Shared Printers

pdfMachine is a Package Aware V3 Printer Driver

You can install and configure pdfMachine on a network printer (the print server). Clients can then easily install using Point and Print, by connecting to the network printer. When clients first connect to pdfMachine on the print server they will install the version of pdfMachine installed on the print server. The client will be initialised with the options set by an Administrator in the pdfMachine options on the print server. New versions installed on the print server will be automatically detected on the client at login time.

Advantages of installing pdfMachine using Point and Print are:

  • Installation of the clients can be done from a "regular" user account, unlike a standalone install that requires an Administrator account.
  • Initial configuration for new clients are set on the print server by an Administrator. This makes it easy to implement a standard customised installation.
  • New versions can be easily rolled out by installing on the print server. New versions of pdfMachine installed on the print server will be automatically detected and installed on the client some time after the next login.

Notes:
Shared printing does not change the licensing of pdfMachine.
Changes to the pdfMachine options on the server after the client has been installed will not be reflected on the client.
pdfMachine version 14.93 installs as a package aware printer on server machines. Version 14.93 or later should be used if Windows update MS16-087 is installed.

To implement Point and Print in your environment you need to:

1. Install pdfMachine on the Print Server with the shared printer option checked

2. Configure pdfMachine on the Print Server with shared settings and registration

3. Connect to the Print Server from a client

When you install a new version of pdfMachine on the print server the clients that are connected to that printer will automatically detect and install the new version some time after the next login.

Step 1. Installation on the Print Server

To enable Point and Print a machine needs to be designated the "print server". This machine must be running either Windows Vista / 2008 / 2012 / 2016 / 7 / 8 / 10. It is important that this server machine have enough Microsoft Client Access Licenses for each user that wants to connect. A normal stand alone installation is performed on this machine, with the "share this printer on the network" checkbox ticked in the setup program dialog box.

Checking the "Share this printer on the network" box will set a new pdfMachine printer being installed as shared.

If you have already installed pdfMachine and you subsequently decide you want to set it up as a shared printer you must run the installer on the server again with the shared checkbox checked. Any configuration of the pdfMachine options that you want set for the shared printer must be set by an Administrator after this.

Step 2. Configure the initial settings

Clients connecting to pdfMachine on the print server for the first time will be initialised with the configuration of the print server. The configuration of the print server can be set by an Administrator in the pdfMachine options.

To set the configuration of the print server pdfMachine must be 'Run As Administrator'. When pdfMachine detects it is a shared printer it will display an alert at the bottom of the options window informing whether settings will be saved for shared printers or not. Set the options and then click OK. 

When an Administrator makes changes to the pdfMachine options they are written to the pdfMachine configuration files (bgsconf.ini) which are subsequently shared to client machines when a Point and Print installation is done. There is a configuration file each for x86 and x64 systems. These files will be located in the printer driver directory which may be different than in these examples :

c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3\bgsconf.ini
c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\64\3\bgsconf.ini

When a  new client connects to this print server to install pdfMachine the client will be automatically configured with these options. Changes to the options on the print server will not change clients that have already been connected.

Step 3. Connecting a client to the print server

There are many ways to connect a client to the print server :

Add Printer Wizard

Under the "printers & faxes" or "printers" in settings or control panel you will notice an "Add Printer" icon. This launches a wizard that allows you to connect to a pdfMachine printer that has been installed as shared on the network.

Right Click and Connect to the Printer from within Explorer

Start Explorer up, find the "print server" machine, then look in the "printers" folder. Right click on the pdfMachine printer and select "connect".

From the start menu, run \\servername\sharename

This is perhaps the easiest way. Click on the "Start" menu, then select the "run" icon. Then enter in the printer share name. e.g. if the server is called "bigserver" and the pdfMachine share name is "pdfmachn" then you would enter \\bigserver\pdfmachn

Web Server Install

If Microsoft IIS is installed, pdfMachine can be installed over a web browser. e.g. type in the browser the address http://servername/printers and select the pdfMachine printer. pdfMachine will then be installed.

Installing a new version of pdfMachine in a shared printer environment

To update to a new version of pdfMachine, just install it on the print server. Make sure you check the shared box while installing. The new version will be installed on the clients some time after the user next logs in.

Troubleshooting

The options I have set in pdfMachine on my print server are not showing in the client.

Options set in the print server are only initialised in the client when the client first connects to the print server. After that the options can be customised for pdfMachine at the client level. These will not be overwritten by changes in the options on the print server.

In order for the print server options to be initialised at the client you must have
(a) First specified pdfMachine to be a shared printer during installation, and then
(b) Run the pdfMachine options on the print server using elevated permissions ie 'Run As Administrator'. Then click OK to save the options. If you are not sure whether you have done this then do it again. Check the alert at the bottom of the window to make sure it will save the settings. You must do this before the client connects to the shared printer for the first time.

You can run the uninstaller as a regular user (on the client workstation) if you need to get the print server options.

I forgot to install the printer as shared.

Instructions in step 2 explain how to share the printer