The Printers preference extension allows you to create, configure and delete shared printer connections by using the Shared Printers preference item. Before you create a Shared Printer preference item, you should review the behavior of each type of action possible with the extension.

Creating a Shared Printer item

To create a new Shared Printer preference item
  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console. Right-click the Group Policy object (GPO) that should contain the new preference item, and then click Edit.

  2. In the console tree under User Configuration, expand the Preferences folder, and then expand the Control Panel Settings folder.

  3. Right-click the Printers node, point to New, and select Shared Printer.

  4. In the New Shared Printer Properties dialog box, select an Action for Group Policy to perform. (For more information, see "Actions" in this topic.)

  5. Enter shared printer settings for Group Policy to configure or remove. (For more information, see "Shared printer settings" in this topic.)

  6. Click the Common tab, configure any options, and then type your comments in the Description box. (For more information, see Configure Common Options.)

  7. Click OK. The new preference item appears in the details pane.


This type of preference item provides a choice of four actions: Create, Replace, Update, and Delete. The behavior of the preference item varies with the action selected and whether the printer connection already exists.


Create a new shared printer connection. If a local printer with the same name exists, then it does not modify it.


Remove a shared printer connection with the same share path. The extension performs no action if the shared printer connection does not exist.


This action does not remove the printer driver. It only removes the shared printer connection.


Delete and recreate the shared printer connection. The net result of the Replace action overwrites all existing settings associated with the shared printer connection. If the shared printer connection does not exist, then the Replace action creates a new shared printer connection.


Modify a shared printer connection. The action differs from Replace in that it updates the settings defined within the preference item. All other settings remain as they were previously configured. If the shared printer connection does not exist, then the Update action creates a new shared printer connection.

Shared Printer settings

Share path

Type or click Browse (…) to choose a fully qualified UNC path of a shared printer.

Set this printer as the default printer

Select this check box to make the shared printer connection the default Windows printer for the current user.

Only if a local printer is not present

Select this check box to bypass changing the default printer if there is a local printer configured on the computer. This setting is unavailable until you select the Set this printer as the default printer check box.


A local printer is any printer that is not connected to a shared network printer. This includes physical printers connected to parallel, serial, and USB ports, TCP/IP printers, and virtual printers installed through software.

Delete all shared printer connections

Select this check box if you want to delete all shared printer connections for the current user. This setting is available only when the preference item's action is set to Delete

Local Port

Choose a local port to which you want the shared connection mapped. This setting is optional.


When the Local Port box contains a value and the preference item action is set to Delete, the preference extension deletes the shared printer connection associated with that local port.


Select this check box if you want the shared printer connection persistent. This option is unavailable until you choose a value from the Local Port list.

Unmap all local ports

Select this check box if you want shared printer connections from all local ports. This setting is available only when the preference item's action is set to Delete.

Additional considerations

  • When processing shared printer items, the Printers extension always installs the printer driver in the security context specified on the Common tab.

  • Shared Printer items always use the security context of the current user to map printer connections and set the default printer status.

  • You can use item-level targeting to change the scope of preference items.

  • Preference items are available only in domain-based GPOs.

Additional references