Configuring Printer Location and Setting Location Policies

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP1

To enable printer location tracking and set the automatic print population policy, do the following:

  1. Open Active Directory Sites and Services.

  2. Create the sites you want, if you haven't done so already.

  3. Associate a subnet for this newly created site, if you haven't done so already.

  4. Right-click each subnet you created, and then click Properties.

  5. Click the Location tab, type the location of the subnet in the following format based on your location naming convention, and then click OK:


  6. Using Group Policy, double-click the Pre-populate printer search location policy setting, and then click to enable it.

    The following example demonstrates how to set the policy to a group (organizational unit in Active Directory terms) of users that use that printer. However, you can set the policy to a different object using the appropriate Active Directory utility.

    1. Start Group Policy from Active Directory Users and Computers.

    2. Right-click the organizational unit you want to apply the policy to, and then click Properties.

    3. Click the Group Policy tab, and then click New to create a new object. Type the name of the new object, and then click OK.

    4. Select the newly created object, and then click Edit.

    5. Expand Computer Configuration, then Administrative Templates, and then Printers.

    6. Double-click the policy setting Pre-populate printer search location, and then click to enable it. When you search the directory service for printers, it fills in your location field using the value specified in the Location tab of the Subnet properties page. If this policy is disabled (default), the location will be empty.


      It is also possible to set location manually per-computer by Group Policy.

  7. Open Printers and Faxes.

  8. Right-click the printer and then click Properties.

  9. Type the printer location based on your schema, or click Browse to find it. You probably want to be more precise in describing the printer location than the subnet location. For example, for the subnet location NorthAmerica/Dallas, you might type NorthAmerica/Dallas/Floor42/Room4207.

  10. Repeat the last two steps for each printer in Active Directory.

It is recommended to script Steps 710 by using the prnadmin.dll utility that ships in the resource kit. To use this utility, you must refer to your existing spreadsheet or database of printers and their locations and then, rather than opening each printers properties to set the location, you can use the tool to set the printer locations according to the inputted information.

The following is an example of how one can set the location using prnadmin.dll. Typing cscript prncfg.vbs /? in the command prompt will show this example.

cscript prncfg.vbs -s -b PrinterName -l "Building A/Floor 100/Office 1" 

Where PrinterName can be a UNC name.


To open Active Directory Sites and Services, click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tasks, and then click Active Directory Sites and Services.