Printers installed using the same driver and port on Windows are grouped as one when viewed within Devices and Printers

Symptoms

Consider this scenario;

  • A computer running a version of Windows listed in the Applies To section
  • Install two or more printers utilizing the same printer driver and installed with the same printer port (i.e. LPT1)
  • View the installed printers within 'Devices and Printers'

In this scenario, when viewing the installed printers within 'Devices and Printers' you may notice that some of the printers are grouped together and are associated with the same printer icon.

Cause

This is an expected behavior.

Resolution

To work around this issue you can use the following steps to create a Printers desktop icon that will list the installed printers separately:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Click the Start button > type “REGEDIT.EXE” without the quotes and press the enter key) When prompted with User Account Control select Yes.
  2. Expand to and selected the following registry key
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace
  3. Right click on the NameSpace registry key and choose ‘New Key’, enter the following GUID for the new registry key name (be sure to include the brackets)
    {2227a280-3aea-1069-a2de-08002b30309d}
  4. In the right pane, right-click the registry value (Default) and choose Modify, for the Value data enter “Printers” without the quotes
  5. Close Registry Editor
  6. Right-click on the Desktop and select “Refresh”

    Note: After selecting refresh of the desktop a new desktop icon called ‘Printers’ will appear. Double-clicking on the new Printers icon you will be able to see the installed printers separately. You can also Add, Remove, View, or Manage the print queues, change printer settings, and choose printer preferences from within this new Printers Desktop icon.

More Information

There are several factors which contribute to the printer grouping as well as the type of device as with the more common Multi-Function Printers. The way that printers are grouped or not depends on the following factors:

  1. Same driver. 
  2. Same Port. 
  3. Same HardwareID.

Typically it is identified that if the devices use the same HardwareID means same hardware printers, drivers may be different, PS, PCL, etc. The determining factor is the port and the HardwareID.

For more information on Windows 7 Device Experience, visit the following web site: 
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/br259107.aspx

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Article ID: 2015694 - Last Review: Jul 8, 2013 - Revision: 1

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