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Network audit of local printers

Posted on 2006-04-10
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I would like to audit the LAN for local printers that are attached to the computers. Does anyone know of an easy way to do this?
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Question by:fedsig
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by:hdhondt
ID: 16423189
There is no easy way to do this.

There is software that lets you find local printers, but I do not like to recommend it, and I think most network managers would agree with me. The reason why is that, in order to work, this kind of software effectively acts as a worm that installs itself on all the PCs on your network and reports back to a central PC with reports on all the printer drivers it finds. I really would not like to turn something like this loose on my network: once installed you have no control over it, and you have to hope everything works fine.

Another issue is that it will find drivers, regardless of whether there is an actual printer attached to it. So old, abandoned drivers will still be listed. And, if a printer has an internal network I/F, many PCs can connect to it as a "local" printer, so it will show up on multiple PCs.
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wyliecoyoteuk earned 2000 total points
ID: 16431841
I can recommend  Print Manager Plus from software shelf.
The local printer agent can be remotely installed, or uninstalled, you can remotely install or uninstall printer drivers, etc. using the print console module.
We sell it, it takes about 15 minutes to install, and reports on all printers and users on a server, or if you install the workstation clients, on the local printers, using an access, SQL express, or MS SQL database backend.
 there is a free 30 day trial.

http://www.softwareshelf.co.uk/default.asp

As for hdhondt's fears, there are far more invasive and insecure programs being used every day on networks- the most common security vulnerabiltiy is called "WindowsXP", but I can think of at least 20 others that my customers use on a regular basis, e.g.- VNC, remote desktop, Sage, Kaboodle, terminal server,  etc....
Not to mention Pcs with no login password, users as  local administrators.....
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by:hdhondt
ID: 16432134
Hi wylie

I certainly agree with your comment about XP! On the other hand, having to manually install Print Manager Plus on the PCs does not rank it high on the "easy" scale. Is that 15 minutes per PC, or per network?
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by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 16439894
The Print manager plus backendis installed only on the print server, 15 minutes includes extracting your domain user list and print driver data.
The local printer agents can be installed remotely, without the user even knowing, and they are polled by the server install.
Depending on your network, you can run it on access, MSDE, or MS SQL.
This a common way of doing things, but PMP seems to be the simplest, least invasive package I have come across so far, with the simplest licensing structure.
At the moment it comes with Printconsole free, which allows you to manage printer queues, install and uninstall print drivers remotely, etc. from one PC.
The price also includes 12 months email and telephone support.

There several versions, SOHO,Small business, Academic, Enterprise etc.

We use the 30-day free trial version to do print audits for customers, so that they can see exactly what their printing is costing.

We can then often justify replacing muiltiple inkjets, laserprinters, etc with a few  large, fast colour MFPs, based  simply on monthly volume consumable cost savings, and we bundle the software to monitor it all in the deal.

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