Insert Printer Drivers to make any printer I choose Plug n Play

berserkerror08
berserkerror08 used Ask the Experts™
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My users are not administrators. I want them to be able to plug in any one of three printer models we have here without needing an admin to install. windows 7 has one of the drivers built in, so when they plug in that printer, it automatically installs in the background and the user never has to do anything.

how can i put those drivers into windows so it will do that for any printer i want?
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Top Expert 2012
Commented:
I can point you to one terrific in-house resource.  An Experts Exchange community member wrote a great article that can help you achieve that goal:

Automating Hardware Installation in Vista and Windows 7
Are these printers locally attached to systems (USB), or are they connected through a network server? Rember you may need both 64 and 32-bit drivers, depending on the client's OS.

If the printers are connected with a USB, then you should be able to install all drivers with a domain account, then any other users should have the drivers installed.

Network-based printers would be similar, but you would install the drivers on the server side.

Author

Commented:
re: bigmack. they are usb printers. i know i can instal them as another user, but i was hoping to be able to push these drivers with a script, so i wouldnt have to make changes to individual machines one at a time as we add printers or something.
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Berserkerror08, if that's the case you probably have a couple of different options.  If your environment is such that you can customized a new Windows image with all of the appropriate drivers pre-installed (as well as any other small improvements), that might be ideal.  If that isn't a viable option, the tech solution in Jmoody10's article would definitely work but would obviously require a healthy amount of up-front work.  Given a choice, I would probably lean towards the custom/sysprep Windows image rolled out to each client.  Then again, that wouldn't really allow for adding new printers the way that Jmoody10's solution would.  There are pros & cons in both scenarios.

Perhaps someone else within the community will chime in with a scripted solution.

Author

Commented:
I really like jmoody's solution, because then  (if I'm not mistaken) I could add new drivers anytime I needed to without first having to touch each machine. I tired what it says in his article.
 
I took a clean install of windows, plugged in each printer (three printers to be exact) one at a time. I watched the "File Repository" folder and watched each new folder be added. I copied the folder (the ones with the really unfriendly names) into another folder (with a friendly name) like HP P1102W and then moved those folders into a network share everyone has read/execute access to, so it looks some thing like "\\MYSERVER'SNAME\SHARED FOLDER\Central Driver Store\FRIENDLYNAME\UNFRIENDLYNAME\the driver files". then I deployed the registry key described in the article, type REG_DWORD, that looks something like that to the path specified.

The value is for the key is:

 %SystemRoot%\Inf;\\MYSERVER'SNAME\SHAREDFOLDER\Central Driver Store\

The data / expression is the same:

%SystemRoot%\Inf;\\MYSERVER'SNAME\SHAREDFOLDER\Central Driver Store\

I deployed the key to a test machine. I checked the classGUID and added them to the GPO.


The test machine was a clean copy of windows I added to the domain, logged in for the first time as a limited user. I watched my other settings get loaded on the machine (desktop icons, favorites, wallpaper, the regkey I specificed) but when I went to plug in a printer, it couldnt find the driver. Any idea where my mistake is?

Im going to copy this onto a comment of moody's article and see if he responds. Id love to implement this by monday, Hopefully someone can shed light on this for me this weekend.


Thanks!
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
Glad to help!

Let's see if we can't team up on some "troubleshooting 101" together.  Comparing your procedures to what Jmoody10 recommends, a few things stand out that might need closer scrutiny.

1.  First of all, I noticed one thing regarding your driver share.  You said that it was as follows:  %SystemRoot%\Inf;\\MYSERVER'SNAME\SHAREDFOLDER\Central Driver Store\.  In the past, I have seen some top-notch IT professionals have their efforts inadvertently sabotaged by having blank spaces within the names of their network shares.  Did you notice how in Jmoody10's example, it was a simply share name without any spaces?  He recommended something like this:  %SystemRoot%\Inf;\\DRIVERSERVER\Drivers.  When you have blank spaces in a share name and need to reference it somewhere else, you typically need to put the entire path of the network share within quotation marks.  As a result, over the years we have found it's much easier and makes for more graceful syntax to simply create share names without blank spaces.

2.  If that doesn't solve the problem, double-check both your NTFS permissions and your share permissions on the central driver store.  Remember that it's a standard Windows "best practice" to give everyone full control within the share permissions and then set the NTFS permissions to the proper level of access.  If you want to be thorough, make sure that both "Everyone" and "Authenticated Users" are granted permissions accordingly.

3.  Last but not least, when you first installed the drivers to manually extract their folders, did you receive the Windows security popup pertaining to trusted publishers?  If so, follow Jmoody10's instructions to make sure that whoever signed the driver is a trusted publisher on your machine.

Hopefully that helps out a bit.  Let me know how it goes!
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Also, please note that if you are using a 64-bit version of Windows 7 there can be a pre-existing DevicePath value in two places within the registry.  One of them will always be here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

...and in a 64-bit version, there will be another one here...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

While Jmoody10's instructions didn't specify, it would probably be prudent to modify both of them (after a proper backup, of course).
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
If the author doesn't respond, I think that Jmoody10's recommendation is still a viable solution for this scenario.  I would recommend splitting the solution between http:#36314256 and http:#36323423
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