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ThinPrint Printer Dashboard review: First Look

Managing printers doesn't have to be taxing as Kat Orphanides find outs when she puts the Printer Dashboard management utility to the test.

DASHBOARD HOME SCREEN

Once the agent's installed, all you need to do is refresh the web page. It'll list all the printers on your network as well as any local or logical printer drivers installed on the PC with the agent on it. It'll also display any errors or alerts they're currently experiencing, the number of pages printed (with figures for the the last 24 hours highlighted) and your most used printers.

Because the agent detects any device configured as a printer, it'll not only show network and local USB printers and MFPs, but also Windows' Fax output, XPS document writers and any other utilities that act as a printer device.

Because the agent detects any device configured as a printer, it'll not only show network and local USB printers and MFPs, but also Windows' Fax output, XPS document writers and any other utilities that act as a printer device, such as many PDF conversion utilities. It should also work with NAS -connected printers, although we weren't able to test this. One of our network printers appeared twice; once under the name of the driver installed on the local PC and once under the name we'd given it on the network.

PRINTERS SCREEN

The Printers tab on the left-hand side of the Dashboard lets you view more information about your printers. There are two tabs: one is for network printers, and the other - labelled "Printer objects" - lists all the other printer drivers and other utilities that use the same protocol (such as PDF writers and the Windows Fax interface that we mentioned previously). It's also the only place you'll be able to view any USB printers that are connected to the local PC.

If you highlight any printer, the Dashboard will display some basic information, including how much toner or ink remains and any error messages. Unfortunately, these aren't always easy to interpret. In the case of our Samsung ML-1630W wireless mono laser printer an empty paper tray was indicated by the somewhat arcane message: "subunit empty (input)". Hopefully, cryptic errors like this will be ironed out and replaced with more informative error messages during the beta testing process.

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