When using print servers, mapping network printers is something that just comes with the territory. But as any network admin can tell you, it's not an easy process, regardless of whether you're a technophobic end user who's new to the company or a seasoned expert in printer management. In any traditional print-server-based environment, you're bound to encounter regular issues with printers not mapping to specific users for reasons that aren't always clear at first. These frustrating situations often require extensive fact-finding and appeals to other IT experts for advice and assistance in online forums.
Printer mapping with GPOs
Many admins prefer to use group policy objects (GPOs) when mapping network printers. Actually, that might be overstating things. It would probably be more accurate to say that admins prefer GPOs among the few practical options available to them when mapping network printers.
Printer mapping with GPOs allows some degree of rule-based automation, which means that users who belong to a specific organizational unit or pool will automatically be able to print to certain printers when they log in. In practice, however, the strict hierarchical nature of GPOs and their huge chain of contingencies creates all sorts of deployment and printer management problems. One obscure driver or security setting can result in printers not mapping—and irate end users as a consequence.
Printer mapping with scripts
As an alternative or supplement to printer mapping with GPOs, some admins turn to scripts. Because they can be custom coded and strategically deployed to account for different workplace-specific variables, printer mapping with scripts is sometimes a more finely tuned deployment solution.
The overarching problem to printer mapping with scripts is that they run during the logon process. This prolongs logon times (sometimes significantly) and can be both the cause and victim of other software conflicts. Furthermore, if any of the primary variables change, such as the default printer, then then script has to be rewritten and redeployed prior to users before logging on. Should the script fail, then the printer won't map properly.
Printer mapping with PrinterLogic
PrinterLogic solves problems with printers not mapping while also eliminating the need for GPOs and scripts completely. Our enterprise print management solution leverages a unique combination of proven direct IP printing and powerful centralized printer management, allowing you to deploy printers as well as drivers with confidence and precision to individual users or entire user pools.
With PrinterLogic, mapping network printers is effortless for both the end user and the admin. From the admin side, you can integrate our next-generation solution with Active Directory to dynamically deliver printers according to criteria like users, groups, containers, OUs, hostnames, mac address, IP address ranges or an advanced deployment option that uses a combination of the deployment methods. Selecting a permanent or one-time default printer or default printer options is as easy as ticking a checkbox in our intuitive management console. That beats any form of printer mapping via GPOs or scripts.
And from the user side of things, PrinterLogic's self-service installation portal makes mapping network printers a breeze. Instead of hunting through arcane network directories and guessing at long strings of printer names, end users can easily identify and install nearby printers with a single click.
Better still, PrinterLogic brings the same revolutionary ease of printer management that it does to printer mapping, providing your organization with a cost-effective way to eliminate your print servers entirely and drastically reduce the time spent on print management. Try a full-featured demo of PrinterLogic free for 30 days and see how it takes the madness out of mapping.
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Product Manager, Chris spent more than four years as a Technical Product Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Sales Engineer—working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. He has a B.S. degree in Information Technology and loves learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.