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Looking for a direct IP Printer setup tool for Windows

Posted on 2012-03-15
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Last Modified: 2012-04-27
Most of the people in our organization use printservers.  We'd like to move away from those for a variety of reasons and move to desktops directly printing to printers on the network.

What I'm looking for is some tool/product that makes doing this easier.  We don't want to force users to download drivers from the Internet.  We'd like to not have them do anything too complicated.

The ideal solution would be something that uses some sort of query against a DB to lookup what's needed and does the rest of the work.  Ideally, the product would use their IP address and be able to query for what's close on the network (we have everything organized in subnets by building).  Another option would be for them to enter the printer name (which corresponds to our DNS entries) and go from there.

We want to reduces the # of printservers (which are hundreds) and also reduce network traffic.  Various other reasons.

So, we want something easy to use (most users aren't technical), relatively quick, that will do the setup for them for this direct from desktop to networked printer work.
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Question by:klamerus
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15 Comments
 
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Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37727551
The desktops are all Windows 7 (nearly all).

The printer models range to just about everything - although the company standard is Xerox, we have lots of HP, Lexmark, etc.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 37727865
Print servers with GPO pushing printers with group preferences provides for centralized control that setting up computer to print directly toa printer does not.

If you must, ther are  vbscripts on the net that deal with printer installs.
You could push the printers as part of the computer policy. Startup script.
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Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37730864
That won't work.

The end users need to decide which printers they get or not.  They're mobile.

We also do NOT want printservers.  That's the point.  We're a 50,000 + enterprise with hundreds of print servers.  We know the pluses and minuses.

The request remains the same.
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 37731794
A vbscript/powershell is your best bet.
There are several option via search for "powershell script to install printer"
Which you could use as a reference to create your own custom installer which presumably each user will run and the have the option to select the printer from a list of known defined printers stored I the database.
You would lose auditing if that is important.

Presumably the printers need only be available while on the network/LAN.
Are you thinking of a login script that will run on user logon while on the LAN to be prompted for the printer selection to be added?
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Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37761939
What I thinking of is a graphical program that users can run to find/add printers.

It should have search mechanisms to selec the printers they want either local or remote.  It would be ideal if the tool supported finding printers by what's local (based on their current IP address) or where they could select the site/building/etc and maybe even see a map of where the printers were and then just pick one.

Regardless of the means of selecting the printer the tool would then install the printer driver without intervenetion from drivers stored elsewhere on our network (at some central location).

This is not something we're going to have 50,000 plus users (mostly non-tecnical) run as scripts.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 37762079
Different printers are detected differently which is why there are Individual tools.
It is one thing locate all the printers available on a server
http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/powershell/powershell_printers.htm
The other are you looking for your app to scan the entire ip segment looking for printer devices?
How will the user know whic printer they should select?
If I were to deal with this issue I would explore whether there is a way to determine the location where the user is and then deploy server based printer in their proximate location.

Or have a script querying the user for the location....
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Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37762829
I'm not looking for a scanner.  We know what printers we have.  We have a DB of the printers, their models, IP addresses, locations and so on.

What we need is a tool for the desktop that can based on their desktip IP address know which are close (via querying to the DB).  Or alternatively, that they can put in other data to search for the printer they want to add.

The key is an application that can bring all that together via an easy-to-use GUI and then install the proper driver based on what they choose.

I think you're missing the point.  We're not engaged in a discovery exercise.  We're trying to give users something that is easier to do than what it usually takes to install printers for direct IP printing.  The second part here is the install of the driver.  We don't let people go "roaming" out to the wild internet.

Our users range from office workers to warehouse platform workers.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 37763120
You can then use a vbscript that maps the printers on the computer level as part of a startup script.
it determines the local IP and then handles the addition of the printers by querying the database.
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Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37783820
I'm not sure what the insistence is on creating some sort of custom script when we're clearly looking for a program.

Maps what printers?  Everyone of our 10,000 printers in our company?  For every user (mobile or not).

We're looking for a tool.  If there isn't one, then there isn't.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 37783852
A vbscript is a program the issue is in what language it is written I.e. compiled or text based.e. vbscript, powershell.
How do you envision this program being run? Manually by the user or is the user as part of their logon execute this program that will prompt the user Todd printers if a check that the user already has the correct printers for this location?

Most of the time in large environment the user is provided a reference on the printer that to add this printer run \\someserver\someshare\mapprinter1.vbs
You are asking for a rather customized application for a specific environment with even more specific requirements.

What programming language are you familiar with or have access to?
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Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37784574
I've already explained.

What I anticipate is a GUI program that is drop-dead easy that a user will run when they wish to add a printer to their desktop.  We want a purchased product.

This program will leverage inteligence of where they are based on location (ip address) to offer printers close via a picture (maybe).  Alternatively they could enter other building locations or drill down to them by country/state/city/site/building/etc.  Eventually showing them a short list of printers they can pick.  In total we'd like several ways for them to identify which printer to ad.  it would worke from a central DB of printers with this data.

Having identified it by clicking on it, the program would then download and install (from an internal site) the printer drivers required only further asking them what they would like to name this printer locally.

All this would relieve them of having to do any of the technical stuff behind this, but result in a local printer definition set up for directly printing to this printer.
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Accepted Solution

by:
arnold earned 500 total points
ID: 37784619
I've not looked nor seen such a product offering.

You should request attention and have additional programming zones  added to this question since your question is more towards an application to be created versus solely windows or printers.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:klamerus
ID: 37798658
I'm not looking for an application to be created and expected that someone in this community would have visibility of such a tool (no other area would).
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 37798802
I suggest you try. Unless you ask you would not find out whether someone else had such a requirement and may have such an app, tool available.

Good luck on your search.
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