July 2003 Reader Challenge

The Problem:

One of the things I learned when I was raising my children (and my children are learning now as they raise their own children) is that if you make rules you can't enforce, you might as well give up making rules. I was reminded of this precept last month, when several clients called me with the same problem. The end of the school year meant term reports were due for the children of many of my clients' employees. The reports were long and highly decorated, using many colorful graphics. Employees were bringing the document files from home and printing the reports on the company's color laser printer (regardless of any rules restricting the printing of personal documents). Of course, the legitimate business print jobs were taking forever to come out of the printer because they were sitting behind the large report documents in the print queue. My clients told me they'd reached an agreement with the employee-parents: Parents could use the printer to print their child's reports, but not until after 5:00 p.m. Because few of the parents would want to stay late, my clients knew that the new rule would probably be ignored. So, my clients asked me whether a command or tool exists to hold the report documents in the print queue until 5:00, then let the parents retrieve the printed documents the next morning. Yes, doing so is possible, and I told my clients how. Can you?

The Solution:

Create a second copy of the printer, share it with an appropriate share name, and move it to the Advanced tab on the Properties dialog box. Select the "Available from" option, and set the hours of availability to from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. Print jobs sent to the printer will be held in the spooler until the printer is available. Don't forget to fill the printer's paper tray before leaving for the day.

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