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Printer GPO via Location

Posted on 2013-01-31
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Last Modified: 2013-02-06
We currently have several locations around the globe and are looking to start automatic printer deployment using gpo.

We will try to limit the number of group policies through use of gpp and item level targeting of groups and apply the gpo's to sites.

The issue I'm coming up against is how best to manage traveling users.

If a user travels from one site to another site in the same or another domain (same forest) they will receive the printers for that site through the gpo applied to that site.

I want to have a user be able to travel to another site and automatically receive the closest printer. If I have several floors at a site there will be one default printer per floor which causes an issue if the user needs to choose from a list and they are not familiar with the office layout.

Looking for ideas and what others have done to solve the issue. (a solution as automated as possible, the less user action needed, the better)

We are a win2k8 r2 forest and focusing on win7 at a minimum.
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Question by:MHT-01
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7 Comments
 
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:pony10us
ID: 38841532
Actually there is a new feature in W7 just for that purpose:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Automatically-switch-default-printers-between-home-work-or-school

This appears to require some manual work the first time for each user though.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:ChanduNelluri
ID: 38842643
You can also try mapping printers based on client machine's IP subnet.

http://www.petri.co.il/forums/showthread.php?t=42694

-Chandu
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Author Comment

by:MHT-01
ID: 38843554
@pony10us
Thank for the link. I've looked into the win7 location aware printing in the past but believe this is only good to switch between already installed printers and only works when the machine is on a different forest (auto switch from work printer to home printer when machine sees a new forest) This won't help me narrow down printers for users traveling within the work network.
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Author Comment

by:MHT-01
ID: 38843610
@ChanduNelluriPosted

Thanks for the link. Using GPP in a gpo linked to the sites is the way I was planning to go. Is this bat file a better option?

I'm looking to be able to further define the default printer for users when traveling. If a user travels to a new site that has three floors (one default printer per floor) , what would be the best option for assigning the default printer for the floor the user is on instead of the user getting all three.

Also, in the gpo, what is the best option for the printer install, is it Create or Update? and do I need to include a Delete printer option to remove the previous default printer?

I have a feeling I may need to define subnets per floor at each location if I want to do what I'm looking to do. I know there is a lot I am going to have to do and looking for the best starting point to get the project rolling.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:pony10us
ID: 38843969
@MHT-01  I just looked into the Windows 7 option and you are correct.  It doesn't appear that it will work for you. However, while looking at that I came across this:

http://community.spiceworks.com/scripts/show/1183-set-default-printer-by-ip-address

Might work for you.
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Author Comment

by:MHT-01
ID: 38844084
@pony10us

Thanks, nice find, looks like a handy script to use in conjunction with site applied gp's.
I'm still in the whiteboard stage but his will be helpful.
I guess I now need to figure out a way to segment each floor at each location, maybe implement code into the script that is aware of which wireless AP or vlan the machine is talking with? any thoughts?
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LVL 26

Accepted Solution

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pony10us earned 2000 total points
ID: 38844128
One of the things that I did in the past was to subnet the network by floors using the third octect..

Ex:

Network:  10
Building:    1
Floor:         2
Device:       X

So if the last octect of a printer located on the second floor of the main office (1) it's address would be 10.1.2.15

All devices on the second floor of the main office would be 10.1.2.x
All devices on the third floor of branch 4 would be 10.4.3.x

I reserve the 10.x.0.x for all communication equipment, switches and routers.

I am sure there are other methods people use.
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