AutoConnect:
Printer mapping without print servers

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With AutoConnect it’s possible to create printer objects automatically using tem­plates on a remote desktop (terminal server or virtual desktop). It is installed as a Windows service. AutoConnect is supplied with the ThinPrint Engine.

Note! The AutoConnect configuration using group policies is described in ThinPrint group policies.

 

AutoConnect features

  • Dynamic creation of printer objects in a remote desktop session, based on various cri­teria, e. g.:
  • Active Directory user or group name
    • Printer name or printer group name
    • Client (or host) name
    • Client IP address, IP range or IP group
  • Two methods for AutoConnect configuration:
    • Using an MMC snap-in (recommended for single terminal servers or virtual desktops)
    • Using a Group Policy Object (recommended for large environments)
  • Support of Output Gateway
  • Support of Connection Service

 

Basic constellation

  • ThinPrint Engine on a remote desktop as well as AutoConnect and Output Gate­way
  • ThinPrint Clients on workstations and / or local print servers and/or gateway appliances

 

Templates and ports

Printers generated with templates by AutoConnect on the server are always installed on the same ThinPrint Port as the template. If printers are to print over several Ports, multiple templates for the same driver can be set up on various Ports.

Template permissions

So that each user only sees his/her printers – and not all printers installed on the server –, templates must be assigned the following permissions:

Administrators Print, Manage documents and Printers
System Print, Manage documents and Printers
if applicable: All Application Packages Print and Manage documents
  • Delete all permissions of other accounts.

Note! Templates must not be shared.

Port pooling

Port pooling on ThinPrint Ports can also be used with AutoConnect.

 

AutoConnect configuration

You can configure AutoConnect locally as well as remotely; for remote configuration AutoConnect must be installed on both machines.

  • Open the ThinPrint configuration. Select on the left AutoConnect.
Open AutoConnect configuration

Open AutoConnect configuration

Configuration

  • Click on Edit will open the AutoConnect configuration.
AutoConnect configuration: General tab

AutoConnect configuration: General tab

General tab

In the General tab the default value for the connection protocol between AutoConnect and ThinPrint Clients can be selected. If you select TCP/IP or Virtual Channel (ICA or RDP), you restrict the communication to a protocol family. The Auto setting allows both protocol families and is therefore recommended for ICA / RDP as well as TCP/IP ThinPrint Ports. In Dynamic Printer Matrix (see below) you can limit this setting per rule; here, the columns T, R and I correspond to the protocols TCP/IP, ICA and RDP.

Furthermore, you can decide here which AutoConnect events are to be logged and displayed in the AutoConnect Diagnostics table.

For Configuration databases see Storage destination for AutoConnect settings.

Printer Creation tab

In the Printer Creation tab you can determine

  • whether the users may manage their session printers themselves.
  • when the printers are to be created or mapped:
    • Either at each session logoff / logon
    • Or when disconnecting and reconnecting a session.
  • Restart the TP AutoConnect Service afterwards.

Note! From the time when the option ThinPrint Self Service is enabled, the printers of users who log on to a session for the first time aren’t created or mapped automatically anymore. The tables Map Additional Printers and Dynamic Printer Matrix then provide the input for printers to be selected.

In case you use only the Map Additional Printers table for connecting printer shares you can speed up AutoConnect using the option Disable Dynamic Printer Matrix.

AutoConnect configuration: Printer Creation tab

AutoConnect configuration: Printer Creation tab

Default Printer tab

Using the settings in the Default Printer tab you can set whether the session’s default printer should be changed by AutoConnect and – if yes – which information is to be used to change it:

  • either the last choice by the users in the session or in ThinPrint Self Service (Apply default printer from user settings)
  • or the current printer of the relevant ThinPrint Client in case of using Dynamic Printer Matrix (Default printer set by administrator for ThinPrint Client has priority)
  • or the Default column of the Map Additional Printers table (Default printer set by administrator in Map Additional Printers has priority)
AutoConnect configuration: Default Printer tab

AutoConnect configuration: Default Printer tab

Printers tab

In Printers tab you can control the naming convention of the printers to be created. With Session ID you determine that the session number is shown at the end of the printer name. In this case, the real address information for sending print data will be stored in the Windows Registry. The alternative option with the address information in the printer name is described in the Naming convention section.

Furthermore you can set the user rights for the printers to be created: Print, Man­age Documents (default) or Print, Manage Printers and Documents. The permis­sion Manage Documents allows, among other things, “hanging” print jobs to be deleted. Manage printers allows, among other things, printers to be deleted.

Under Printer name contains the preference, specify whether the printer names to be created should include the Client name (= computer name) or the Client IP address. If the client name cannot be detected, the client IP address is automatically entered (TCP/IP only).

