A great enhancement in VMware View 4.5 is the Location based Printing feature. With Location based Printing you can always print on a network printer, which is located nearest to you. The feature can be enabled via a Microsoft Windows Group Policy option and is computer specific. The functionality is relatively easy. There is a translation table which contains rules e.g. Map printer NP54621 if the client’s IP address is in the range 192.168.178.10-192.168.178.40. If the user logs on from a client device which is in the given IP address range, the network printer will automatically be mapped into the virtual desktop session. This is great for people who often change their workplace as seen in the healthcare or financial areas but there are a lot more good use cases for that.
The rules can be based on:
- IP addresses
- MAC addresses
- User groups
- Client hostname
After applying the rules through the Group Policy Object, the information about printers and rules cab be found in the virtual desktops registry at key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\ThinPrint\tpautoconnect.
The Group Policy for the Location based Printing feature is called AutoConnect Location based Printing for VMware View. Before you can see the policy template in the Group Policy Editor, you’ve to register a special DLL file which you’ll find on the View Connection Server at C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\Extras\GroupPolicyFiles\ThinPrint. There are two subfolders, one of 32-Bit, the other for 64-Bit systems. The DLL name is TPVMGPoAmap.dll. Just copy the DLL to your administrator workstation and register it with command: regsvr32 "C:\folder\TPVMGPoACmap.dll"
After a successful import you’ll see the new Group Policy in the Group Policy Editor.
With the new feature you get an editor with which you can add/edit and delete the rules.
In this editor you can add each entry manually or use an CSV file to do a mass import of rules. You’ll see the following fields in the table: Default, IP Range, Client Name, MAC address, User/Group, Printer Name, Printer Driver and IP Port / Thin Print Port. Most of the parameters are self explaining but it is important, that the printer driver is exactly matching the name of the driver on the virtual desktop, also the printer name. When you add a IP port for the network printer, don’t forget to add the prefix IP_ e.g. IP_192.168.178.100.
I really like the Location based Printing feature. When I was an administrator for Terminal Servers in a bank years ago we were looking for exactly that functionality. At this time we had to build our own solution based on VB scripts and a MS Access database which contained the rules. That was a headache!