Using a Windows Printer from the Command Line

Getting a Windows network printer to work from Linux can be difficult. That is, it normally works just fine, but if it doesn't work, using the CUPS interface at http://localhost:631 or the graphical system-config-printerclient is tedious.

Recently, I had the case that the IT department had changed the addressing scheme for a network printer and our old configuration, both on macOS and Linux didn't work.

Testing printing from the command line was a lot easier to try out all the different combinations with work groups, hostname and queue name. Besides, it's fiddly to set user credentials in both standard CUPS (you put it in the URL) or in the graphical client (illogical sub dialogues, removes context++).

Turns out, the CLI is the most userfriendly and powerful interface of them all.

To print a local file called my.pdf on a Windows printer with hostname on the queye called printer-queue-name which is in the Windows work group <workgroup> and requires Active Directory credentials for <user>, do:

$ smbclient \
  -W <workgroup> \
  -U <user> \
  // \
  -c "print my.pdf"
Enter user's password: 
Domain=[MYWORKGROUP] OS=[Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard 9600] Server=[Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard 6.3]
putting file my.pdf as my.pdf (381.3 kb/s) (average 381.3 kb/s)

On Debian based systems, the smbclient can be installed with:

# apt-get install smbclient

Happy printing!

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