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I have a Windows Server 2008 R2 print server set up hosting out multiple printers to my end users. I would like to change the naming convention for all of the printers hosted on the print server and want this change reflected on the client end.

For example: I have a HP4000 printer named "Cottage" on the print server. I want to rename the printer "HR-1stFloor-220a" on the print server and I want this printer to appear on every client system with the new name.

Simply renaming the printer on the server automatically creates a link from the old printer name to the new one, so all the clients work but the actual name, from their perspective, has not changed. Renaming the share name also does not visibly effect the end user (though it does update the port information).

I would like to have the names of the printers be meaningful information regarding department and location, but this means that when they change hands or move I would need to update this information, and currently I am not seeing a way short of writing custom start-up scripts and remove/replacing them through AD. Is there a simple way of accomplishing this task?

Thank you for your help.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You're relegated to scripts, third-party printer management tools, or changing the printer display name, so it looks like the printer is actually named correctly. (And for what it's worth, I don't know of any third-party tools for this that I actually consider worth using, so I end up using AD and GPOs to handle this.)

There's really no way around the pain, at least the first time, so I'd suggest using the opportunity to introduce some manageability and automation to this part of your environment, and for what it's worth, I'm in the same boat myself. And, as you should always do, document the hell out of this so you don't have to remember or relearn all this later.


I'm handling this as below.

  1. Create an Active Directory security group for each printer, such as Users of [printer name].
    • This is an opportunity to work on your delegation or scripting skills in an environment with many printers, FYI Learning PowerShell, or making the helpdesk guys learn PowerShell comes in handy.
  2. Populate security group with users of the printers.
    • There are a number of ways to handle this, I've been using logon scripts to poll users for what printers they have installed.
  3. Create GPO(s) and/or logon script(s) that maps the printers to the appropriate users.
    • There are so many different approaches to this, and their usefulness is just so environment-dependent, I can't really recommend one.
  4. Replace whatever mechanism you currently use to map printers with the GPO(s) or logon script(s).
    • Slowly, use a phased appraoch. If you do it all at once, and something goes wrong, everyone will hate you, and you may even hate yourself for making such a rookie mistake. Everyone.
  5. Replace old printer names with new names, update GPO(s) and/or logon script(s) to match.
    • Again, best to use a phased approach.


It's a good idea to give as many people as much advance warning as possible. Invariably something will go wrong, some users will get missed, or some printer will fail to get shared back out properly. Giving the heads up makes people more forgiving, and prevents time spent by the others on your team from hunting for the cause of any printer share problems this will create.

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Thank you for both the answer and the additional detail. You have saved me a bunch of te and given we something I can work with. –  Jeramy Sep 20 '12 at 11:03

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