12 Jul 2011

A Geek Evening

In my other life I am a geek. Really, that probably doesn't seem possible to you but yes it is true.

Our wonderful network, which I really do love, is a mix of computers of varying ages with 3 different Operating Systems (OS). I thought I was doing well to get them all talking nicely together until my wonderful husband decided he wanted to print something from his laptop. Easy ... uhm no, but, yes, in an imperfect workaround kind of way.

The situation:

The printer is hooked to the desk top which runs Windows XP (a 32 bit OS) while his laptop runs Windows 7 (a 64 bit OS), meaning Windows thinks that different drivers are needed. Well, they are, but they also are not available for this situation: a 32 bit print server and 64 bit client. What to do?

Convince windows to use the drivers on the 32 bit machine.

That's getting a bit ahead of myself, although that was what I was thinking. First I had to convince myself that Win7 would actually print to that printer so I hooked the printer directly to the laptop and installed it as a local printer. This worked like a charm and I discovered that the printer drivers were part of Win7. oem21.inf is such a descriptive file name I am certain given enough time I would have figured out that that should have read canonprinters.inf.

Moving along, now I have the drivers available, and I can print to the printer but what I really want is the printer off of the dining room table and onto its shelf.

If you should happen to ever need this solution here it is:

A local printer, by default installs to LPT1 (or possibly LPT2).
These are just labels for telling the printer where to send the data,
much like you can save to drive C: or D:. Another aside LPT is an
abbreviation from the stone age that refers to Line PrinTer.

The trick then is to tell Win7 to use the same port (and hence same drivers) as XP. That is quite doable!
drivers are just instructions that tell windows how to do things.

First, I double checked to make sure I had the settings correct on the XP machine to allow it to share its printer,

After the printer was installed, I moved it back to it's home, reconnected it the the XP machine and took the laptop and a cup of tea into another room - sanity demanded this. Then I reconfigured the ports. Which really isn't all that scarey. The worst that could have happened is it wouldn't have worked, which was no worse.

1. Click the start menu, select Devices and Printers
2. Right click "myprinter", click Printer Properties and select ports tab
6. Click Add Port, select Local Port, then click New Port
7. For the port name, enter the network path and share name of the
printer, be acurate. This time it was \\MOTHERSHIP\i550. Double-check that the
new port is selected with the checkbox next to it.
8. Close the printer properties.
9. print a test page and celebrate! Now I will be able to set this up next time.

I admire you if you read this far. Thanks

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