Jeremy's almost but not quite entirely moribund blog

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Making Vista x64 print to an XP Home box

My printer, an HP Laserjet 1012, is connected via USB to my desktop computer, which runs Windows XP. The printer is shared from the desktop, and my wife regularly prints to it from her Eee PC (also running XP) and the MythTV box (running Linux, of course). No problem setting either of these up.

I was just working on a document on my shiny Dell laptop that runs Windows Vista x64 Edition, and I had a bear of a time getting it to talk to the printer. It sees the printer in the Add Printer Wizard, but when I go to install it, it claims it couldn't find a suitable driver, even if I point it directly at the Vista x64 driver I downloaded from HP's website.

I thought, maybe if I plug the printer directly into the computer, it'll let me install the driver--so I yanked the USB cable from the desktop and plugged it into the laptop. It saw the printer appear, chewed on this information for awhile, and then told me it couldn't find a driver. So I pointed it at the one I downloaded, and lo and behold, this time it worked.

So I reconnected the printer to the desktop and went back to the Add Printer wizard, figuring this time it'd realize the printer was installed and not complain about the lack of a driver. Nope. It still complained that there was no suitable driver, even though a suitable driver was already installed. Stupid Windows.

I did some Googling and found the answer: lie to Windows and say you're adding a local printer, on a local port that happens to be named \\server\printername. This way it noticed that the appropriate driver was installed, and it actually completed the installation and printed.

Stupid Windows.


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