Furthermore you can decide which properties of a local installed printer or driver are to be transferred to the session printer’s properties:

  • The Comments and Location columns of the local printers folder
  • The native printer driver’s properties Paper size, Color, Paper source, Print on both sides, Print quality and Finishing options.
  • Click Apply or OK to confirm your settings.
AutoConnect configuration: Printers tab (part 1)

AutoConnect configuration: Printers tab (part 1)

Other settings in the Printers tab relate to all printers, including those that are mapped from ThinPrint Servers.

If users carry out changes to printers themselves, then these will be stored in the configuration database for User-specific printer preferences (see the General tab), if the Automatically save changes to printer properties option is enabled here.

If these stored settings are to be applied to newly created printer objects, or those yet to be connected, then the Create printers with user-defined properties option must also be enabled.

AutoConnect configuration: Printers tab (part 2)

AutoConnect configuration: Printers tab (part 2)

Note! For transfer of printer properties from ThinPrint Clients to Output Gate­way objects on print servers, Management Center or Management Services can be used alternatively.

High Availability tab

See High availability and load balancing.

 

Dynamic Printer Matrix

With Dynamic Printer Matrix, you can specify which templates should be used for creating a session printer.

  • Select the Dynamic Printer Matrix in the console tree.
Dynamic Printer Matrix

Dynamic Printer Matrix

Configuration

  • Double-clicking in the table or selecting Edit in the context menu will open the configuration console of Dynamic Printer Matrix. Use the Buttons (upper arrow) to edit the table.
Editing Dynamic Printer Matrix

Editing Dynamic Printer Matrix

Legend:

Table element Meaning
inserting a row above the current one
inserting a row below the current one
removing selected rows
moving a row up
moving a row down
• rule 1: locally on a client machine created printers won’t be included

• rule 2: shared printers connected to a client machine won’t be included; their names contain a backslash ( \ ) at the first position (see Printer Name column)

• import from a CSV file (this can be exported from the Management Center or created using the Management Services)

Caution: Existing rows will be overwritten – without warning!

IP Range/Group IP address, IP range or IP group in which the client is located
Client Name client’s hostname
Driver Name printer driver name
Printer Name printer name; with local connected printer shares a backslash ( \ ) is on the first position
Class Name name of (any) printer class
User/Group user or group from the Active Directory
W Windows clients allowed
A Apple Macintosh clients allowed
L Linux clients allowed
J Java clients allowed
T Thin clients allowed
x other client types allowed
T protocol: ThinPrint TCP/IP
R protocol: RDP
I protocol: ICA
Target Printer template printer name without _#
• optionally in the Target Printer column: finding shared printers in the network

• Here, simply the print server name must be given, then a list of all printers of this server will be shown.

• see also Input modes for search

Comment any comment

Note! In ThinPrint versions before 11.0, AutoConnect has treated a single hidden protocol column as not matching. If, for example, an ICA type of Thin­Print Client was detected by AutoConnect and the ICA column was hidden then no rule (row) of Dynamic Printer Matrix was matching. With version 11, the new functionality of a hidden column is that this column is ignored within each rule (row). This means that it would not matter whether the respective protocol or client type is true or not.

Input modes for search

The search box can be used in two ways:

  • Direct search:
    • Even when entering just one character, all matches are listed immediately. With every additional character, the number of matches decreases accordingly.
  • Debug search:
    • By using keywords, an AutoConnect query can be simulated. Here, the entries are not only compared to the entries in the table (as opposed to Direct Search), but the entries are evaluated.
    • So, you can easily see the relevant rows for a specified client or user. This can be helpful for support purposes.
    • When entering more than one key, use commas to separate.
    • Keys: IP, Client, Driver, Printer, Class, User
    • If you enter a user name, also user groups in which the user is a member will be found.
    • With IP addresses also IP ranges will be found in which the entered IP address is enclosed.
    • If you enter words, items with wildcards will be found if the entered string and an item match.
    • Checkbox search in columns <key>:true
    • Keys:
    • Win, Mac, Linux, Java, Thin (for thin clients), CE (for Windows CE), TCPIP, RDP, ICA

Example for debug search:

User5 from the domain ourdomain.local establishes a session from Client7 with the IP address 192.168.14.10. To figure out the very rows used by Auto­Connect, you could enter:

IP:192.168.14.10, Client:Client7, User:ourdomain\user5

Assigning templates

Dynamic Printer Matrix assigns any printer to a specific template. For example, the _#ICA_32 template is assigned to the HP DeskJet printer and for a cer­tain IP range is given the _#ThinPrint Output Gateway template.

