Windows 7 64-bit vs Windows XP 32-bit Printer Sharing Problems

Recently, subscriber Karen wrote to say that she was having troubles with Windows Vista 64-bit. She was working through them, but she wasn’t happy.

I wrote back to Karen that if she upgrades to Windows 7 64 from Vista 64, I think she’ll be a lot happier. I never ran Vista, but the reports and comments I’ve read say that Windows 7 is faster, more stable and less interfering that is Vista. I know I really like Windows 7, whether in 32-bit or 64-bit.

The only problems I’ve seen with Windows 7 versus XP were the typical driver issues, where a manufacturer didn’t want to write a new driver, they wanted to sell a new scanner or new scanner software, or a new $15 PCI fax-modem (add-on, not one that came in a purchased computer system) — with one exception.

I don’t know if this is a widespread issue or simply with Windows 7 64-bit to Windows XP 32-bit. My old HP Laserjet 1200 works fine with Windows XP 32-bit, including printer sharing with my notebook which run 32-bit Windows 7. It also works perfectly if i directly connect it to a WIndows 7 64-bit computer.

However, from a Windows 7 64-bit computer to the Windows XP 32-bit computer that’s sharing the printer, Windows 7 can not download a printer driver from the XP 32-bit computer. In fact, it looks at the Windows XP 32-bit computer, but can’t find the shared printer. Obviously it needs a 64-bit driver.

So, I directly connected to the printer and set up the printer in Windows 7 64-bit. Worked fine. But, when I moved the printer back to the Windows XP 32-bit computer, the Win7-64 computer still couldn’t connect to the shared printer.

I wish Windows 7 would allow me to load the 64-bit driver in my 64-bit machine, and somehow recognize that the computer to which I’m trying to connect is sharing a printer via a 32-bit Windows system, and then automatically translate as necessary.

Again, I don’t know if this is a Windows 7 problem or a Windows XP problem.

For now, my Windows 7 64-bit computers are printing via my HP Color Laserjet CP1518n. It’s directly connected to my network, rather than being shared via another computer, so each computer can access and find it without any problem.

My solution for the Laserjet 1200 probably is to get a third-party network printserver to USB connector.

I asked Karen if she was having the same problem with Vista and shared printers on 32-bit computers?

Karen wrote back to report:

Hi Terry
I am considering upgrading but its just not right. Instead of fixing Vista, to me it just seems they skipped right over it and created 7. I have been determined to make Vista work. I really think it’s the 64 bit that’s messed up. I don’t really believe it was my av/firewall suite that messed it up, but of course its what Microsoft Certified techs tell me. MS even send me a cd/dvd of Vista64 Home Premium to reinstall rather than try to help me with my numerous problems. They’ll give away the installation disks which has probably never happened before. Normally they just tell you to "recover" .
But I have friends with Vista 64 and no problems, however they hardly use their machines. Unlike me.

Anyway, I can’t really address the question you asked because my sharing is set up differently. I am sharing my HP OJ5780 (which is connected via usb cable TO my Vista 64bit machine) with my husbands XP32bit laptop, my Vista32 bit laptop and several XP32 bit desktops with no problem (believe it or not). No problems sharing with any of those machines. This Vista64 is my “bill paying” machine and is hardwired to both the wireless router and the printer/scanner/fax.

If I got this right, you are saying a Laserjet hardwired to an XP32 bit machine cannot share TO a Windows 7 64bit machine? That the W7 64bit will not connect to the 32 bit driver? So physically installing a 64bit driver ON the W764 bit machine didn’t help? Needs to be a way to forcefeed the 64bit driver during the discovery process.

Am I understanding that correctly?

Many people have made the same observation — that Windows 7 seems like it should have been Vista Service Pack 3, instead of a new product. However, although it feels much like Vista, underneath the surface it’s supposed to have a lot of changes for better operation. MS apparently felt that it was so significant that it was a new project.

Vista ended up being treated like Windows Millennium Edition — a short, vigorous retail life with a lot of consumer grumbles, then followed quickly (about 2 years) by a much more capable operating system. Windows XP followed Windows Me. Windows 7 followed Windows Vista.

I’m glad that I asked Karen if she was having similar printer sharing problems. Her solution sounded like it would be a great, low-cost fix to my printing issue.

I hooked a couple USB cables together (I’ve got a couple that came with special connectors that can do that, a female A connector on one side and a female B connector on the other) so it will stretch to my wife’s Win7 64-bit desktop instead of my WinXP 32-bit desktop.

It would have been great for her to be able to print again on the black-and-white Laserjet, instead of always having to print on the color Laserjet.

Well, it is great. But, unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. Hewlett-Packard does not make individual printer drivers available. It had combination "universal" packages for all of its printers, which I could install.

Alas, the PCL 6 and PCL 5 universal driver packages did not support my Laserjet 1200. There were .INF files that had information n a number of printers. I tried every one, but without any luck.

Karen’s final message was:

I probably will go with W7 soon as I get tired of Vistas problems, but they are a challenge and I kinda like those. Dumb I know, but I don’t store my stuff on Vista so I’ve nothing to lose except time.. Want to let at least one service pack settle down before I buy it anyway. But I think that’s scheduled for the fall of this year.

Hmm never heard of connecting two usb cables together. Over how many feet? If it works if might slow it down a bit but who cares? I did run an empty color cartridge in my printer to keep HP from yelling at me that there was no color cartridge in there. I didn’t have to set the B&W every time because that’s all there was; black. But a newer printer might not even print if there is no ink in the color cartridge. I rarely use color myself.

Would be interested to know if you run into problems setting it up that way.

Looking forward to Sunbelt’s 64bit version firewall.


  1. I just don’t get it, with today’s technology we can do almost anything, and if we throw enough Money at the sky is the limit.
    In my case this problem should be even simpler then your case, the case I just read here, because everything I’m running is windows 7 Home Premium, running at 64 bit.
    in any case do you have anymore ideas that I might try, and by the way thanks for taking time to read my dilemma.
    Kind regards,
    Mike Wendell

    • Mike,
      Do you have the computers in the same Windows 7 Homegroup?

      If not, are they in the same Workgroup?

      Have you setthe computer that has the printer to share it?


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