Q. How can I allow users to see printers in the Devices and Printers Control Panel applet, but not other devices?

A. There's no Group Policy to just hide devices. However, you can hide the Devices and Printers Control Panel applet then create a Printers icon on the users' desktops.

Navigate to User Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, Control Panel, Hide specified Control Panel items. Enable the policy, click the Show button for the list of disallowed Control Panel items, and enter a value of Microsoft.DevicesAndPrinters. Click OK.

GPO to Hide Printers and Devices

To add the Printers folder for the desktops:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Move to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace.
  3. Create a new Key (key—not a value) named \\{2227a280-3aea-1069-a2de-08002b30309d\\}.
  4. Select the (Default) value in the new key, set the Data to Printers, and click OK.

Printers Registry Key

You'll now have a Printers folder on the desktop (if it doesn't show, right-click the desktop and select Refresh). If you want to get it off of your desktop, delete the registry key you created.

Viewing Printers

Save the following as printadd.reg and double-click it to automate the registry change:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


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