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I am in the process of re-configuring our Windows Domain (Server 2008R2) and want to iron out anything that caused trouble the first time I set them up.

We have two network connected printers with static IP addresses, currently the workstations are using a workgroup rather than a domain while I rebuild everything. All workstations are able to print to the network printers by adding them manually using the IP address.

Originally, the Domain Controller shared the printers and then the Group Policy assigned them to the relevant workstation/user.

Is there a simpler way? The reason I don't want to do it the same way I originally did, is because if the DC fails and a second DC takes over the print shares failed. For example:

DC1 = CARBON
Workstations showed Printer 1 on CARBON & Printer 2 on CARBON

When DC2 takes over the shares still looked for CARBON which wasn't available. At this point everyone starts shouting.

Is there a recommended way of setting this up?

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1 Answer 1

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You could implement a two-node print server failover cluster; it probably sounds like overkill, but it's likely going to be the best way to ensure continued availability of your printers in the event of a domain controller failure.

Alternatively, you could set up a printer pool on each client that pointed to the ports on both print servers; that way, if one print server failed to answer, the job should theoretically get handed off to the other one (but still go to the same printer). I'm not sure it's possible to automate the setup of this kind of printer resource, though; you may have to visit each workstation and:

  • Add each network printer (and note their ports in the Printer Properties)
  • Add a new local printer
  • For the new local printer, enable printer pooling and then set its ports to be the two ports from the two separate network printers

which could be lame for a large organization.

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