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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Printing to a Windows XP shared printer from a Mac

The situation:
  • One Windows XP desktop with a Canon Pixma MP130 printer connected via USB
  • One Apple Macbook Pro (OS X 10.4.10) with a desire to print
  • One wireless network connecting the computers.
There are about seven different ways to do this and at least as many resource websites, but this site provided sage advice for getting the printer sharing to work.

So, here's what to do.

First, do this walkthrough. It will help you set up a Canon or other Windows printer to share with the Mac, allowing it to print via Postscript. (I didn't know what that was either). *Note: if this process seems to intimidating, you can simplify your life with a $70 solution - see #1 under "If you still have problems with printing."

Second, stop the walkthrough after Step 4! There's an easier way to add the printer to Mac OS X. Use my alternate Step #5:

Step 5: Add the printer to the Mac
From the Mac Printer Setup Utility select "Add Printer." While holding the Option button, click "More Printers." In the next window, select Advanced from the dropdown menu. Then for the Device, select "Windows Printer via SAMBA." For Device Name, pick a name you want the printer to be known as, such as "My Windows Printer" or "HP234534 PCL."

For the device URI, it gets fun. It already has "smb://" in the text field. Keep that. Now you want to point to where your printer is and there are two options.

4a) smb://Bob:12345@Workgroup/WindowsPC/Printer
4b) smb://Bob:12345@

Here's what that means. SMB means basically "Windows Printer." Bob is the username on your Windows XP computer. 12345 is Bob's password. If you don't have a password, then don't do the colon or the numbers, like so: (smb://Bob@

For 4a), the address of the printer is given via the home network. "Workgroup" is the workgroup, "WindowsPC" is the network name of the Windows computer, and "Printer" is the printer name. If you don't know these, do the following:
Click Start->Control Panel and open "System." On the second tab you will see your computer name and workgroup. That's 2 of 3 names.

For 4b), the numerical address gets you to the same place as Workgroup/WindowsPC.

For both, you still need the printer name. For that, you need the shared name of the printer. Go to the Control Panel again and select "Printers and Faxes." Right click the printer you're sharing and select "Properties." On the "Sharing" tab, it will show the shared name of the printer.

Add all that together and you'll have your printer address:
smb://Bob:12345@Workgroup/WindowsPC/Printer OR

Finally, you select a printer model. For any color printer, just select Apple Color Laserwriter 12/600 PS. The PS stands for "Postscript." For a B/W printer, select the Apple Laserwriter 12/640 PS.

Click Add.

You're done!

If you still have problems with printing
1. Drivers: the driver that came with your Canon printer (even the Mac one) doesn't work for printing to a Windows networked printer. If the postscript trick via Ghostscript doesn't work, you could also spend $70 on networkable drivers from Printfab. Instead of the whole Ghostscript business, you can simply share your printer in Windows, and find it via the network on the Mac, using the Printfab Canon drivers for it.

2. Ports: somewhere in the network printing business, you need to go through port 631. Make sure that's open on your router for all local addresses (e.g. those that start with 192.168...).

3. Static IP: I used my router to give my Windows computer a static IP. This may or may not have been the magic step, but it sure helps. If you want to do it for your router, try Googling "static IP [router brand]"

4. SAMBA: This is a fancy name for "print like Windows does." You need to make sure this Mac feature is turned on. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Directory Access and check SMB. Then select SMB and click "Configure." You need to set the workgroup name to the same workgroup as your Windows PC (usually "workgroup" or "MSHome")

1 comment:

Dave said...

Thanks so much for your article, once again, this is why I have switched to a MAC. All is well and now printing to my shared windows xp HJ Laserjet 1000. A happy switcher for 3.5 years now!

Thanks again,
Dave Esquer