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Within a Windows domain that has a mix of Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R2 print servers, how do you add or remove printers from the list of printers that Windows 7 clients retrieve at the Select a printer window?

You get to this windows by selecting Add Printer > Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer > Add Printer window.

How does Windows 7 populate this list? Most of the printers shared by my print servers are flagged to "List in Directory", but they do not appear in this list. I'd like for them to appear in this list so a user does not have to proceed to "The printer that I want isn't listed."

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Looks like starting in Vista the default number of printers published is 20 printers.

Here's a quick run down and link to info on it:

Printer Number Limitation related Policies

  1. Click Start icon, then select Run...

  2. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter. Click Continue if receiving UAC prompt.

  3. Locate to two GPOs: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Printers -> Add Printer wizard - Network scan page (Managed network) and Network scan page (Unmanaged network).

  4. Double-click to change the configurations.

    The AD-based Network Search in Managed Network

    If wizard of adding network printer detects that the machine is on a managed network and the user is authenticated against the AD server it will attempt to do the following searches:

    It queries the AD for printers. This works similarly to the Find Printers dialog in that it uses the same code to determine the user’s location and tries to find printers in the user’s location. It is different from the Find Printers dialog in that it uses the GC to query for printers instead of “Entire Network”.

The net search page will only show the first 20 AD printers it finds by default. If there are more than 20 printers that meet the location parameter on the query the search will simply return the first 20 that AD happens to return—this is effectively random in my experience.

The Location Parameters

  1. Click Start icon, then select Run...

  2. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter. Click Continue if receiving UAC prompt.

  3. Locate to two GPOs: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Printers -> Computer Location and Pre-populate printer search location text.

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An alternative to this is setting up printers with Group Policy or a login script. –  Nixphoe Jul 7 '11 at 21:18

I believe those printers are found in network broadcasts, something you can't really control. Unless the network printers are being blocked for some reason, eventually Windows should pick them up. Otherwise you'll need to teach your users how to browse to //printersserver and select the printer from the list of shares rather than from the wizard interface.

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Printers configured to be listed in AD aren't discovered by broadcasting, they're discovered via LDAP queries to the directory. If they were discovered via broadcasting then there'd be no point in listing them in the directory. If they're not all showing up when you search the directory then I would verify that they're being listed by using ADUC (with the option to view users, groups, and computers as containers) and verify that the printers that are supposed to be listed in the directory actually show up in the directory under the appropriate print server computer objects.

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