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My company has about 60 employees all running Windows Vista or 7 and a gigantic Minolta printer hooked up to an EFI Fiery Image Processor. We're burning about $300 a month in printer supplies alone. I'm trying to find a way to cause the printer to default to grayscale in order to save money. So far I've tried:

  • Changing settings on the image processor
  • Changing settings on the print server
  • Looking through the Group Policy editor to see if I can find anything useful
  • Creating a new printer on the print server and setting it to be grayscale only
  • Adding the printer to my computer directly (through a TCP/IP port) and setting it to be greyscale only

Has anybody successfully done this before? If so, how was it gone about? I don't expect anybody to know the specifics of my environment, I just not sure what the right direction is.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am using Window Server 2003R2 as a print server. Configuring these printing defaults will only work for users that print via the print server -- direct printing will not be affected. The defaults will not force the users to print BW, color can still be selected, it will only default to BW.

  • Open the printer's properties on the server.
  • Select the 'Advanced' tab.
  • Click the 'Printing Defaults' button.
  • Configure driver options as desired for defaults.
  • Click 'OK' on the Printing Defaults window.
  • Click 'OK' on the printer's properties window.

alt text

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May not work. We've set defaults before and had mixed results. They get mysteriously reset, other times they just don't "take". We don't know if there are settings that are changed by other users and they stick or if it's a quirk with drivers. – Bart Silverstrim May 19 '10 at 20:32
@Bart I guess I've just had really good luck so far... knocks on wood ...Our server provides ~200 HP Laserjets [Color and BW], a few dozen Canon ImageRunners and a some other random makes. We grant our users "Manage Documents" but not "Manager Printer" rights on the individual printer shares. – jscott May 19 '10 at 21:29
I'm trying this one out right now. – Chris May 20 '10 at 12:58
I wound up setting the default like you showed. I instructed users to click Properties > Color if they need to print a document in color. Quick testing shows me that they would have to click that every time they click print. That makes it mildly inconvenient to print in color without being too hard. – Chris May 20 '10 at 15:42
@Chris Yes, that is the expected behavior, glad it worked for you. Some applications will "remember" that the user selected print-in-color until the application is closed. New launches of the same application should revert to the default of BW. – jscott May 20 '10 at 15:56

The key may be to configure the permissions on the printer object to deny users the ability to manage the printer. Then set the defaults the way you need and see if it works.

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If you have a color printer available to employees, it gets expensive.

With similar issues the only way we can get around it is to have another printer set as their default that only does B&W, and train users to use that printer for things that don't require color. Otherwise I haven't found a reliable way to prevent a color printer from being used as a color printer.

Solution-get a second printer, set up employees to use it by default, and train them when it's appropriate to use the other printer manually. You're working against the purpose of the printer to try forcing it to be a B&W type of printer to save money after getting it.

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The Director of IT did mention getting a more economical B+W printer a few days ago, but he approached me about making the big color printer print in B+W today. Maybe a second printer fell off the budget? I'll check with him. – Chris May 19 '10 at 20:18

I usually just install two printers for them: "<printer name> B&W" and set that as the default; I'll install another printer (same printer, different settings) and call it "<printername> Color". Haven't had an issue doing it this way.

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I've got a Canon imageRunner which won't 'take' the default settings applied to the server. Trying to get B&W and Duplex to be default while allowing user option to change those. I've gone as far as removing the queue connection and drivers from the workstation and rebooting to rerun startup scripts. The settings to user connections after this are still standard default (color & single sided). I don't see that granting Manage Docs access will have any affect.

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We use Print&Share here from Ricoh. If you have profiles on a central location you can set security on the profiles so that users can't change settings in a profile if you want that.

Let your users install P&S. Lot's of extra to configure and save on paper, ink/toner, etc..:

There is a 30-day trial available on their website.

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