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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, Printer GPP randomly being a PITA in Technical; It's everyone's favourite topic! And it's driving me bl%%dy mad at the moment and making me look bad to boot. ...
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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Unhappy Printer GPP randomly being a PITA

    It's everyone's favourite topic! And it's driving me bl%%dy mad at the moment and making me look bad to boot.

    We did the Windows 7 thing this summer, so printers needed redeploying which we did from a new 2k8R2 print server. We used to do printers by GPO (pushprinterconnections.exe etc.) but under 2k8R2, printers were never unlinked from roaming profiles, so students ended up with every printer in school added. Rubbish.

    So we moved to GPP which, 98% of the time, works fine. We can set the default, clear all printers etc. but intermittently, printers will fail to install on login.

    Each printer has its own GPO. Loopback processing is set to merge, and a shared printer is added under User Preferences using the FQDN of the server. Using the NetBIOS name was worse. Using the print server's IP made no difference. We need to add them shared for PCounter, we can't add them directly by IP.

    Setting a VBS script to force a gpupdate on login seems to fix the problem at login. Unfortunately when policy refreshes in the background, printers then sometimes disappear. Not a problem for most people, but some staff are logged on at machines for longer than an hour so get hit by this 90 minute refresh (this includes my line manager in SMT).

    If I set the group policy to not refresh printers during background policy refreshes, it prevents the login script from re-evaluating printers, so printers might be missing from login, therefore affecting more users. Not an improvement.

    All my printers are using the most up to date drivers available (Oki Executive Series, fwiw). The most common error is 0x80070bc4 No printers were found but occasionally 0x8007007a The data area passed to a system call is too small crops up as well.

    If I tick the Common option to Run in Logged On Users Security Context then I get errors about the environment being incorrect instead, and there's no improvement.

    98% of the time it is fine. The printers are all added fine. There is no rhyme nor reason to the failures. I am going mad trying to pin this down.

    So: anyone know why this happens occasionally? Anyone know how to stop background refreshes without blocking the script, or a way to retrigger the script on background refresh? A way of getting more detailed logs than what I'm seeing in the application log?

    Or, if all else fails, anyone got a nice, quick, clean script to add a printer that won't slow logins down? No need for logic with the computer name etc. as the one-GPO-per-printer works fine.

    tl;dr: why won't printer GPP just work, goddammit.

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    First thing: have you installed any GPP hotfixes?

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    First thing: have you installed any GPP hotfixes?
    Not as I know of, unless they've been rolled up in the usual round of patches; most hotfixes I've seen mentioned around the Internet have been for Vista. If you know of any that you think might help (or where I can dig through the available hotfixes) I'd be delighted to test them.

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    This one solved a plethora of niggles for me: You experience a long domain logon time in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2 after you deploy Group Policy preferences to the computer

    It includes a bunch of previous hotfixes for GPP too, some of which were specifically for Printers.

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    sonofsanta (17th October 2012)

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    adhutton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    It's everyone's favourite topic! And it's driving me bl%%dy mad at the moment and making me look bad to boot.

    We did the Windows 7 thing this summer, so printers needed redeploying which we did from a new 2k8R2 print server. We used to do printers by GPO (pushprinterconnections.exe etc.) but under 2k8R2, printers were never unlinked from roaming profiles, so students ended up with every printer in school added. Rubbish.

    So we moved to GPP which, 98% of the time, works fine. We can set the default, clear all printers etc. but intermittently, printers will fail to install on login.

    Each printer has its own GPO. Loopback processing is set to merge, and a shared printer is added under User Preferences using the FQDN of the server. Using the NetBIOS name was worse. Using the print server's IP made no difference. We need to add them shared for PCounter, we can't add them directly by IP.

    Setting a VBS script to force a gpupdate on login seems to fix the problem at login. Unfortunately when policy refreshes in the background, printers then sometimes disappear. Not a problem for most people, but some staff are logged on at machines for longer than an hour so get hit by this 90 minute refresh (this includes my line manager in SMT).

    If I set the group policy to not refresh printers during background policy refreshes, it prevents the login script from re-evaluating printers, so printers might be missing from login, therefore affecting more users. Not an improvement.

    All my printers are using the most up to date drivers available (Oki Executive Series, fwiw). The most common error is 0x80070bc4 No printers were found but occasionally 0x8007007a The data area passed to a system call is too small crops up as well.

    If I tick the Common option to Run in Logged On Users Security Context then I get errors about the environment being incorrect instead, and there's no improvement.

    98% of the time it is fine. The printers are all added fine. There is no rhyme nor reason to the failures. I am going mad trying to pin this down.

    So: anyone know why this happens occasionally? Anyone know how to stop background refreshes without blocking the script, or a way to retrigger the script on background refresh? A way of getting more detailed logs than what I'm seeing in the application log?

    Or, if all else fails, anyone got a nice, quick, clean script to add a printer that won't slow logins down? No need for logic with the computer name etc. as the one-GPO-per-printer works fine.

    tl;dr: why won't printer GPP just work, goddammit.
    I agree, the whole thing s a right royal PITA!

    We have problems which are pretty similar to yours.....

