Printer Installer Implementation Guide - Windows Print Servers to Direct IP

Migrating from Windows Print Servers to Managed Direct IP Printing

Overview

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of what is necessary for you to implement Printer Installer in your computing environment.

The following items will need to be completed:

Step 1: Provision a Server

Step 2: Install Printer Installer

Step 3: Configure Printer Installer Settings

Step 4: Convert End User’s Existing Queue Based Printers to Centrally Managed Direct IP Printers

Each of the above steps are explained below.

Step 1: Provision a Server

A single server is required on which to install Printer Installer. This server may be either physical or virtual (i.e. a VM), and must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer. Specific requirements can be found here: /printer-installer/support/user-guide-14-1/system-requirements/ .

To complete step 1, the following items need to be completed:

  1. Provision Server: Provision hardware or a VM to host a Windows 2008 R2 or newer operating system.
  2. Install OS: Install Windows 2008 R2 or newer operating system.
  3. Join Domain: Join the server to the domain.
  4. Provision Secondary Server: If a failover server is desired, simply provision a second server and complete the above steps for the secondary server.
  5. Create Application DNS Record: Instead of connecting to the Printer Installer server by the FQDN of the server, it is recommended to create an alternate DNS record (either an A record (preferred) or a CNAME record) that points to the server. This is required for failover to a secondary server, and will usually make it easier to remember and type (e.g. using printers.domain.com instead of HQ-PISRV08R2.domain.com).

Step 2: Install Printer Installer

During this stage a PrinterLogic System Engineer will assist with the installation of Printer Installer via WebEx.  It is best if you connect to the WebEx session from a desktop machine and then remote to the server that will host Printer Installer.

To complete step 2, the following items will need to be completed with the assistance of a PrinterLogic system engineer:

  1. Install Printer Installer: Download the setup file and run it on the server. The setup utility will install the IIS role, any necessary IIS features, PHP, and MySQL.  If the server is not shared with any other web-based software, a Basic install will work. The default location for the Printer Installer website files is C:\inetpub\wwwroot, and the default location for MySQL and the Printer Installer database is C:\Program Files\MySQL. If the server already has IIS and is using the default website for another purpose, or if MySQL is already installed, then an Advanced install will be required. Options available in the Advanced install include the option to choose any existing IIS site or to manually specify the URL and physical path of the Printer Installer website, and to specify if MySQL is already installed and what database name to use.
  2. Add License File: A license file (named PrinterInstallerLicense.dat) will be provided by PrinterLogic. This file must be saved to the root folder of the website. The new license information will be detected and used immediately and automatically; there is no need to restart anything.

Step 3: Configure Printer Installer Settings

During this step, a PrinterLogic system engineer will review each setting in the three settings pages (General, Portal, and Client) and assist you in the configuration of the settings according to the desired setting behavior.

To complete step 3, the following items will need to be completed with the assistance of a PrinterLogic system engineer.

  1. Configure General Settings: General settings can be configured from within the Administrator by going to Tools -> Settings -> General. A list of each setting and an explanation of the setting can be found here.
  2. Configure Portal Settings: Portal settings can be configured from within the Administrator by going to Tools -> Settings -> Portal. A list of each setting and an explanation of the setting can be found here.
  3. Configure Client Settings: Client settings can be configured from within the Administrator by going to Tools -> Settings -> Client. A list of each setting and an explanation of the setting can be found here.

Once the above items are complete have PrinterLogic System Engineer review the following items with you and assist you in completing the items enough times so that you are comfortable with doing the rest of the task on your own. For example, the PrinterLogic team can assist with importing several printers into the product, allowing you to become familiar with the process so that you can import the remaining printers.

