I have two young kids who have gotten rather computer saavy. They love playing their games, especially when it allows them to print out awards or coloring pages.

Unfortunately this means that in the time it takes to refresh my cup of coffee, they can easily drop a 10 page document into the printer queue, and my printer ink runs out rather fast.

How would I setup some kind of password protection on the printing, so that I would have to do some kind of final approval before they get their printouts?

  • I like this question - curious to see if there are any solutions... +1! – studiohack Feb 23 '11 at 14:44
  • What printer do you have? Is this a networked printer or locally attached? – Aaron McIver Feb 23 '11 at 14:54
  • Is "putting the paper on a shelf where they can't reach it" an option? For that matter, is putting the PRINTER on a shelf where they can't reach it an option? – Shinrai Feb 23 '11 at 15:18
  • It is an HP Photosmart C4740 All-in-One Printer that has wireless built into it. – Dillie-O Feb 23 '11 at 15:19
  • @Shinrai: Lack of paper/position has merit, but they could still send jobs to the queue, and I don't necessarily want to have to clear out 10 jobs when I need to print something as well. – Dillie-O Feb 23 '11 at 15:21

You could try PrintLock.

Just install PRINTLOCK and provide the printer password of your choice. Whenever someone tries to print, a dialog box will automatically pop-up asking for a printer password. If the correct password is given, PRINTLOCK will release the print job, if not, it will delete it.

I have not tried this but I imagine it just controls the Print spooler. I don't think it would be too hard to code up such a program.

  • As a note based on reviews from CNET download.cnet.com/PrintLock/3000-2088_4-10880580.html#rateit it looks like you can kill the process for the app via task manager; not sure how old the kids are or if this is indeed a concern. – Aaron McIver Feb 23 '11 at 15:04
  • +1, never used but looks good. – Shinrai Feb 23 '11 at 15:23
  • Fortunately they aren't THAT smart yet (only 5) but they really know how to get around on the computer already. 8^D – Dillie-O Feb 23 '11 at 15:23

An alternative to purchasing software would be using the Guest account built into Windows 7, since all my kids are doing are running a couple of programs and visiting a few websites. I could restrict (if not done already) the printer to the Guest account, which should leverage UAC to have an admin account approve any printing.

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