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Can't share printers via UNC path in Windows 7

Posted on 2014-04-07
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Last Modified: 2014-05-04
Our small office network has a number of true networked printers, but also some which are Windows shared printers. We've always set these up on a local port using the UNC path to the printer as the port name. This enables us to re-name the printers as required; it also seems to be the only way the document spooler on our ERP software can use them.

This always worked fine when our office PCs were running Windows XP. However we've just completed upgrading / replacing them with Windows 7 in readiness for the end of XP support. When I try to install one of these printers on a W7 machine using the UNC path I get an 'Access Is Denied' error message.

I have file and printer sharing enabled, password protected sharing switched off, and full permissions granted to 'Everyone' in the printer security settings. What else do I need to do to get this to work?
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Question by:rodomahony
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Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39982979
Make sure the printers and all Pc's are in the same workgroup or domain. Check the IP scheme so they are use the same first three octets and the same dns.

Verify the printers can be pinged from all pc's.

Possibly add a rule in the Windows firewall to open the ports for accessing the printers. I had to do this last month when replacing an XP box with Win7 for a non-domain network.
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Expert Comment

by:Mahesh
ID: 39983012
Are you logged on Win7 machines with account that is member of local administrators group ?

Otherwise the error is expected

Also turn off windows firewall
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Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39983017
If you add a rule to open the appropriate ports for the printer in the firewall, you can keep the firewall turned on for protection.
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Author Comment

by:rodomahony
ID: 39983341
Hi,

Thanks for the suggestions. To answer the various questions / points:

1) All of the PCs are in the same Workgroup (called Workgroup); they're all set to pick up their IP address and DNS servers automatically, and all are in the same IP range (192.168.0.xxx).

2) With apologies for my ignorance, how do I ping the printers? I can ping the PCs they're connected to via either their IP address or network name, but as the printers aren't connected directly to the network I wasn't aware they could be pinged. if I try to do so by entering 'Ping [ComputerName\PrinterShareName]' I get an error message saying the Ping request can't find the host.

3) File and Printer Sharing is already set as an 'Allowed Program' in Windows Firewall. If I look at the Advanced settings for the firewall they show various ports opened inbound and outbound for file and printer sharing (see attachments for details. If I need to create an additional rule, can you advise what kind of rule and on what ports?

4) I'm not familiar with the term 'account that is member of local administrators group'. I probably should have explained that our network is Novell OES rather than Windows Server - although as the printer sharing isn't using any Novell functionality I wasn't sure how relevant that is. All our office PCs are set up with a single user account called 'Anyone', which is an Administrator account.
Firewall-Outbound.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39983357
Novell changes things. I migrated my last Novell client to Windows 10 years ago. Since the   Novell O/S is not supported any more, possibly it's time to migrate to Windows....  

If you have the printers shared on a Novell server, I'd move them to w Windows Pc that is not running the Novell client and share them there.
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Author Comment

by:rodomahony
ID: 39983449
Hi,

The windows aren't shared on the Novell server; they're attached to Windows PCs. All of the PCs have the Novell client installed, but the printer sharing isn't using Novell at all - it works (or at least did when the PCs were running Windows XP) regardless of whether the PCs are logged in to Novell, or even whether the Novell server is running. I only mentioned it because the mention of 'Local Administrators Group' by Mahesh seemed to refer to Windows Server and so just wanted to make it clear that we don't have one.

I have, though, just tried temprarily uninstalling the Novell client on one of the PCs with a shared printer attached, and it doesn't help - I can connect to the printer in the 'normal' way, but not by using a local port with the UNC path. This always worked without a problem under Windows XP, so my assumption is that it's something to do with changes in the way Windows 7 handles sharing  - I just can't figure out what.

P.S. Novell Netware hasn't been supported for a long time now, but we use Novell OES on SuSE Linux, which is supported.
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Accepted Solution

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rodomahony earned 0 total points
ID: 40029755
As increasingly seems to be the case on Experts Exchange these days, my question got a few initial responses, then when those didn't solve the problem the 'experts' lost interest and I got no more suggestions. This site used to be so much better!

For the benefit of anyone else out there with this problem, I eventually figured out the answer with some help from elsewhere, which is:
go to c:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers; right-click on the folder and select Properties, then Security; click to edit the permissions, then add a user called 'Everyone' and give that user full control of the folder. Problem solved.

Time to cancel my membership, I think.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rodomahony
ID: 40040176
"Please state your reason for accepting your own comment as the solution."

I think my comment above makes it fairly clear why I've accepted it as the solution.
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