Thursday 13 November 2008

SBS 2008 - Deploying Printers

Deploying printers in SBS 2003 was pretty sweet: Add the printer in the SBS Console, and the SBS setup script would take care of installing it on the client when the user logged in.

SBS 2008 does not use this feature anymore.

With SBS 2008, we need to deploy the printers via Group Policy. But, not too worry, it is actually not that painful at all with the new Windows Server 2008 print management capabilities.

Essentially, you setup your printer on SBS, then use the Print Management Console to deploy the printer via GP.

We create a Default Printer Deployment Policy object at the Computers OU level so that both workstations and servers would inherit the printer deployment. We deploy per-computer unless there is a need to deploy per-user.

For Windows Vista, the GP deployed printer shows up and is available as soon as the Vista workstation refreshes its Group Policy settings, or via a GPUpdate /force command in the Run box or Search box.

For Windows XP Professional, you will need to tweak that GPO:
  • Client computers running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 must use the PushPrinterConnections.exe tool in a startup script (for per-computer connections) or in a logon script (for per-user connections).
The above is from the SBS 2008 Help file.

A sample finished GPO:

Default Printer Deployment Policy

With printers being deployed in this manner, it becomes a lot simpler for larger clients to have printers assigned to specific departments via an OU and printer deployment GPO structure aligned along department lines. Sweet. Move a computer from one OU to another, and the printer setup available to the workstation should change with it.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


Anonymous said...

and how to set printer as deafult for some user? /Tommy

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


The final steps for us when configuring a new workstation is to set the default and then run a test page out of Word.

The above steps are completed while logged in as the user.

Thanks for the comment,


Anonymous said...

For printer deploying in SBS 2008 I recommend using scriptlogic's desktop management tool called desktop authority that is availlable from

This solution provides quite powerful abilities for managing all desktop configurations and environment from a central location saving system administrators worktime.

By the way, desktop authority was recommended by Microsoft as a solution for managing SBS 2008:

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


We tend to avoid third party at this point. The extra costs are not justified when it comes to knowing how to properly utilize the abilities of the existing OS and its management capabilities.

If we would do third party, we would be looking for a product that can do more than one focus for the entire Win2K8/Vista ecosystem.


Anonymous said...

Hi Philip

We are using Sbs 2008 and with a Terminal server windows 2008, and running printers thru GPO, is very nice , but couple of times in a week .the default printer drops back to XPS drivern, and then all user call what happen to my printer, what we need is to set the default printer in GPO. otherwise is time to go back login script any solution on this ?


Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


Make sure that the correct printer is set as default on the server itself.

If specific printers need to be assigned to certain users, then perhaps a GPO with a preference set to a specific printer and linked to a specific OU would work. Have an OU for each user group (or you could scope according to group membership too) that contains those users to apply the specific GPO.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Has anybody had any luck deploying printers with group policy preferences? I can get them to install but performances is sluggish (e.g. when you select printer properties and then the different tabs) and word sometimes fails to print with the error "The printer is not responding".

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


You should publish via Group Policy. Settings deployed via GP are fixed for the users.

GP Preferences are "suggestions" that the user can either keep, ignore, or delete depending on the GP Preference Setting.


Anonymous said...

GPO deployment is working great on Vista. Pushprinterconnections.exe for XP workstations with SP3 is not though. Googling I'm finding this may be a bug in SP3. SP2 workstations appear to be working fine using pushprinterconnections.exe.


Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


We have not had a problem with the utility for XP SP3.

So far, the only issues we have run into are printer driver related and the driver's compatibility with the new TS Gateway/TS Print setup.


Troy Cowin said...

Is there a way to filter which computers get which printers without having to split into different OU's.

I have the scenario of upstairs and downstairs. I'm thinking maybe two group policies, with WMI filters to a group containing upstairs and downstairs computers?

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


Two Security Groups, Upstairs and Downstairs with machines in each.

Create and link a GPO and set the scope of the GPO to the particular SG for deploying printers.