  1. Add Administrative Users: The Administrative Users page can be reached by clicking Tools -> Users. To add a local administrative user, click Add -> Printer Installer -> User. Specify a user name, password recovery email, and password. Then specify what roles the user needs. To add an AD user or group (after LDAP settings have been configured for the domain), click Add -> Active Directory -> Group / User. Specify the user or group and click Ok. Then specify what roles the user needs. More information on administrative roles can be found here:
  2. Create the tree structure: Create a tree structure that will help you organize printers according the physical location of the printers. This tree structure will also be used by end users as the browse the portal to quickly find and install printers. Most customers use a Country > State > City > Building or Site > Floor tree structure that provides for a logical grouping of printers according to site or floor.
  3. Import Printer Objects: In order to start managing printers through Printer Installer, the printers must be added to the Printer Installer database. When migrating from a Windows print server to a direct IP printing environment, printers can be automatically imported from the print server. To do this, log on to the Administrator site then click Tools -> Import / Export -> Import Microsoft printers into Printer Installer as Direct IP printers. The Microsoft Printer Importer utility will open. In the left window select the printers to be imported, and in the right window select the folder in the Printer Installer tree that the printers should be imported into. Click the green arrow between the two windows and the selected printers will be placed into the queue at the bottom for import. A dialog box will pop up asking if the queue should be started. Clicking Yes will begin processing of the queue.
    Note: The import utility requires local administrator access to the print server, so the computer running the import needs to be logged in as a user that has the appropriate permissions.
  4. Create New Printer Objects: Once all of your printers are imported it will be necessary to create new printer objects in the future to allow you to manage new physical printers. To create new printer objects simply right click on the folder you would like to create the printer in and select New -> TCP/IP Printer. During this step PrinterLogic staff will go through creating a few printers to help you become familiar with the process of creating a printer, uploading drivers, and creating profiles.
  5. Add maps to folders: Adding maps to folders makes it much easier for end-users to find printers. To add a map to a folder, select the folder and click on the Map tab. Click Upload Background Image and select the image to be used as the map (supported file formats include JPG, GIF, and PNG). Once a map is added, printers can be dragged and dropped onto the map. The PrinterLogic system engineer can assist in adding maps to help you become familiar with the steps enough to complete the remaining maps without assistance.
  6. Set Portal Security: To restrict access to who can install a printer, use portal security. Users who do not have access to a particular resource (printer or folder) will not see that resource on the Portal page. To configure portal security, select the resource and click on the Portal Security tab. By default the root node of the tree has the Everyone permission applied, and all objects inherit permissions from their parent node, so all users can see and install all printers. To restrict access, disable inheritance for the object and click Add. Specify the users, computers, groups, OUs, and IP address ranges that should have access to the object. Now when a user browses the Portal page, they will not see the object if they do not have permission for it.
  7. Create Deployment Assignments: Deployment assignments can be created that will cause printers to be installed on computers based on the computer’s IP address or hostname, the user’s AD account, or by AD group or OU membership.
    To learn more about deployment assignments click here.
  8. Train Users: With all of the settings configured and printers imported, you are ready for the next major step of converting the end user’s existing network printers to centrally managed direct IP printers. Before completing the next step, the end-users should be trained on how to use the Portal page for printer installation as the legacy method of browsing Active Directory or browsing to a print server and selecting a printer to install will no longer be supported. Ideally users will attempt to install printers via the Printer Installer Self-Service Portal before calling the help desk for assistance with installing a printer. A brief user guide can be found here.

Step 4: Convert End User’s Existing Queue Based Printers to Centrally Managed Direct IP Printers

To convert end user’s existing queue based printers to direct IP printers, you simply deploy the Printer Installer Client (PrinterInstallerClient.msi) to your workstations. When the client is first deployed to a computer it will perform a check-in with the Printer Installer Administrator. At this time all existing network printer objects on the computer that match a printer in the database (due to having been previously imported into the database from the print server) will be replaced by their direct IP printer equivalents. If one of the network printers to be converted is the default printer, that setting will carry over to its direct IP printer form.

To complete step 4, the following items will need to be completed:

  1. Deploy the Client: Deploy the client automatically to the computers on your network by using one of the supported methods: 1) msiexec.exe 2) Group Policy or 3) any 3rd party application you currently use for deploying msi installs. To learn more about each option click here.
  2. Eliminate Your Print Servers: Once you have deployed the client to the workstation and it has converted the network printers to direct IP printers, so now your users are printing directly to the printer and not through the print server, you are ready to eliminate the print server. Go ahead and pull the plug.

Summary

With the above steps completed, you have successfully implemented Printer Installer and converted your end-users’ network printers to centrally-managed direct IP printers, empowered your end-users to self-install printers with the provided self-service printer installation portal, and eliminated your print servers.