All printer and class names listed in the ThinPrint Client can be translated, includ­ing printers which are connected to a shared printer (on a local print server); e. g., the printer Alps MD-1000.

Dynamic Printer Matrix entries (example)

Dynamic Printer Matrix entries (example)

With editing the Target Printer column you can simply select a template from the table shown below.

Template printers are shown at the bottom as necessary

Template printers are shown at the bottom as necessary

When you’ve done all changes then you need to acknowledge them.

Publish or discard changes

Publish or discard changes

By clicking Publish you acknowledge your changes and they will be saved in the given AutoConnect database (see Storage destination for AutoConnect settings) or by clicking Discard All no changes will be saved.

More table func­tions

You have the option of hiding unneeded columns. In all cases, hidden columns (and their rules) are deactivated.

Hiding columns

Hiding columns

Gray rows

Older versions of the Dynamic Printer Matrix contained the two special rows Try cli­ent printer name and Try client class name. These can be replaced by variables in the Target Printer column:

Gray row Replacement by this entry in the Target Printer column
Try client printer name %LCPRN%
Try client class name %LCCLA%
Legacy Dynamic Printer Matrix

Legacy Dynamic Printer Matrix

Functional principle

When you start a remote desktop session or reconnect to an existing session, AutoConnect is activated automatically. Then it processes the table from top to bottom, for each printer activated in ThinPrint Client. If all criteria (columns) in one line are met for the first printer AutoConnect searches for the template specified in the col­umn Target Printer (without _#) and creates the session printer using the applica­ble template properties. AutoConnect now stops the search for this printer in the table and, if applicable, continues the same procedure for the next activated printer in ThinPrint Client etc. etc. You can change AutoConnect’s processing sequence by switching the line order using the arrow keys (). You can also add or delete lines.

In the table, * and ? can be used as wild cards. The Target Printer column rep­resents the template name (without _#).

These features are explained in the scenarios below; the scenarios can also be combined with each other.

Scenario: Remote offices and home users with various connections

Each type of connection uses a different IP address range. Different bandwidths, print protocols, and parameters can be assigned to each of them.

IP range

The IP Range column in the Dynamic Printer Matrix could contain, for example, the following entries:

192.168.1.136

192.168.1.1–192.168.1.150

192.168.1.0 / 24

192.168.128.0 /22

192.0.0.0 / 8

A separate template is given as each target; printers with different properties will thus be mapped in the respective remote desktop session.

The default entry in IP Range is: 0.0.0.0–255.255.255.255

The 24 represents the following subnet mask: 255.255.255.0; i. e., 3 x 8 = 24 set bits (22 is equivalent to 255.255.252.0; 16 is equivalent to 255.255.0.0; and 8 is equivalent to 255.0.0.0).

Scenario: Native Printing or Driver Free Printing

All Windows clients are to use Driver Free Printing; i. e., to print with the ThinPrint Output Gateway virtual printer driver. The client type W is therefore selected for them. All other clients are to use one or more native printer driver.

Client type

On the one hand you can select between the client platforms Windows (W), Unix or Linux (U), Java (J) as well as Mac OS and other (X), and on the other hand between the connection protocols TCP/IP (T), RDP (R) and ICA (I). By default, all client types are selected. If specific translation rules are only to apply to selected client types, then, they are easily selected by simply adding or removing a checkmark. In the fol­lowing table, as an example, the _#ThinPrint Output Gateway template is assigned to all Windows clients . All other client types use the _#HPLaser template, which uses a native printer driver.

W U J X T R I Target Printer
ThinPrint Output Gateway
HPLaser

User / Group

The User/Group column in the Dynamic Printer Matrix could contain names of local or domain users or groups.

 

Variables

Variables can also be used in the column Target Printer, however, they are restricted to connections to printer shares. Refer to ThinPrint Engine on print servers.

 

Map Additional Printers

Open Map Additional Printers

Open Map Additional Printers

In contrast to the Dynamic Printer Matrix, with Map Additional Printers you can map any network printer (share on a print server) – regardless of that ThinPrint Cli­ents or a print server with a ThinPrint Engine installed on are available

Edit Map Additional Printers

Edit Map Additional Printers

Legend:

Table element Meaning
inserting a row above the current one
inserting a row below the current one
removing selected rows
moving a row up
moving a row down
• import from a CSV file (this can be exported from the Management Center or created using the Management Services)

• Caution: Existing rows will be overwritten – without warning!

Default • set as user’s default printer in the session

• see also Default Printer and Printer groups

User/Group user or group from the Active Directory
IP Range/Group IP address, IP range or IP group in which the client is located
Client Name client’s hostname
Target Printer/Group • shared printer in the network
syntax: \\print-server\share-name) or• printer group
• in the Target Printer/Group column: finding shared printers in the network

• Here, simply the print server name must be given, then a list of all printers of this server will be shown.

