Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a good way to integrate scanning in a Domain network? I currently have a couple of printers in the directory, but am using an HP all-in-one for scanning and installing that HP locally on each workstation. It has terribly bloated management software and I would love to hand off scanning to Vista’s Fax and Scan. I would be okay with throwing out the HP and getting a standalone scanner if needed..


share|improve this question

Also you could look at a standalone device such as an axis document server I have one of these at home and it integrates with AD/LDAP.

share|improve this answer

You can get the multifunction printers that just send you the scanned document via email. Simple and efficient...

share|improve this answer
We've had Xerox Workcenter printers doing this for a few years. Compared to a dedicated scanner, the main advantage we've seen is that you can plunk a stack of pages in the feeder and it scans them to PDF and the file is in your email by the time you get back to your office. I know there are some scanners with sheet feeders, but since a high-quality feeder is sitting there on the copier, it makes sense to use it. – Ward Jul 15 '09 at 21:16

What you're asking really has very little to do with Active Directory (and I'll probably edit your title). I think you're really asking is:

"What's a good way to share a scanner between multiple computers efficiently and w/o hand-loading a lot of software?"

Consumer-style USB attached scanners aren't too good at this, typically. You'll have better luck with scanners that are targeted at network attachment directly. Your application software that you're scanning into is going to dictate what type of drivers you're looking for (network-based TWAIN, WIA, etc). Some driver software is going to have to be installed on PCs unless you're okay with having no integration with application software on the PCs and using, for example, a web-based scanning gateway.

I have personal experience with Ricoh multifunction copier / printer / fax / scanner / blender / coffee machine (I kid, I kid) devices and their "network TWAIN" drivers. They work as expected, for the most part, though the workflow of "get up and go to the scanner" is a little bit awkward.

If your application software supports receiving incoming scans in a folder you might opt for a type of scanner solution that supports dumping the scans as files into a remote server (via FTP, SMB/CIFS, NFS, etc). I've used the Ricoh devices in this capacity, too, and it works very well. They can scan to multi-page TIFF, JPG, or PDF, and dump the resulting files into a server computer for processing.

What you're looking for is going to be controlled more by what your application software needs from the scanner than anything else.

share|improve this answer
great! thanks. i didn't know there was a "scan to folder" option on standalone scanners. that's what we'll use. – argtag Jul 15 '09 at 16:01
Also worth pointing out is that "sharing" a scanner over the network is a bit overrated depending on your needs. I recommended separate scanners to a company once but they insisted on networking their "big expensive" scanner. About 2 months later I got a call. Seems that getting up from your desk and walking down the hallway to put paper in the scanner isn't so cool after all. They ordered a couple of nice duplex scanners and were happy as could be. – KPWINC Jul 15 '09 at 16:14
@argtag: That's what Ricoh calls the feature. Your mileage with your own equipment may vary. – Evan Anderson Jul 15 '09 at 16:22
@KPWINC: Where I've seen it work well has been on MFP devices. Users walk up to the device with a stack of paper, select their folder as the scan destination, and throw the stack in the document feeder. (The real "WTF" is the company where my wife works... their document imaging system can't take in PDF files, etc, so they actually PRINT out of one program and then have it scanned... >sigh< It's a state agency... my tax dollars at work.) – Evan Anderson Jul 15 '09 at 16:23
I think LexMark scanners work this way. I just got one and it always drops the scans into My Pictures folders. If there isn't a setting or registry value to change for this I'm sure a little windows script would do the trick of moving the file nicely. – Spencer Ruport Jul 15 '09 at 16:44

I was introduced to Capturix ScanShare at a former job and found that it worked well. It lets you share a USB scanner attached to a single computer with all users on the network. ScanShare installs a mini web server on the PC and users connect to that web server to scan their documents. This eliminates the need to install client software or drivers on any PC but the one with the scanner attached. The ScanShare drivers are TWAIN compliant, so they should work with virtually any USB scanner.

share|improve this answer

You might want to look at an HP 9250c. Those are also called "PDF Machines" in some offices. They integrate well with Active Directory AFAIK.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.