Subscriber Terry Nobbe had printer problems. Not just any problems, but problems accessing a shared printer on his home network:
I’m having difficulty accessing my wife’s Canon printer (attached via USB) unless I detach the printer from her laptop (WIN7 Home Edition) and connect it directly to my laptop (WINXP SP3).
Both our laptops are connected wirelessly (internet) and via network cables to our Linksys E1200 router and we have sharing enabled for all pertinent features on both laptops.
Terry’s problem is one that more people are discovering as they upgrade one of several computers on their home network.
For a while, new Windows computers have come with 64-bit processors (CPU’s) and have run 64-bit versions of Windows. That’s all well and good.
The problem occurs if you have remaining computer(s) on your home network that are still running 32-bit versions of Windows.
The differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows are generally transparent and not a problem on the same network. One computer does not interfere with the other’s functionality. Using Windows File & Printer Sharing works fine for sharing files across the network.
The problem is that the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows actually do not play well together for a shared printer. If the shared printer is connected to the 64-bit computer, the 32-bit computer is unable to access it. If the shared printer is connected to the 32-bt computer, the 64-bit computer is unable to access it.
I ran into the problem when I was using my old Dell Inspiron 8600 notebook computer. This computer dated back to 2004 and Windows XP. The processor was a 32-bit processor and, of course, it used the 32-bit version of Windows XP.
I upgraded the computer to 32-bit Windows 7 and everything still worked fine. The problem came when I upgraded my wife’s computer with 64-bit Windows 7. Now, she couldn’t print to the printer shared by my old Windows XP desktop.
After fighting the problem for a while, including moving the printer as Terry did, and trying different configurations, I finally fixed the problem by doing something I had wanted to do for a while. I got a Buffalo USB Network Print Server.
That enabled me to do two things. First, I was able to sidestep the inability of 32-bit vs 64-bit printer sharing by connecting the printer directly to the network. Second, I no longer needed the computer hosting the printer to be turned on — since the printer was now free-standing on the network.
That solution worked for both my wired and wireless computers. But, it didn’t solve the problem for my iPhone and iPad printing. I solved that with another change about six months later — Networking Printers for Computers, iPhones and iPads