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I am attempting to configure VMware View 4.5's Location-Based Printing, which leverages an included OEM version of ThinPrint, to assign printers to active directory groups.

The location-based printing feature maps printers that are physically near client systems to VMware View desktops. I am using the Active Directory group policy setting AutoConnect Location-based Printing for VMware View, which is located in the Microsoft Group Policy Object Editor in the Software Settings folder under Computer Configuration.

The AutoConnect Location-based Printing for VMware View appearst to be just a name translation table. It permits me to assign a specific printer or printers to an IP Range, Client Name, Mac Address, User, or User Group.

I'm attempting to assign printers to active directory user groups. I have created a new active directory group for each printer that I intend to use in VMware View desktop pools. I will then assign active directory users to the active directory groups that represent each network printer.

Example: doej is a member of the PTR-FLOOR2-NORTH-ROOM255 active directory group. Using AutoConnect, I assigned the group to receive a network printer by adding PTR-FLOOR2-NORTH-ROOM255 in the User/Group column.

Problem: When doej logs in to his VDI session, the printer is not present. However, if I use a wildcard "*" in the User/Group column instead of the specific PTR-FLOOR2-NORTH-ROOM255 active directory group, the printer is present and functions as designed.

Alternatives: I have tried assigning printers to active directory groups within AutoConnect in the following ways, all unsuccesfull:

  • domainexample\PTR-FLOOR2-NORTH-ROOM255
  • domainexample.local\PTR-FLOOR2-NORTH-ROOM255

Confirmation: The information used to map the printer to the VMware View desktop is stored in a registry entry on the View desktop in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\thinprint\tpautoconnect. For each of these examples, I have reviewed the registry entry and can confirm that the desktop is receiving the information from the AutoConnect translation table.

Summary: Can anyone provide an example of how to configure VMware View 4.5's Location-Based Printing so that I may assign network printers to active directory groups via the included AutoConnect tool? I would welcome a clear example of a working configuration. Thank you.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The solution was two-fold.

Windows 7 printers appeared as one

My primary problem was I didn't realize that in Windows 7, if you install multiple printers that use the same driver and are installed on the same port (e.g. the same IP address), they will appear as one in the Devices and Printers window.

Because I wasn't aware of this behavior change, when I saw only one printer in my VDI's Devices and Printers window, I incorrectly assumed that the rest of the ThinPrint printers I assigned were not working.

Since I will be using just a few universal print drivers that are installed in my Windows 7 template, with many printers sharing a single driver, I searched for a way to force Windows 7 to display a unique icon for every printer regardless if they share common drivers or IP addresses.

The solution to this problem is a registry change that can be deployed via Group Policy.

  • Group Policy Management > Computer Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry > New Registry Item
  • Action: Update
  • Key Path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace{2227a280-3aea-1069-a2de-08002b30309d}
  • Value name: Default enabled/checked
  • Value type: REG_SZ
  • Value data: Printers

Apply this policy to the Active Directory OU that contains your VMware View desktop pools and those machines will have a Printers folder added to their desktop that contains the ThinPrint-assigned printers, using an individual icon for each printer.

For more information about this issue, please see these to articles:

How to assign network printers to Active Directory groups

The method of using the OEM version of ThinPrint that comes with VMware View to assign location-aware printers to Active Directory group is to use their Group Policy plugin. Please see the VMware View Administrators Guide for instructions on how to install this AD plugin/addon.

  • Group Policy Management Editor > Computer Configuration > Policies > Software Settings > AutoConnect Map Additional Printers for VMware View > Configure AutoConnect Map Additional Printers
  • User/Group Column: \domain\PTR-MH-4S-R450-HP-LJ3005 (e.g. \example\Domain Users)
  • Printer Name: HP LaserJet (e.g. any name you want)
  • Printer Driver: HP Universal Printing PCL 6 (found via Print Management > All Drivers)
  • IP Port/ThinPrint Port: IP_172.22.1.1 (the printer's IP address)

By creating a one-to-one relationship between Active Directory Groups and each network printer, we will instead simply add users or group to each printer group instead of creating a very large ThinPrint table with many rows.

My location-specific printer group naming convention is PTR-BUILDING-FLOOR+DIRECTION-ROOM-MAKE-MODEL (e.g. PTR-MainHospital-Floor4South-Room450-HewlettPackard-LaserJet3005).

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