I’ve written several times recently about my frustration with my HP Laserjet 1200 in a mixed Windows XP 32-bit, Windows 7 64-bit and Windows 7 32-bit network. That’s all solved now!
The Laserjet 1200 worked fine, shared through one of my Windows XP 32-bit computers, when all the computers on the network were 32-bit whether they were Windows 7 or Windows XP. All of the computers could use the Laserjet 1200 for printing, as long as the Windows XP computer sharing it was turned on.
However, once I introduced 64-bit Windows 7 computers to the mix, the Windows 7 64-bit computers could not print through the 32-bit Windows XP-shared printer.
I tested with the LaserJet 1200 hooked directly to the Windows 7 64-bit computer. It was recognized and used without any problem.
After some emails with a subscriber, I tried the solution that worked for her with a different brand of printer — using the 64-bit Windows 7 computer to share the printer. Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me.
When going from 32-bit to 64-bit or vice versa, Windows XP and Windows 7 could not find the printer in order to add it. Apparently, the problem was that the printer drivers could not handle the transition between 32 and 64-bit versions.
I solved that problem this week. I converted the printer into a networked printer for about $50.
I shopped a number of times for a print server that used an Ethernet connection to the network and a USB 2.0 connection to the printer. I would read the user comments and reviews on the shopping sites. After reading them, I was re-invigorated in my efforts to solve the sharing problem. Too many people were reporting problems.
I finally found one that I was willing to buy, a Buffalo Network USB 2.0 Print Server.
How big is it? You get an idea from the image above, which has the USB and Ethernet cables hooked into it. It’s about 3.6 inches long by 2 inches wide, and 1.1 inch thick. It weighs only 3.2 ounces (90.7 grams).
The lights, which overwhelmed my iPhone camera’s sensors, are a bright green. The LAN and USB lights blink to show activity. The power cable goes to a small transformer block. The USB cable goes to the printer. The network cable goes to your router, switch or hub.
The unit itself is set to get an IP address via DHCP. It’s not wireless, but you can print from a laptop computer connected to your wireless network. In that case, the laptop connects wirelessly to the wireless router, which then connects to the USB print server via a wired connection.
Connecting it to the network and printer was easy. Configuring it for the network wasn’t too difficult, nor was configuring the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows XP computers to use it. It was a little more complicated than the usual Add A Printer steps, though.