I've posted a few "best practices" questions like this.

Question says it all. Current practice is to map the drives and install the printers on the computer for each user/computer combination. I'd like to automate this process using GPO.

Small network (80 users), 11 departments, 95% of users log into the same PC every day and have no reason to do otherwise. Some users work in multiple departments, and a few floating laptops that are used by everyone for different purposes. Here is my thought:

Map drives based on user. This would safeguard against sensitive data that some users have access to that others don't. Map printers based on computer. This would ensure printer assignments that are both logical and closest in proximity.

To me this seems like the obvious answer. Is this standard and considered best practice? Am I over looking something?


I usually map drives to user, and printers to computers...

Users often sit in different places or even different offices so want to print to any local printer.

They also want to know that Z: gives them the same folder no matter what, otherwise they have to understand networks and server and all that nasty technical stuff....


If you map a drive to a computer but the share/folders have permissions set, it doesn't matter who logs in. They can't get access.

If you want the resource tied to that specific system, so people can only get to it (or a program needing the particular drive) if they're using that workstation, then you map to a system.

If you want it to travel with that user no matter where they go, you tie it to the user.

You map it out by situation, thinking of it as a resource issue. Is the resource tied to a user or to a particular system (like in a lab, if you only want that printer tied to the workstation so when Bob is in another building or on another floor he isn't printing to a printer ten minutes away.)

I don't know if there is really a best practice for this because it's situational.

In most cases I'd map drives/shares to a user, and the printer (since it's location dependent) to the machine. Unless in your situation you have an application only installed in a particular spot that must have an XYZ drive.


Your network sounds very similar to ours. Here's what we did.

We map the drives and the printer by user using login scripts for the drives and Deployed Printer GPOs for the printers. Everyone has the same departmental drive K, but that is mapped to a different share for each department.

In our AD, it's easiest since all users are divided into OUs by department whilst the computers are divided into OUs by OS. Since we do not have a mobile workforce, this works fine for us and is minimally fussy.

If you want to go all Group Policy on your drives, you can use Group Policy Preferences to map drives. We've had our little batch scripts forever, so we haven't used it, but I've heard good things.

  • +1 for Group Policy Preferences. They really are a huge time saver :)
    – tegbains
    Apr 22 '11 at 4:16

The question is what do you want your functionality to be? If you want the users to print to the same printers regardless of what machine they sit at then you should map the printers by computer not user. Your drive mappings should be user mapped and should also be mapped based on group membership. You should also be adding the security groups to the folder ACLs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.