Network printing with Thinstation 2.2.1

Posted on 2009-04-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
I am trying to setup my thinstation so it can print to a network printer. The thinstation connects to a remote terminal server but it can't see any of my network printers in my office. Does anyone know how to setup the thinstation configuration file so it can print to a network printer? Let's assume the printer is a HP LaserJet 4 with network IP - what should the configuration file look like?
Question by:lineonecorp
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    You mean a printer attached to the Thinstation itself?

    If it is just a network printer, add it to the remote machine.

    Author Comment

    There are a variety of situations.

    printer attached directly to computer via USB

    printer attached directly to computer via parallel

    networked printer   e.g. printer has a network interface

    printer attached via USB to a computer that is the 'print server' e.g. Windows shared printing

    printer attached via parallel to a computer that is the 'print server' e.g. Windows shared printing
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    If you are using Terminal Services, the printers are configured on the Terminal Server session.  Now if you want to know how to make a printer attached to your thinstation thin client a network printer, that's a different story (but very easy).  I'll provide an example of that below.

    # PRINTER_0_TYPE     P for parallel, S for serial, U for USB printer
    # PRINTER_0_OPTIONS  Serial port options.
    # PRINTER_1_*        See PRINTER_0_*
    # PRINTER_2_*        See PRINTER_0_*
    # PRINTER_3_*        See PRINTER_0_*


    #PRINTER_1_OPTIONS="speed 38400 -imaxbel"



    Then on the Windows Terminal Server, add a 'local printer' type tcpip pointed at the IP address of your thinstation device.  It will appear as a jetdirect device (on port 9100).

    In any of these cases, you need to set the printer up on the Terminal Server and have it shared.  You then address it in the Terminal Services client configuration, not on the thin client.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    The configuration options I posted above go into your thinstation.conf file for that specific host.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info.

    A couple of notes.

    The remote sites are DHCP - no static IP involved.  There are dozens of sites and the cost of adding static IP to all of them would be a monthly recurring cost that is not in the budget.  So how do I get around the fact of no static IP at the remote site?

    What if the local printer is a stand-alone networked printer e.g. has a network adapter and is not connected to a particular but just to the switch?

    What if there is only one non-networked printers at the site and it is is attached to a computer either parallel or USB and shared out through local Windows print sharing to the other computers?

    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    You should really be doing this over a VPN.  It's an insane idea to think this will work any other way.  

    You make know mention of multiple sites/locations in your original question.  This is really way more complicated than the question you've asked.  We would need much more input from you to properly answer those questions.  

    Once you have a VPN in place, you can print to a network printer properly.  If you're using terminal services, your printed work will need to travel over the internet back to the printer in question (from the server).  

    I'd suggest asking a new question for the VPN connection.  Provide as much information as possible or you won't get a clear answer.  

    Author Comment

    I don't think 'insane' is appropriate.  How about, 'it's not feasible' or 'it's not practical',  'not technically possible'.  If I knew that it wouldn't work I wouldn't ask the question.  

    As far as I know from previous questions I've posted here and other threads I've followed,  it is not uncommon  that information comes out in the course of dealing with a question. Some times people do not provide all the information that an Expert thinks is relevant so the Experts solicits more information.  If you're telling me that I didn't ask the question perfectly the first time around that may be correct but I think you have all the information now that you need to answer the question as far as I can tell.  If not I will provide further information.  

    Just in case it's not clear I will re-summarize.

    I have multiple sites connected to a central series of Terminal Servers - the sites are behind routers with dynamic IP's. Right now the computers at all the sites are running Windows and all printing is taking place through Windows - Windows handles  all the printing options.  However for various reasons the desire is to replace Windows with Thinstation or a product like Thinstation e.g. CD-based Terminal Services client.

