Employees in an organization would be required to use the printer for various purposes. Unless the employees have a printer installed locally on their system, they will be using one of the shared printers in the organization's Active Directory (AD) network. Hence, let's take a look at how you can deploy shared printers in the AD network to users or computers using group policy objects (GPO). The process of deploying printers to users or computers involves the following steps:
- Installing the printer service server role to a server machine
- Creating and linking GPO to domain
- Adding printers to the printer server
- Deploying printers using GPO
- If you are deploying the printer to a computer, ensure that the computer is running Windows 7 or higher.
- The server machine should be running Windows Server 32008 or higher in order to support deploying printers using GPO.
Installing the printer service server role to a server machine
Firstly, you would need to install the printer service server role in the server designated to be the printer server. Here's how you can do it:
- Launch Server Manager from the taskbar, or go to Start, and then click Server Manager.
- Click on Add roles and features.
- In the Add roles and features Wizard window that appears, click Next.
- Select Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.
- Click on Select server form server pool, and choose the server to which you want to add the printer service role. Then, click Next.
- In the list of server roles, click Print and document services.
- In the dialogue box that pops up, click Add features. Then, click Next once the dialogue box closes.
- Click Next in the Features section, and then again in the Printer and Document Services section.
- In the Role Services section, select Print Server. If you have a printer that has scanning functionalities, you can also select the Distributed Scan Server role. Then, click Next.
- Click Install in the Confirmation section. Once the role has been installed, click Close to close the installation wizard.
The printer services role would now have been installed on the selected server.
Creating and linking GPO to domain
Now that the printer server role is installed, you will have to create a GPO which will be used to deploy the printers. Here's how you can do it:
- In the Server Manager window, go to Tools, and select Group Policy Management.
- In the window that opens, navigate to the Group Policy Objects container. Right on the container and click New.
- Enter a name for the GPO in the dialogue box that appears, and click OK. The GPO would have been created.
- Now, navigate to the domain where you want the printers to be deployed, right-click on the domain, and click Link an Existing GPO.
- In the dialogue box that appears, select the GPO that was just created, and click OK. The GPO would be linked to the domain.
Adding printers to the printer server
The next step now is to add the printers to the server. Here's how you can do it:
- Return to the Server Manager dashboard. Then, go to Tools, and select Print Management. In the window that opens, you will be able to see a list of printers if any have been installed.
- To install a printer driver, navigate to the Drivers section, click Add Driver, and install the respective drivers of printers in the network.
Once the drivers have been installed, all your printers will appear in the Print Management section.
Deploying printers using GPO
Once the GPO has been created and linked to a domain and the printer drivers are installed and ready, it's time to deploy the printers to users and computers using the GPO. Here's how you can do it:
- Return to the Server Manager dashboard. Then, go to Tools, and select Print Management.
- In the list of printers, right-click on the one that you want to deploy, and click Deploy with Group Policy.
- In the window that pops up, under GPO name, click Browse and select the GPO that was just created, and then click OK.
- Now, in the Deploy with Group Policy window, you will be given two options under the Deploy this printer connection to the following section. Depending on the needs of your organization, you can either choose The users that this GPO applies to (per user), or The computers that this GPO applies to (per machine). Select the option as necessary, then click Add to add the specific printer.
- Once the printer has been added, click OK. Click OK again in the confirmation dialogue box.
- Click OK to close the Deploy with Group Policy window.
After this process is done, if you go to the Print Management window and check under the Deployed Printers section, you will be able to see the printer that you just deployed.
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