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Working with Printer Permissions

When a printer is shared on the network, different levels of default permissions are assigned to domain groups. For example, the Everyone group (which includes all users in the domain) is provided with the Print permission. Depending on your inclination toward printers and security, you can remove the default permissions for the Everyone group and instead assign your users their basic access to printers by assigning the default permissions to the Authenticated Users group. This means that a user must be authenticated to the domain before acquiring print permissions.

The Print permission enables users (or members of a group assigned the permission) to print to the printer but does not enable them to manage the print queue (as discussed in the next section).

To view the default permissions for a printer, open the printer’s Properties dialog box (right-click the printer in Printer Management snap-in or in the Control Panel’s Printers window). Then select the Security tab (see Figure 14.22).

Figure 14.22. Printer permissions are set on the Security tab.

The default groups for printer permissions are Administrators, Server Operators, Everyone, Print Operators, and Creator Owner. Administrators are assigned the Print, Manage Printer, and Manage Documents permissions. The Creator Owner is assigned only the Manage Documents permission, by default. This means that users can manage documents that they create and send to the print server. They are not provided control over other users’ print jobs.

The Print Operators group is designed to be used to assign certain special users on the network the ability to manage the printer and its documents. Only responsible users should be included in the membership of the Print Operators group.

Each permission provides a group or user with a different level of access to the printer. The Print permission enables a user to send documents to the printer. That’s it—it provides no management permissions to the printer.

The Manage Printers permission provides a user with the capability to completely manage the printer and its drivers. This permission level includes the capability to control job settings for documents, such as pausing, resuming, or canceling print jobs. This permission level also enables the user to cancel documents in the print queue. This permission even provides the capability to delete the printer as a resource on the network.

The Manage Documents permission provides a subset of the Manage Printers permissions–level privileges. A user with Manage Documents permission can control job settings for documents and can pause, resume, or cancel print jobs.

By the Way

As with share and NTFS permissions, printer permissions can be assigned to users and groups. For a discussion of share and NTFS permissions, see Hour 13, “Using Share and NTFS Permissions.” For a discussion of group memberships, see Hour 9, “Creating Active Directory Groups, Organizational Units, and Sites.”

Printer permissions are used, ideally, to determine who can print to a particular printer on the network (or who can manage the print jobs on that printer). Allowing the Everyone group access to all shared printers on the network can cause print traffic problems, particularly if many users print to the same printer. New groups that contain users who work on certain floors or in the same part of an office can be created so that users are compelled to print to a printer that is in their work area.

You might want to remove the Print permission from the Everyone group and create your own groups for printer access. You can then use the Add button to add Active Directory groups to the printer’s Group list. The permissions for that particular group can then be set. In most cases, you want “typical” users to have only the Print permission.

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