Subscriber Sandra Day wrote me asking for help:
Hi Terry. I recently bought a new Dell Latitude laptop. I have a Sharp copier that doubles as a printer and works fine with a parallel connection to my desktop computer. My computer tech set up a wireless router, downloaded the correct printer driver, and had the printer working fine with my laptopbut a day or two later when I tried to print a document, I got a window saying “Windows cannot print due to a problem with the printer setup.” One of the solutions was to download a new driver. So after 20-30 minutes of troubleshooting on the phone with my computer tech, we got it working again … for a day or so. As it turned out, every time I shut down my laptop or moved it to another room, it lost the connection with the printer and wouldn’t work until we did another complete setup, new driver and all. Do you know what could be causing this and what the fix might be? Thanks!
I wrote back to Sandra to say "Windows generally does not like parallel connections any more. Windows XP took a number of steps away from parallel ports — and they are no longer standard on new desktops or laptops. I think it’s time to retire the Sharp and go to a USB model.
Second thought — check to see if your printer has both parallel and USB support. Mine does. Several years ago, I just unplugged the parallel port cable and connected a USB cable — it’s been more reliable AND faster."
Sandra wrote back to ask
Terry, the Sharp printer doesn’t have a USB port, but I was told I could get an adapter to plug it in to the USB on my desktop, which is my older computer. Do you think that’s likely to help my laptop connect via wireless?
The older desktop (which has XP) works fine with the parallel connection.
I wrote back to say that the adapters are pretty expensive — the ones I looked at were $50-60 for the cable-type adapter. I don’t know how well they work.
If you can get the desktop to share the printer, then should be able to print via it. At that point, the XP computer is handling the port and the notebook is just sending the data to the XP computer.
Sandra chose he smart solution at this point:
The two computers were sharing the printer and working fine for a while, but
the laptop lost the connection every time I turned it off and wouldn’t work
again until I reset up everything. Oh well, guess it’s time to give this one
up. I just bought a new wireless printer. Thanks for your help!
Sandra writes with questions and a few other subscribers do, too. They know that I like to answer questions by email in addition to using them as the basis for a (usually) expanded article for the newsletter.