Marin County Free Library — Technical Services

Print Management Printers
Setup and Troubleshooting

Print Management has once again changed the way that all of our printers are set up for public printing.

In most libraries, we'd recently moved to "network" or TCP/IP printing, where the printer has its own IP address, and each client computer sends print jobs over the network.

Under Print Management, the print jobs technically still travel over network cable from the clients to the printers. But the way that Print Management is that the software mimics a hosted printer in some ways, and local printers on each public PC in others. Technically, nothing has changed in the layout; it's still TCP/IP printing.

But logically, the print management software operates by reinstating the concept of a printer host, to some extent.

On the client computers (each public workstation), both printers are installed "virtually." They appear to be installed locally on each, on LPT-1 (the standard printer port). The printer name must include a "_v" at the end of the name for the PM software to recognize them as virtual printers.

One other part of this virutality is that the printers on the client PCs are paused. They must be paused, or else the PCs will really try to send the print job to non-existent printers, rather than sending them to the Print Release Server.

The client PCs know where the real printer is by checking with the Library Online server. The real path (called a UNC path) to each library's printers are stored on the LibOnline server, and this is where the clients then send the print jobs.

The print jobs arrive at the Print Release Station (aka "the server") and are stored in the c:\centralprint folder, under a subfolder for each separate public workstation. This is where all the print jobs from everyone live until released and deleted, or until midnight at each evening.

Troubleshooting for this setup consists, at this point, of ensuring that the print server (Print Release Station) is running, and restarting it if it's giving difficulty. Print jobs that have been sent to the print server will still be in the c:\centralprint folder after restarting, and so they will still appear in a patron's Print Release window.

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Created Feb. 9, 2005 dtm