Printers are pretty easy to deploy via Group Policy. It’s easy to configure a Group Policy Preference to deploy a printer, but there’s a few gotchas that may prevent the printer from actually getting installed client side.
The first thing to check is Event Viewer > Applications. If Group Policy attempts to add a printer but fails, it should be logged as a warning and give an idea on what the problem is. If you’re stuck – enable Group Policy Preferences Logging and Tracing for Printers, and see if you get more data.
For Windows 10, depending at what patch level you’re at, and what drivers the print server has, and if those drivers are packaged or not you’ll probably have to enable more policies to make printers deploy. If you don’t, you may see this error in Event Viewer: “Group Policy Object did not apply because it failed with error code ‘0x80070bcb The specified printer driver was not found on the system and needs to be downloaded.’ “
There’s a lot of information out there on this topic – but generally, the main reason a printer won’t automatically install is because of UAC. If you try to manually install one of these printers, you’ll get the ‘Do you trust this printer’ warning, and even after continuing on that, the install may fail.
There’s two Group Policies to configure to get around this, which I found blogged at Systemcenterdudes so please read their post – but you need to enable these two policies:
Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Printers – Package Point and Print
Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Printers – Point and Print
In both of the policy settings, you may need to specifiy your print servers. It wouldn’t work for me until I did – and it’s a better security approach to do this anyway.
Once that was done, printers were then able to be installed automatically via Group Policy. There’s some other ways I’ve read to change how the drivers work, push out registry fixes etc – but to me this seems the simplest and safest approach (assuming it works for you too!).
If you’ve had a different experience or the above doesn’t work, please share!