Mapping printers using a NetBIOS alias
Posted on 2006-05-24
I am configuring the majority of my network printers on a server called FILESRV01. I have given this server the NetBIOS alias PRINTER, and I want all users to map their printers using the alias, so that if I ever change the name of this server or move the printers to another server, no desktop reconfiguration will be required.
I have published the printers in Active Directory using the PRINTER alias, and the printer objects in AD are named according to the alias. However, when I search for a printer using the "Find printer in the directory" option in the Add Printer Wizard, the printers listed are identified as being on FILESRV01 rather than PRINTER, and if I select one of these printers, it is mapped locally as "<printer name> on FILESRV01.
For example, I have a printer called LaserJet05, and when I published it in AD, I used the UNC "\\PRINTER\LaserJet05". The printer object was automatically named "printer-LaserJet05". However, when I add a printer on a client computer using the Add Printer Wizard's "Find printer in the directory" option, the server name for LaserJet05 shows up as FILESRV01, and if I select it, I get a network printer in my profile called "LaserJet05 on FILESRV01". I want to have the printer mapped as "LaserJet05 on PRINTER", so that if the alias PRINTER is moved to another server, or FILESRV01 is renamed at some point in the future, the users' mappings to the printer will not need to be changed.
To make sure that there is no confusion regarding what the issue is, I'd like to clarify:
- I have disabled strict name checking in the registry on FILESRV01
- I have verified that it is possible to explicitly map a printer using the PRINTER alias – if I select the "Connect to this printer" option in the Add Printer Wizard and provide the UNC "\\PRINTER\LaserJet05", then I get a network printer called "LaserJet05 on PRINTER".
- Printers mapped using the alias PRINTER rather than the primary name FILESRV01 work fine, and I have verified that if the PRINTER alias is moved to a different server that has a printer with the same name and same driver, the change is seamless to users that have the printer mapped using the alias.
The problem is not with getting printers mapped using the alias to work, the problem is that I want users to be able to use a directory search to find printers, and have the printers mapped using the alias rather than the print server's primary name, but despite the fact that I published them in AD using the alias, and the AD object was automatically named using the alias, directory searches find the server's primary name instead.