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How do printers get into the Select A Printer list when adding a network printer in Windows 7?

Posted on 2010-08-16
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have a domain with 2 print servers.  One has 7 printers, the other about 20.  When computers try to add a network printer, immediately a list shows up saying "Select A Printer".  This list has about 15 random printers from the 2 print servers, but leaves out a few.  You can then click "the printer I want isn't listed" and then search the directory to find them, but what determines how a printer appears in this list?
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Question by:FlameMoth
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5 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:ICaldwell
ID: 33449282
It first searches your local network, this is all the computers/printers you can communicate without having to go through a router.... it also checks for Bluetooth printers if available.

The check runs very quick over the network and can miss printers if they don't respond quick enough, additionally printers maybe skipped if they require special drivers not already in Windows 7 to access the print server box....

One note is that this will print directly to the printer instead of using the domain print server.

Take for instance my work network, we have all our printers on a separate VLan from the Desktops, I see no network printers available although they are all accessible via the domain print server..

Hope this helps expand your knowledge.
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Author Comment

by:FlameMoth
ID: 33449690
Yeah I figured this would be a check for printers it could see on the network, but I noticed that all the printers that appear are in fact connecting to the print server, not direct.  I tested one out, and yes, it went through the print server.  And the funny thing is, one of our 2 print servers is across the VPN over 2 routers, and the printers still showed up, proving that it was looking in the Directory for the names.  But yet it still misses a few.
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 33450919
The only printers that will show up are *shared* printers. Those on the server obviously are; the direct (local) printers are usually not shared. When you install a printer, even on a server, the default is "not shared". You need to specifically enable sharing before you can see the printer from another PC.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:ICaldwell
ID: 33455127
Do these users have access to fully install the printer?  If the user does not have install rights for that driver or access to that printer it will not display in the box.  The box for network printers depends on how your network domain is setup.  Its not perfect, its just an attempt to show printers you have access to.

The default setup in this box is to scan the network for printers...  This is to allow home users to add network or bluetooth printers without having to use a domain.
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Accepted Solution

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ivanoviola earned 125 total points
ID: 33471153
There is a group policy that sets the number of printers shown which defaults to 20 printers.

gpedit.msc
Computer config
Admin templates
Printers
Add Printer Wizard - Network scan page (Managed Network)

Enable this and setup the types of printers you want to display.

There is also a group policy in there that allows you to remove the security prompt when downloding the driver for the printer. "Point and Print Restrictions"

Hope this helps.
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