• see also Input modes for search

Comment any comment

When you’ve done all changes then you need to acknowledge them.

Publish or discard changes

Publish or discard changes

By clicking Publish you acknowledge your changes and they will be saved in the given AutoConnect database (see Storage destination for AutoConnect settings) or by clicking Discard All no changes will be saved.

Input modes for search

The search box can be used in two ways:

  • Direct search:
    • Even when entering just one character, all matches are listed immediately. With every additional character, the number of matches decreases accordingly.
  • Debug search:
    • By using keywords, an AutoConnect query can be simulated. Here, the entries are not only compared to the entries in the table (as opposed to Direct Search), but the entries are evaluated.
    • So, you can easily see the relevant rows for a specified client or user. This can be helpful for support purposes.
    • When entering more than one key, use commas to separate.
    • Keys: User, IP, Client
    • If you enter a user name, also user groups in which the user is a member will be found.
    • With IP addresses also IP ranges will be found in which the entered IP address is enclosed.
    • If you enter words, items with wildcards will be found if the entered string and an item match.
    • Checkbox search in columns <key>:true

Example for debug search:

User5 from the domain ourdomain.local establishes a session from Client7 with the IP address 192.168.14.10. To figure out the very rows used by Auto­Connect, you could enter:

IP:192.168.14.10, Client:Client7, User:ourdomain\user5

 

Sending and importing the configuration

Similar to the port configuration, AutoConnect also has additional options of Send Configuration and Import from Management Services.

When sending, the AutoConnect configuration is sent to other computers with the exception of Dynamic Printer Matrix or Map Additional Printers tables – these are included in AutoConnect’s configuration database and can be assigned by setting the storage destination (see Storage destination for AutoConnect settings) or by copying the database file.

Using the import function, CSV files which come from Management Center or Management Services can be read in (see above import from a CSV file).

Caution! With Send and Import, an existing AutoConnect configuration will be overwritten – with Import without warning!

Send configuration

The Action→ Send Configuration function lets data from the AutoConnect config­uration be sent to groups of servers; see also Procedure when sending.

Once you are finished configuring AutoConnect, click Apply or OK.

Saving und import­ing the AutoCon­nect database

Saving the AutoConnect database can be done in two different ways. First of all you could save the database after changing something via Save Table As.

It can be done as an alternative via rightclicking the snap-in AutoConnect and choose Save Table As.

Saving the AutoConnect database

Saving the AutoConnect database

As well via rightclick on the snap-in AutoConnect you can choose Open Tables from and import a saved AutoConnect database. You can import the database on the same server you saved it or on a other server with a ThinPrint Engine installed.

Import the AutoConnect database

Import the AutoConnect database

Script control

If you want to run AutoConnect from the Command Prompt (see Troubleshooting) or using a script, amongst other the following parameters can be used:

Parameter Function
-v (Verbose) Display messages; give detailed information at startup
-d Delete the printer(s) for a specific session
-dl Delete only local printers (on remote desktops)
-dn Delete only connections to printer shares
-d session-ID Delete all printer(s) of a specific session (admins only). The session ID can be found in the printers folder under Location
-d all Delete all printers created with templates (admins only)
-r (Repair) Compares saved session information at actually existing printer objects (admins only)
-F x Keep AutoConnect running and restart every x seconds
-p port (Port) TCP/IP port number (if other than port 4000)
Note: The TCP port numbers in ThinPrint Port, AutoConnect, and ThinPrint Client must match.
-i protocol (Interconnection) Select protocol for connection to the ThinPrint Clients; overwrites AutoConnect dialog settings (acceptable values: TCPIP, VC, AUTO)
-a address Specification of IP address or client name of the computer on which a ThinPrint Cli­ent is running – i. e., of local print servers or external print servers of network printers (e. g., ThinPrint Hub or a device from SEH).
-L Display ThinPrint Client’s printer list
-I printer ID Specification of selected printer IDs from ThinPrint Client – comma separated
-I d Map only ThinPrint Client’s Current printer
-? oder -h (Help) Will open parameter help panel

Script control also works for network printer objects which are created with the Dynamic Printer Matrix.

Using logon/logoff script

Running AutoConnect script-controlled or from the Command Prompt (in script mode):

  • Enter the AutoConnect cue in a remote desktop logon script.

Example for mapping of printers from a local print server or gateway appliance (192.168.10.20, ThinPrint Client installed) in C:\Program Files\Common Files\ThinPrint\:

tpautoconnect –d

tpautoconnect -a 192.168.10.20

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