Enabling Printer Location Tracking

Adding printers can be cumbersome for non-tech savvy users. Fortunately, you can use the Printer Location Tracking feature to make this process easier for them. When you enable PLT, only printers in the users’ own location will be listed in the Add Printer Wizard by default, when they try to add a network printer.

For Printer Location Tracking to work, you need to enable the Group Policy setting related to PLT. You also need to have a subnet scheme, which corresponds to the physical layout of your organization’s network. In addition, you need to define subnet objects in Active Directory Sites and Services, and you need to set the location field of both subnet objects in AD Sites and Services and the printers on the print servers.

 

1. Enable GPO setting

1.1 The GPO setting you need to enable is called Pre-populate printer search location text, and is found at

Computer Configuration→ Policies → Administrative Templates → Printers

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1.2 Once the setting has been enabled, you must link that GPO to the OU where your client machines are located.

 

2. Set location of printers

 

2.1 On your print server, start Print Management, and browse to the Printers of your Print Server
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2.2 Open the properties sheet of your printers, and set the Location field accordingly
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2.3 Make sure that the shared printers on the Print Server are published in Active Directory
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3. Set location of Subnet objects

 

3.1 Open Active Directory Sites and Services, then click the Subnets folder
3.2 As you can see, I have three different subnets, located at three different sites. But their Location field has yet not been populated.
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3.3 Open the Properties sheet of a subnet object, and then populate the Location field on the Location tab.
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3.4 Repeat the procedure for all of your subnet objects.
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4. User’s point of view

 

4.1 On a Windows 7 client machine, click Add a printer in the Devices and Printers folder
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4.2 Then click Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer
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4.3 All the printers in your location/subnet will be listed
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This client machine belongs to the 192.168.0.0/24 subnet, so all printers from that subnet has been listed
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4.4 If you want to add printers from another location/subnet, then click on The Printer that I want isn’t listed
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4.5 Now choose Find a printer in the directory, based on location or feature, then click Next
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4.6 You will notice that at first the printers from your own location will be listed. But now you can add more columns to view the different features and settings of the printers
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4.7 Click View → Choose Columns, to add or remove columns
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4.8 If you want to add printers from another location, click Browse
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4.9 And you will be able to add printers from any location you have defined on your subnet objects
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Additional Resources
Technet: Enabling Printer Location Tracking

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