Users vs. Network Printers in WinXP

It’s been a problem we’ve struggled with here for much longer than we should have, and it took a hotshot new guy in desktop support to show us the answer. But if you know the right magic, you can add a printer to Windows XP and make it available to all users.

See, if you add the printer using the “add printer” wizard, it’s available only to that user. But if you use the command line, then you can throw a switch to make it available to any user who logs in to that machine. Here’s the instructions he offered us:

  1. Log in to the domain with an administrative account.
  2. Type the following into the command prompt: rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /ga /n\printers%printername%
In other words, to add mylj03, the command line is:

_rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /ga /n\\printers\mylj03_  

  * The printer is now available to all users who log in with a domain account.</ol> 

**update:** [Alan Baker][2] wants me to make it clear that we’ve been able to do this all along. He explains that a user with administrative privileges could add a network printer on a local port, and make it available to all users. Point taken. Counterpoint: why is Windows so freakin’ useless? Neither solution works as well as a little “make available to all users” checkbox would.