How to print to a shared printer, or archive to a shared folder

Introduction

Even though RPM Remote Print Manager® (RPM) is a virtual printer, the part that does the actual printing runs as a Windows service on your computer. Without logon credentials, RPM cannot print to shared printers or archive to shared folders.

Your Windows network protects shared printers and folders using logon credentials. Credentials prevent people from outside your network getting access to your printers and folders unless they have a valid login.

Logon credentials

Let’s take a look at the credentials used for a text print action. The other actions that use credentials work much the same way.

The credentials droplist is at the top. Notice that “no credentials” is the default. Also shown are credentials for the BROOKS domain and the user 'dave'. If we selected BROOKS\dave then this action would use Dave’s logon credentials, and any printer or shared drive that Dave can access when he’s logged in would be available to RPM as well.

text print action showing credentials
Text Print action showing credentials

This is what the action dialog shows if we had previously selected Dave:

Text Print action credentials with dave
Text Print action credentials with dave

Now let’s add a user. Click the Add User button.

add user credentials
add user credentials

Here we have entered the user test in the BROOKS domain and entered a password. RPM will store the password encrypted; it never passes “over the wire” as clear text.

The Interactive checkbox is explained below.

Once we click OK, these logon credentials are available to any action in RPM. Of course, you would have to select those credentials to use them.

The only caveat to creating credentials is that the RPM user interface checks the user and password before storing. If you have a non-existent user or wrong password you’ll see this:

Logon failure warning
Logon failure warning

What happens when we text print with credentials

Any time RPM runs an action on a print job, the resources for that action are separate from the rest of RPM’s processing. If you have configured RPM to use logon credentials for that action, then only that action will have those credentials.

It works more or less like this:

  1. RPM does a temporary login using the credentials
  2. RPM does the one action
  3. RPM logs off

The rights of that login will not “leak” into any other processing RPM is doing. The rights are isolated to the action being performed on that print job, and only to that action and that print job.

Other actions with credentials

Just like the Text print action, the Raw print action uses credentials:

Raw Print action credentials
Raw Print action credentials

The Archive to Folder action uses credentials to write to shared file systems:

Archive to Folder action credentials
Archive to Folder action credentials

Similarly, the filter action uses credentials and has the ‘interact with desktop’ option:

Filter Action credentials
Filter Action credentials

Interactive processing

One thing we found with printing is that Windows expects print drivers to not need the user’s desktop, but in actual practice, this is often not the case. We noticed for some printers, you could print just fine in a normal login session, but nothing happened when you tried to print from the RPM service.

We overcame this by giving actions the ability to interact with the desktop.

When you text print or raw print with the Interactive setting, you should be able to see any printer dialogs or status you need to. This works best if the credentials for the print action are the same as your normal Windows login.

When you run a filter with “interact with desktop” then you’ll be able to see the program on your desktop. For instance, you can use the Windows Notepad application as a filter, and see your print jobs in a window.