When printing from Windows computers, why does the print notification occasionally go to the wrong computer?

If a Windows print server is configured to reply when a print job completes successfully, it sometimes sends the notification to the wrong computer, or you may receive a notification that was intended for a different person.

This happens most commonly when you are logged into your computer as computername\Administrator. When you send a print job to a network printer, that print job is identified by the username you used to log into your computer. Because Administrator is a common username that many people use to log into their computers, the print server cannot differentiate between users logged in with the same username at different computers; therefore, print notifications may go to the wrong person.

Indiana University policy Security of Information Technology Resources (IT-12) requires that you normally refrain from running your Windows computer as an administrator. For more, see About the principle of least privilege.

This may also happen if you are logged into multiple computers at the same time. When you print from any of these computers, the notification will always go to the first computer that you logged into.

At Indiana University, to ensure that you do not receive errant print notification, always use your ADS username to log into your Windows computer, and always log out of each computer when you are done using it. For more information on using your ADS username, consult your computing support provider, or see Configure your Windows computer to connect to IU's ADS domain

At IU, this behavior is a function of the centralized WINS architecture. Each time you log into a computer, the WINS server registers the username you used. WINS keeps track of your username, but not the computer or domain from which you logged in. Also, every registration with WINS must be unique. Therefore, when you log into a second computer using the same username, the WINS server cannot record your second login. As a result, no matter how many computers you log into with the same username, print notifications always go to the computer that was able to properly register with the WINS server.

This information was adapted from Microsoft Help and Support article 101867.

This is document akje in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2017-05-16 12:10:49.

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