I can’t print. Tales of tcpip printing with some RDP fun.

I can’t print. Tales of tcpip printing.

I have recently had calls about I cannot print. The first was a peer to peer I cannot print. I visit and I cannot ping the printer based on the printer tcpip port properties. Is the printer plugged in to the network? Yes for one and no for another.  What is the ip? How is the printer getting its ip? What is doing dhcp? So the first account had a router serving up ips starting at 1. They had about 10 workstations. Printer was hanging out at .5 with a static ip. Ip conflict with a workstation. I moved the printer up to .105 and all was good. Workstation that had that ip started working better. Next printer was an old Xerox which prints great when and if it can print. Once it was plugged in to the network and had a non-conflicting ip all should be good. I could open up the web interface. I actually got it to print out some pages.

I got a call about the troublesome old Xerox printer. I had spent a few hours trying to get it to behave last time I was there. For $150 you can get a brand new Brother network printer which for a low volume workgroup works fine. I had given up on that Xerox which was long discontinued with I assume no support. I had no luck with any driver I used. Well I had a bit of luck as it spit out a few pages but not consistently or with any useful words on the pages.

Next account. I can print sometimes but often not. What is the ip? I can ping but I cannot get to the web interface. Printer has a static ip. Who picked that ip? It certainly was not me. What is doing dhcp? I look at the dhcp table on the server and I see that ip is listed for remote access vpn use. So there is the conflict. We set the printer to a new ip up in the 200’s, at a tcpip printer port and printing is solved.

Next account. Another domain but this office has a bunch of satellite offices with workstations that are not domain members. It is an icky network but my hands are tied. 4 laptops can print to their local tcpip printer and they can print when they remote desktop to the application server. I start at the first laptop. It can print from notepad but that printer never shows up when I log on to the application server. Even when I am logged on as a local administrator and as a domain administrator. I disabled anti-virus. I tried moving from wireless to wired. I check that the remote desktop has printer redirected. I check the settings on another laptop and its remote desktop client looks slightly different. I install the rdp6.1 client from my usb thumb drive. Log in and now the printer is properly redirecting.

I go to the next laptop and install rdp6.1. Then I look at the local printer. There is no local printer. I could swear I had all the laptops set up with a local tcpip printer. Added a printer and all was well.

The other gotcha of course is that your application server has to have the correct driver installed for your local remote printer. On the application server you open up printers and faxes. Click on the word File and Server Properties. Choose the drivers tab and add drivers. If you do not have an exact match you will never print. If you review your event viewer logs you should see a message about printer not added for the remote session. That also gives you a good clue about what driver you need to dig up. This also works if you are trying to remote in to your XP workstation and you cannot print.

I like to set up my dhcp servers with an exclusion range that I use for printers. This reduces the chances of ip conflicts. If the customers would just call me when their printer company visits all would be good. I also like to turn off some of the informational logging in server properties so when I have an issue I can find it. With 20+ users on an application server you can have plenty of print logs of which most are useless for troubleshooting problems.

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