IT Guinea Pigs and 3ex.net

You know how it is. Something just works and you’re happy. Then along comes a change, out of the blue and everything goes completely awry.

For us this was a simple change in hosting for a 3ex.net client that caused all the fun and games. Originally the client was hosted in our hosting facility in Chorley, however, due to their requirements we decided to move them to an external hosting provider. The move caused a small but as it turns out significant change in the way their system works. Whilst with us the hosting server was part of our domain but once moved to the external hosting company it was a workgroup member.

This was when we discovered that a simple thing like printing was not so simple as we first thought. For 3ex.net to print efficiently over remote links printers have to be setup as local printers even if they are not. We discovered that at the external hosting provider we were just not able to setup the printers the way we wanted. Many frustrating days were spent trying to get around the problem of setting up local printers. We trawled through numerous Google articles, posted requests for help on various forums but to no avail. Nothing we tried worked.

One night I remembered a conversation I’d had whilst on site at another client with a pretty knowledgeable engineer who mentioned password equivalency for Administrator accounts allowed for transparent printing. At this point I thought we had cracked it, and we almost had. We tried the solution here on test systems and everything worked a treat. When we tried it for the client we still couldn’t get printing to work as we needed. Much banging of heads against walls ensued. Finally we discovered the secret, the final piece of the jigsaw so to speak. Windows Home editions have a hidden Administrator account which needs enabling and configuring. Once this was done everything just fell into place.

What I am trying to say is that sometimes working with computers is more art than science, what seems logical and should just work doesn’t always. It takes that random connection, such as remembering a previous conversation, to trigger a process that provides a solution. Every time we try something new there will always be an element of being a guinea pig while we come up with a working solution.

Here’s the technical bit: How to setup local printers in a work group environment for 3ex.net.

by Gemma Tomlinson on 02/03/2012

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