Universal Print allows organizations to migrate most of their printing infrastructure to the cloud. The service comprises a SaaS component on Azure, including the management tools, a built-in client for internet printing in Windows 10, and a connector to utilize legacy printers. This article shows you how to set up a printing environment based on Universal Print.

Current printers in most organizations are not able to communicate with Universal Print directly. This capability requires special printer firmware that supports the communication protocols that the Universal Print service uses. For legacy hardware, the Universal Print Connector serves as a proxy between the printers and the service in Microsoft Azure.

In most environments, the first step in setting up Universal Print is to install the connector. The connector advertises the printers to the cloud service. The Universal Print Connector has some system requirements, as detailed in the Microsoft documentation. They include:

  • Universal Print is enabled in your Azure tenant
  • Your user account has the role Printer Administrator or Global Administrator
  • Your user account is assigned a Universal Print license
  • Windows 10 64-bit, Pro or Enterprise, version 1809 or later, or Windows Server 2016 64-bit or later
  • The host PC must have access to the following internet destinations: *.print.microsoft.com, *.microsoftonline.com, *.azure.com, *.msftauth.net, go.microsoft.com, aka.ms

You can download the Universal Print Connector here.

Installing the Universal Print Connector ^

I have a Windows 10 Pro 1909 virtual machine with a single HP LaserJet 451 printer installed in my lab environment. This VM houses the Universal Print Connector installation. After you have downloaded the Universal Print Connector, the installation is a simple "next, next, finish" process.

Setup progress of the Universal Print Connector

Setup progress of the Universal Print Connector

As the Universal Print Connector setup finishes successfully, click the Launch button.

Universal Print Connector setup finished successfully

Universal Print Connector setup finished successfully

Registering the Universal Print Connector with Azure ^

Once you choose to launch the utility, you will see the Universal Print connector configuration dialog screen. It will have you log in using your organization account. As a reminder, this needs to be a user with the Printer Administrator or Global Administrator role. There is a note about diagnostic information. You can change the diagnostics configuration once you log in with your organization account.

Log in with your Global Print Administrator account for Microsoft Azure

Log in with your Global Print Administrator account for Microsoft Azure

Once you have logged in, configure the connector name, and click Register. Once the connector service is registered, it holds the credentials for connecting to Azure AD. You can log out of the configuration utility when finished.

Registering your Universal Print Connector with Microsoft Azure

Registering your Universal Print Connector with Microsoft Azure

As soon as you have the Universal Print Connector connected to your Microsoft Azure environment, the utility provides the interface to configure your printers and other settings. Under the Available Printers area, you will see the printers available. Place a check next to those you want to register, and click the Register button.

Choose the printer to register with the Universal Print service

Choose the printer to register with the Universal Print service

This action will add the printer to the list of registered devices in the connector.

The printer is successfully registered with Universal Print

The printer is successfully registered with Universal Print

Managing Universal Print in Microsoft Azure ^

To manage the Universal Print solution, you need to log into the Microsoft Azure portal. Search for Universal Print in the Search resources, services, and docs search box. Once you click the Universal Print service, you will see its management options. There, you can manage printers, shares, and connectors.

Managing Universal Print in Microsoft Azur

Managing Universal Print in Microsoft Azur

We see the printers registered in the Universal Print Connector. Notice that the status is "not shared."

Viewing printers registered with Universal Print

Viewing printers registered with Universal Print

We can easily create a shared printer by clicking Add in the Printer Shares section.

Creating a new Universal Printer share

Creating a new Universal Printer share

This opens the Create printer share dialog box. Choose a share name, select a printer, and select members of the organization granted access to the Universal Print shared printer.

Sharing a local printer in Universal Print

Sharing a local printer in Universal Print

After returning to the overview, the printer will be marked as Printer Shared. There you can also see if the device is ready.

Viewing the Universal Print printers after sharing

Viewing the Universal Print printers after sharing

Adding the Universal Print cloud printer to an endpoint ^

Since the Universal Print cloud printer is shared from the cloud, we can add the printer to an endpoint. Once a Windows 10 client is joined to the organization in Azure AD, you can launch the Windows 10 Printers & Scanners app and search for available printers.

You will see your shared printer available. Amazingly, there is nothing special that needs to be configured on the Windows 10 client. The Windows 10 machine can connect to the Universal Print shared printer from anywhere in the world.

The Universal Print cloud printer is now available on an endpoint

The Universal Print cloud printer is now available on an endpoint

If you are running a Windows 10 20xx version, the Universal Print Class driver is loaded automatically and by default.

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Viewing the cloud printer in Windows 10

Viewing the cloud printer in Windows 10

Wrapping up ^

Universal Print is a powerful solution from Microsoft that takes on-premises printing and "cloudifies" it by connecting local printers with Azure Active Directory. As shown, you will need to install the Universal Print Connector to use traditional printers with the Universal Print service, unless you have newer printers with supported firmware versions.

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3 Comments
  1. Ron S MVP 2010-2018 6 months ago

    This is great for businesses using Azure.  What about small business and home users with "legacy" printers. Is there any chance of connecting them?

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  2. Htin Soe 1 month ago

    By default, the Universal Print Class driver is loaded automatically but no colour option available to choose as the driver is no compatible with our printer copier.. how do we set up to load different default printer driver such as Toshibal universal Printer 2..?

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  3. Edgar 3 weeks ago

    How bout if we have 1 printer registered in one connector but to have some redundancy I want to register that same printer in another print connector device. For example:
    - 1 device with windows 10 and print connector has printer "PrinterXYZ" registered.
    - Another Windows 10 device and I want to register the same printer "Printer XYZ" in case my first Windows 10 device is powered off.
    Is it possible to have that "kind of" load balancing with print connector?

    I know that best practices is to have this installed on server that is on 24/7 but bear with me and let me know if that's possible to achieve?

    thank you

    0

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