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GUI Lets Users Add or Remove Printers


Network administrators for small to midsized companies often must provide both network administration support and daily technical support to users. Having been in this situation myself, I found that many users prefer to simply fix their own simple problems instead of having to make a support call. For example, users would often ask me to show them how to perform the simple task of adding or removing printers but would get confused or forget the steps required to complete the task. It occurred to me that if I could remove the steps involved and give them a GUI to take care of this type of request, they'd be happy that they didn't have to make a support call. In addition, it would cut down my call volume.

So, I used some basic VBScript functions and a simple HTML interface to provide the easy-to-use Printer Management Page that Figure 1 shows. This page lets users add and remove printers with the click of a button. You can download the file (Printer_Management_Page.htm) for this page from the Windows Scripting Solutions Web site. Go to, enter 46112 in the InstantDoc ID text box, then click the hotlink.

Two VBScript functions reside in Printer_Management_Page.htm: the addPrint function, which adds printers, and the delPrint function, which removes printers. No configuration changes need to be made to either the addPrint or delPrint function.

The only minor configuration changes you need to make to Printer_Management_Page.htm are to customize the printer descriptions and names as well as the buttons that add or remove the printers. Listing 1 shows an example of the code you need to modify. Callout A in Listing 1 shows the code in which you need to change a printer's description. In this case, you'd change ACCOUNTING DEPT. PRINTER to your printer's description. In the line that callout B shows, you need to change the printer name from printer1 to the name of your printer. In the lines that callouts C and D show, you need to change the print server's name and printer's name from \\PrintServer\printer1 to the name of your print server and printer.

In the code at callouts C and D, notice the onClick event. When a user clicks the Add button, the onClick event invokes the addPrint function. Similarly, when a user clicks the Remove button, the onClick event invokes the delPrint function.

With Printer_Management_Page.htm, you can provide on your company's intranet a simple HTML page that lets users add and remove printers as needed. Users can add or remove a printer as many times as they want and they'll never have more than one instance of the printer, which means that no errors will be created by attempting to remove a printer that doesn't exist on the local system.

Note that if you run Printer_Management_Page.htm from a user's desktop or an intranet site that isn't listed in the Trusted Sites zone in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), an ActiveX control alert might pop up in the browser. You can stop this alert by adding the intranet site on which the page is running to IE's Trusted Sites zone through a network policy.

The Printer Management Page makes adding or removing printers a one-step process instead of a multiple-step process that requires a support call. So, depending on how often this type of support call is received, the cumulative time savings can be quite substantial.

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