    It works 98% of the time and is generally good for students who log-in, use the computer, log-off and go to another classroom. No bother.

    The problems seem to hit staff members who log in to a computer, use it then lock it and go to another classroom to teach. Then we get the 'The printers aren't working' cry......

    I have considered forcing everyone to log off when they are finished and not allowing them to lock the PC and then go to another, but I just know that will be a world of hurt as well because some staff will not log-off and instead just leave their computer unlocked and open for anyone to use!!!

    I just wish there was a solid, working solution for printer mapping - especially for schools!!!

    Andrew

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    This one solved a plethora of niggles for me: You experience a long domain logon time in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2 after you deploy Group Policy preferences to the computer

    It includes a bunch of previous hotfixes for GPP too, some of which were specifically for Printers.
    Pushed out to our little test area with SCCM, we'll see how it goes over the next day or so... cheers.

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    Hotfix deployed, computer restarted, 3 of the 5 computers had "Printer could not be found" on both linked printers within half an hour of the hotfix going out. Buggrit.

    Any other likely hotfixes anyone knows of?

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    kb2693010 hasn't made any difference either, still getting "No printer found" errors. I couldn't spot any other likely hotfixes for Win7 x64 SP1. Anyone got any other ideas?

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    I tried this move once and wound up crawling back to VB script on my hands and knees asking for forgiveness. I posted an example of the printer deployment sub we use to my blog. VB Script for network printer deployment - Blogs - EduGeek.net I don't know how it would behave in a mixed environment though, deploying printers using both VB and GPP. Good luck!

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    sonofsanta (18th October 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke5A View Post
    I tried this move once and wound up crawling back to VB script on my hands and knees asking for forgiveness. I posted an example of the printer deployment sub we use to my blog. VB Script for network printer deployment - Blogs - EduGeek.net I don't know how it would behave in a mixed environment though, deploying printers using both VB and GPP. Good luck!
    If I'm going to switch deployment I'm going to switch fully, I can at least repurpose the existing GPP GPOs as they're all set up in the right place, I just need to go through one by one and change 'em over. Which I'm very close to doing right now.

    I'm guessing I replicate the GPP (remove all printers, add new default) with something like:
    Code:
    Set wshNetwork = CreateObject("WScript.Network")
    on Error Resume Next
     
    'Deletes all network printers
    Set clPrinters = wshNetwork.EnumPrinterConnections
    On Error Resume Next
    For i = 0 to clPrinters.Count - 1 Step 2
     wshNetwork.RemovePrinterConnection clPrinters.Item(i+1), true
    Next 
    
    'Add Network printer
    wshNetwork.AddWindowsPrinterConnection "\\printserver.domain.local\PRINTER"
    
    'Set Default Printer
    wshNetwork.SetDefaultPrinter "\\printserver.domain.local\PRINTER"
    but I am not a scripty person so I've cobbled that together from text files I have lying around - tell me if I'm going wrong. For additional printers I can just do the first line & penultimate pair of lines, I think?
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 18th October 2012 at 02:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    If I'm going to switch deployment I'm going to switch fully, I can at least repurpose the existing GPP GPOs as they're all set up in the right place, I just need to go through one by one and change 'em over. Which I'm very close to doing right now.

    I'm guessing I replicate the GPP (remove all printers, add new default) with something like:
    but I am not a scripty person so I've cobbled that together from text files I have lying around - tell me if I'm going wrong. For additional printers I can just do the first line & penultimate pair of lines, I think?
    That's pretty much it. If you're just looking to do something simple like add a couple printers to everyone that runs the script it's only a couple lines of code. Once you play around with it enough you can start getting into conditions and map printers based off of WMI queries, user group membership, computer and user object location in AD, etc...

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    sonofsanta (22nd October 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Any other likely hotfixes anyone knows of?
    Here are a few more print related hotfixes...

    • KB2537549 - Cannot deploy a printer by using a GPO if read-only domain controllers are exclusively used in the domain environment in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2. This hotfix contains the most current version of PRINTER Group Policy Preferences for Windows 7/2008 Post SP1.
    • KB2647753 - Update rollup for the printing core components in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • KB2526028 - Printing performance decreases in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • KB2618574 - Print Spooler service saves the NetBIOS name of the print server in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2

    A list of other post-SP1 hotfixes can be found here...


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    Alas, I've just gone through all those hotfixes and it's still doing it. Scripts it is then!

    Just... grr. I like the idea of GPP, I like the execution of GPP, I just don't like the way it doesn't bl%%dy work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I just don't like the way it doesn't bl%%dy work.
    I wonder if it is more reliable in Windows 8?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    KB2537549 - Cannot deploy a printer by using a GPO if read-only domain controllers are exclusively used in the domain environment in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2. This hotfix contains the most current version of PRINTER Group Policy Preferences for Windows 7/2008 Post SP1.
    Where did you get this information? I ask because this hotfix does not update Gpprefcl.dll, it updates Gpprnext.dll, which is the Group Policy Printers extension (i.e. what you see under Policies\Windows Settings\Deployed Printers). This is not the same as the Printer section of Group Policy Preferences, although they achieve similar goals.

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