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What Is Printer Pooling?

You can make office printing more efficient through printer pooling. Find out how with help from EasyTech.

Everyone has felt the stress of trying to print an important document just as a coworker unleashes a mammoth print job. You hover over the printer’s output tray or rush back to your PC, impatiently checking your document’s status in the print queue. Meanwhile, the printer grinds out page after page of someone else’s work.

Printer pooling can put those days behind you — and boost efficiency in your office. Here’s how.

Making Printing Simpler

Printer pooling is a standard feature of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 that allows users to share printer functionality across multiple printers. This arrangement automatically routes your print job to a printer that’s available.

Pools make better use of office resources, and save everyone time they would otherwise spend waiting for documents or canceling and resending print jobs.

Get Started

Configuring a pool requires that you use two or more printers of the same model. You can add as many printers as you like, but they must all use the same type of driver (how the PC communicates with the printer) so identical printers work best. You could use a varied spread of old and new printers, but the system will be a bit more complex to manage and could be less efficient. An ideal arrangement places the printers side by side or, for large companies, in a dedicated print room. This prevents the annoyance of wandering the office in search of the printer that handled your request.

Set Up Your Network in Three Steps

From every computer in your network (using Windows 7):

•    Go to the Control Panel and select Add Printer.

•    Add each printer individually, giving each a unique name.

•    Select all the printers you’ve added, click Properties and then Ports, and then check the Enable Printer Pooling box.

It’s that simple.

You’ll see the benefits of the pool immediately. From here on out, all requests are handled by the first available printer. Anytime a printer jams or runs out of paper or toner, another printer will take over.

Please note: if you need to take a printer out of the pool, you must remove it from every computer on the network.

A Good Bet for Any Business

Printer pools work well for offices of any size. And since Windows lets you add unlimited printers to a pool, it’s a solution that can grow with your business.

Remember that a few saved minutes a day add up quickly, so hassle-free printing can boost productivity for everyone in the office. Just don’t wait until you’re frantically trying to print that critical memo, meeting agenda or boarding pass to decide it’s time to make the switch.

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