Files Connect allows Macintosh clients to access Windows File Shares via AFP (Apple File Protocol) and also allows you to create Print Queues via LPR or Windows Printers.
With the Files Connect Print Server installed, Macintosh users can create desktop printers that deliver print jobs
- directly to printers via LPR
- Spool jobs to an existing Print Queue located on a Windows Server
With this article we are expanding some key steps/concepts on configuring print queues which include instruction for both the client and server.
(!) Note: Apple made changes to the way the print center works years ago, so you will now need to use Zidget to install printers (IPPrint package will no longer work).
Files Connect Print Queues and configuration of forcing PPDs requires a multi-step one-time setup process.
- Create the Print Queue in Files Connect Administrator.
- Leave the PPD field blank.
- Add the printer using the Zidget – it will install with the generic driver.
- Confirm the drivers from the manufacturer are installed on the Mac client.
- Open Print Center (or the CUPS web GUI) and toggle the generic driver to use the correct driver.
(!) Note: Starting from Mac OS X 10.8, Apple removed the ability to edit drivers, but you can edit the generic driver as follows:
- Open a browser: http://127.0.0.1:631/printers. You may need to run the terminal to enable: cupsctl WebInterfac=Yes
- Click on the queue you want to edit.
- You can set drivers under Maintenance -> Modify.
Now that you are using the correct driver, you can test that jobs print correctly.
- Fish out the PPD: Go -> Go To Folder -> /etc/cups/ppd and place a copy of it on the server (C:\PPD\printer.ppd).
- Edit the print queue and select the tested PPD "C:\PPD\printer.ppd" you fished off the client.
Testing from subsequent clients:
- Delete the printer and add it back using the Zidget, the correct driver should be now be installed. All subsequent Mac clients adding the printer will now get the proper PPD installed.
(!) Note: you may need to run the installer from the printer manufacturer if the Printer Model relies on helper files (PDEs). If these files don't exist on the client the job will likely fail. Not all printers will use PDEs (it depends on the manufacturer).
Some benefits from deploying the Zidget to clients:
- Acronis created the Zidget which uses http on port 8081 (port is configurable) to solve the problems with Bonjour not working across subnets.
- This is a client side widget that you can download to the client or deploy using ARD. To download the Zidget manually to a client, simply open a browser to http://server:8081 (complete documentation for the Zidget can be found at https://www.acronis.com/support/documentation/AcronisFilesConnect/index....).
- The Zidget also replaces the Print module which Apple has deprecated.
- When users download the Zidget, it ships with a default DNS name for 'ExtremeZIPServerList'. The simplest thing to do is create a cname record for 'ExtremeZIPServerList' to map to your print server so that Zidget resolves for everyone (eliminates the steps of click the 'i' in the lower right corner to replace the dns name of the print server).
End User Experience:
Once the Zidget is installed/pushed out clients – users have the following options:
Option 1 (web-browser – invokes Zidget)
- From the Mac client, open Safari (or Firefox) and enter the following as the url/address: ezip://servername:8081/printqueuename.
Note: you could also post a list of URLs on a wikipage or just email urls to users to open in a browser or create a Visio page or some other type document with clickable links embedded with the url convention: ezip://server:8081/name.
- When a user opens such a link, the Zidget will be invoked and user will be asked whether they wish to add the printer.
Note: if the Print Queue name has spaces i.e. Art Department, then you would use: ezip://servername:8081/Art%20Department.
- If Safari/Firefox fails to invoke the Zidget - you may need to copy the ZidgetHelper into the Applications folder. It's in the Zidget.wdgt widget package file. Right-click -> Show Package Contents -> navigate to the ShellScripts folder and just copy it to the Applications folder. Run it once to make sure it's registered.
Option 2 (terminal/scripting)
- cd to the following directory: ~/Library/Widgets/Zidget.wdgt/ShellScripts/ZidgetHelper.app/Contents/MacOS
- Run the following: ./ZidgetHelper "ezip://servername:8081/Art%20Department"
- Zidget will be invoked and will add the printer.