections.exe utility (found in the %systemroot%\PMCSnap folder) to execute. To do so, perform these steps:

  1. Open the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Group Policy Object Editor and open the GPO you used for the printer deployment.
  2. If the printer is deployed to users, navigate to User Configuration, Windows Settings, Scripts (Logon/Logoff); if it's deployed to computers, navigate to Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Scripts (Startup/Shutdown).
  3. Right-click Startup or Logon, and click Properties.
  4. In the Logon Properties or Startup Properties dialog box, click Show Files. The location of the folder used at logon is shown in the Address field (e.g., \\savilltech.com\SysVol\savilltech.com\Policies\\{EAB0039E-A677-4C89-9CF2-053576CDA1FC\}\Machine\Scripts\Startup).
  5. Copy and paste the PushPrinterConnections.exe file from the c:\windows\PMCSnap folder to this location and close the window.
  6. In the Logon Properties or Startup Properties dialog box, click Add.
  7. Enter "PushPrinterConnections.exe" in the Script Name box (to enable logging, enter "–log" in the Script Parameters box). Log files are written to %windir%\Temp\PpcMachine.log (for per-computer connections) and %temp%\PpcUser.log (for per-user connections) on the computer on which the policy is applied).
  8. Click OK

For per-user deployed printers, you now need to log off, then log on; for per-machine printers, you need to restart the targeted computer.