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I have two machines (A & B), machine A has to be able print to a local printer. The issue is that the problem it can't have any printers connected to it (network or local) - so what I want to do is redirect the printing to machine B which does have a printer.

In my mind that means that the printer on machine A will be a software printer (like those Adobe PDF ones) and it sends the request to machine B.

Is there such software like this or another way to do this?


  • It is on a network and can browse network shares, however the users that will make use of it have no physical access to it only via remote desktop like sharing. They need to click print on it and it must print on their local printer.
  • It will be printing from a limited number of apps, although I have no control of that.
  • It is a Windows OS on both machines.

Update 2:

There are two reasons why I am looking for a generic solution for this problem:

  • Short Answer: Trying to get the users to think as little as possible.
    Long Answer: The users are mobile, so the list of printers available can change and is not the same for each user. On their machines (machine B) they are aware enough to choose the correct one. If they had lots of printers setup on machine A, as they move around and connect to it they may get confused.

  • Short Answer: The costs of manual setup are prohibitive.
    Long Answer: As the users move around and can connect remotely (from some of the furtherest least connected parts of the country which is South Africa) going to each user and setting it up to reflect their the correct printers and maintaining it when printers are added/removed is very high. Ideally a software solution that we can distribute should lower costs.

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Help me understand this: Machine A needs to print, but cannot have any printers attached, local or network. I assume that Machine A is on a network, because there is a Machine B, which does have a printer installed. Will you be printing from one application only or multiple apps like (for example) MS Office? Do you have physical access to Machine A? Is Machine A locked down in such a way as to prevent network printing? Can you browse the network? Also, is this a Windows machine? – cop1152 Jun 13 '09 at 13:23
If it is not possible to share the printer on the network, how do you plan to send the request to machine B? – Daniel Rikowski Jun 13 '09 at 18:10
@DR The machines do have network access, just can't be configured for specific printers. It must print to the printer that machine B designates. – Robert MacLean Jun 14 '09 at 16:56
I have a question for your question, Is this because of any specific issue? or because you dont want to share printers? You can make a cups print server directly attached to the printer and share it out, or use windows printer sharing if its not an issue like this. I'm quite curious the circumstances that force you to not want to directly connect pc1 to printer... – XTZ Jun 15 '09 at 0:45
up vote 0 down vote accepted

you can get pretty creative using PDFCreator (from sourceforge, Its output can be scripted in many ways, so perhaps you have it deposit the file it creates in a shared directory on machine B, which the user then grabs and prints.

Further, you could monitor the folder on machine b with software like Logmon ( and have it set to auto-print whatever gets deposited there, making the process seamless: the user prints from machine a and it magically appears on machine b's printer.

The users on machine a would somehow have to be trained to choose the proper "machine b" during the PDFCreator save process.

This isn't fleshed out, but I think you can get what you're after using this approach.

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Those a great ideas- I'll look into them a bit more. – Robert MacLean Jun 15 '09 at 7:08

IF I am not mistaken, when connecting with RDC you can select to have your local printers temporarily available to the host machine. They will appear under 'printers and faxes' on the host machine if you have it configured correctly, but only temporarily. When you terminate the RDC connection the local printers go away.

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Unfortunately we are not using RDC, else that would be the perfect solution. – Robert MacLean Jun 15 '09 at 7:07
What remote connection method are you using? – Guss Sep 18 '09 at 15:59

This is hardly an ideal solution, but....

We have a server that emails out hundreds of log-files nightly. What if you had your documents emailed out automatically (we use BLAT)? You could have an Outlook rule that would print documents or attachments from certain senders.

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Nice idea, however we want this to be as natural to the users as possible - so changing them to email rather than print will not be as natural but may make a good alternative. – Robert MacLean Jun 14 '09 at 16:57

If these are Windows machines: On Machine B, Share the printer (In Printers, right click on this printer and select Sharing. Give it a name you can remember)

On Machine A: - from a command line: net use \Machine B\printer lpt1: substitute the hostname of Machine B and the name you gave the printer above. - Install the drivers for the Printer. When the driver asks about the connection, choose LTP1:

You may have to run the net use command whenever you reboot the machine, so you may want to put it in a batch file, and put it in the startup folder.

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Great idea, however I would ideally like it generic so regardless of user. But if that is not possible this is a great alternative. – Robert MacLean Jun 14 '09 at 16:59
In XP, you can add the batch file to the Startup folder for All Users, then the mapping will always be there, or you could probably make it a login script. – BillN Jun 14 '09 at 20:19

Your question still confuses me. Why must the printer on A be a local printer? Why can't you just share the printer on machine B, and connect to that printer from A?

One way to make a network printer "look" like a local printer is to add the printer by choosing the "add local printer" in the wizard. Choose "create a new port" and type in the UNC path of the network printer.

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I think I have this right, but let me know:

Machine A can not have any networked printers mapped to it. However, you will use a local "software" printer that will send the request to Machine B, which will choose a printer and then print.

If the "software" printer on Machine A is still contacting Machine B via the network and sending the print document - why is a networked-mapped printer not allowed?

You can use Machine B as a printer server and map the appropriate printer to Machine A many different ways - GPO w/the new CSEs, startup script, logon script, etc.

However if Machine B needs to determine an appropriate printer AT PRINT TIME, then why not setup a printer (which on a printer server is a virtual device) that is mapped to many physical printers. You can set priority levels based on user groups or other criteria to determine which printer is printed to.

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