    At the sites there are a variety of printing situations as follows.

    a)printer attached directly to computer via USB

    b)printer attached directly to computer via parallel

    c) networked printer   e.g. printer has a network interface

    d) printer attached via USB to a computer that is the 'print server' e.g. Windows shared printing

    e)printer attached via parallel to a computer that is the 'print server' e.g. Windows shared printing

    Any one site can have any combination of the configurations above e.g. site 1 may have all of the configurations above e.g. 5 printers all set up different, site 2 might have only configuration (a)

    Can thinstation be used so that regardless of what combination of printing configurations there are at a local site printing can take place through Terminal Services?

    Can you tell me definitively that Thinstation can't  handle  this task the way Windows is handling it now?

    As far as the VPN goes, I know of it but that would require VPN configurations - hardware/software - and that is not in the budget.

    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    The printing always originates from the Terminal Server side.

    As long as the Windows Terminal Server can "see" the printer, it can print to it.

    In the case of networked shared printers, it should just work (cases C, D, and E)

    In the case of directly attached printers, the RDP protocol  (Which is what Window Terminal Server and rdesktop uses) will report printer information to the terminal server and make the local printer appear as if it were attched to the Terminal Server.  You can see this in the event log on the Terminal Server.

    Rdesktop version 5 (released July 2008) supports this printer redirect function, I have never used it and don't know what version Rdesktop is in Thinstation.  

    Alternatively, you may be able to configure the Thinstation code to make the local printers appear as network shared printers (either through SAMBA/CIFS or LPR) and then install them on the terminal server, but it won't be as easy as native support through RDP with a Windows box.


    Author Comment


    Just to clarify all the printers I am talking about are not on the LAN; they are at a remote site with an Internet connection.  Do your answers still apply? Do they apply in the case of many different type of printer types at a single site e.g. 5 printers at one site - some connected parallel, some USB, some 'networked' printers - can all of them be handled at the same time?

    rdesktop - I'm not sure how it's related to Thinstation. Is it the RDP client in Thinstation? Or are you talking about a different product altogether?

    Is there another Linux based package that might handle this kind of printer issue other than Thinstation?  Perhaps an open-source package like 'screwdrivers' from Triceat ( which  basically creates a universal print driver.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Quick review:

    When you use Windows Remote Desktop Connection, it takes ALL of your locally defned printers and tells the Windows Terminal Server Device about them, so the WTS machine shows all of your local printers in the session.  This was a feature added in the Windows 2000 time frame.

    In LINUX, rdesktop is the equivalent program.  Only the most recent versions (as noted earlier) provide printer redirection.  It is not clear to me what version of rdesktop is in Thinstation.

    Since printing is fundamentally different in Linux, there are lots of gotchas.  A "local printer" means something different in Linux than it does in Windows.

    All that said, I have never done it and you will need to experiment.  Printing will not be as simple as it is with native Windows.

    Theoretically, it will work.  How much time are you willing to trade for your dollar savings?
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Thinstation has the ability to turn a locally connected printer appear as if it were connected with a JetDirect box.  The Thinstation computer would be configured with one of the examples that I posted above.  There is nearly no way to do this securely without doing a VPN, especially because of the various levels of NAT.

    I do not believe it is easily possible for you to do what you want to do with Thinstation alone.  You may be able to set up one VPN server back at the main office with the Terminal Server and having each thin client connecting as a vpn client to the vpn server back at the main office.  I believe Thinstation supports OpenVPN, but I have not personally set that up.  This becomes very easy if you add the VPN.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Maximize Your Threat Intelligence Reporting

    Reporting is one of the most important and least talked about aspects of a world-class threat intelligence program. Here’s how to do it right.

    Suggested Solutions

    Welcome to my series of short tips on migrations. Whilst based on Microsoft migrations the same principles can be applied to any type of migration. My first tip is around source server preparation. No migration is an easy migration, there is a…
    The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how we can use conditional statements using Python.
    Learn how to find files with the shell using the find and locate commands. Use locate to find a needle in a haystack.: With locate, check if the file still exists.: Use find to get the actual location of the file.:
    Learn how to navigate the file tree with the shell. Use pwd to print the current working directory: Use ls to list a directory's contents: Use cd to change to a new directory: Use wildcards instead of typing out long directory names: Use ../ to move…

    759 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    10 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now