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Uniquely Identifying Printers with the Same or Similar Name – SENTINEL Problem Article

Summary

This Article provides tips on how you to manage large number of printers in SENTINEL.

Explanation

Two factors can make it hard to differentiate printers in SENTINEL:

  1. SENTINEL can often be used to manage a very large number of printers
  2. Duplicate names generated by the default naming convention for TEKLYNX and Windows drivers makes it difficult to tell them apart

#1. Managing a Large Number of Printers

SENTINEL is an excellent tool for automated label printing and is often tasked with sending print jobs to a large number of printers.  We have seen it used in conjunction with ERP systems (SAP, Oracle, etc), integrates with homegrown databases. In some cases, one SENTINEL server handles large number of printers simultaneously. We have seen as many as 90 printers on one server.

#2. Duplicate Names

Most organizations, to reduce printer maintenance and support, will use the same (or as few as possible) make and model of printer throughout the enterprise.  With a large number of printers of same make and model, it can be very challenging to keep track of all the printers. SENTINEL can use both TEKLYNX embedded or native drivers for each printer. However, using either type of printer drive can create the same problem of duplicate names.

When installing Windows print drivers, the printer manufacturer installer application will often use the same default name for each driver / printer queue created with the exception of a “(Copy 1)” or similar designation to keep the name unique. This notation does keep the names unique but does little to help the user match the driver / printer queue to the correct printer. In Windows, you can rename the printers to represent their locations, department or functions.

Default Windows Printer Driver Names

When you install a TEKLYNX printer drivers (aka ‘native driver’) by using the “New Printer” feature in CODESOFT of SENTINEL, the program will assign a default printer name too. The name assigned is simply the printer make and model. Similar to Windows, the name assigned to different printers of the same make and model is not very descriptive (“Copy (2)…”, “Copy (3)…”, etc.)

Default TEKLYNX Embedded Driver Names

Solution

Best Method of Identifying Printers in SENTINEL (Assign Alias Names):

Assign an alias to each printer.  Click here for instructions on how assign alias to a printer.  Using this method, the original printer names which include printer make and model are not altered. You can also use the same naming convention across BOTH printers using Windows and TEKLYNX embedded drivers.

Example of Using Printer Aliases in SENTINEL

Two Other Methods of Naming Printers Uniquely:

  1. Name the ports uniquely
  2. Use CODESOFT to rename the printer

When you have multiple of the same printer make and model, you can distinguish them by their connection port (USB, LPT, COM, or IP address).  You can also change the printer  default name, only through CODESOFT, by selecting the printer and press F2.  Warning about changing printer names via CODESOFT…Unlike Windows, once the ‘native driver’ printer is renamed, you will loose the identity of the printer driver. In other words, you can no longer tell which TEKLYNX printer driver was assigned to the printer.

Updated on May 7, 2018

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