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This page provides methods of printing to USB or networked printers from Windows 95, 98, or Me. For other versions of Windows, see a separate page.
This page contains information on printing from WPDOS to a Windows printer that is not connected to your computer by a traditional parallel (LPT) port, but is connected instead by a USB cable, a wireless connection, a network connection, or some other method. Other information on printing from WPDOS under Windows may be found on this site's Windows printing page. A separate page contains information on printing to a Novell print server.
Important warning! Read this now! Before attempting to fix any problems in printing from WPDOS to your Windows printer, be absolutely certain that you can print from Windows applications to your printer. If you are not absolutely certain that you can print from Windows applications, press Ctrl-P now and print this page. If it does not print correctly, install the Windows software for your printer; then make absolutely certain that you can print from Windows applications; and test whether you can now print correctly from WPDOS. If your WPDOS printing problems persist, return to this page.
Don't be clueless! The advice on this page applies to WordPerfect for DOS only! Do not use the advice on this page to solve problems with WordPerfect for Windows (which is what Clueless Visitor No. 46 tried to do)! You will only make the problems worse! (One of a series of Don't be clueless! warnings.)
WPDOS, like all other DOS applications, cannot print directly to a printer that is connected to your computer by a USB port or network connection, instead of to a traditional parallel (LPT) or serial (COM) port, but you can use USB or networked (including wireless) printers with WPDOS through one of the four methods listed below.
Important: These methods work only if you already have a WPDOS printer driver for your printer and you have already installed the Windows printer driver for your USB or wireless printer and successfully printed to it from a Windows application (e.g. your web browser). You will probably need one of this site's WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers or WPDOS 6.x printer drivers for HP DeskJet, HP LaserJet, HP OfficeJet, or HP PhotoSmart printers, Lexmark laser printers, some laser and inkjet printers from Canon, Brother, and a few other manufacturers, or for any PostScript printer.
Very important paragraph, which you must read: These methods will not make it possible for you to print from WPDOS to printers that have no compatible WPDOS printer drivers; examples of such printers are most Dell, Canon, Epson, and Lexmark inkjet printers and all printers described by their manufacturers as "GDI printers" or "Windows-only" printers (many inexpensive HP and non-HP laser printers are Windows-only printers). If you want to print from WPDOS to a printer that has no compatible WPDOS printer driver, use this site's methods of printing from WPDOS to any Windows-supported printer, which work with printers connected to your computer by any type of connection, including parallel, serial, USB, and networks.
Very important note: These methods will only work if your USB or networked printer already works perfectly with Windows applications such as Notepad or Word or your web browser. Do not even think about using these methods until you have already printed successfully to your USB or networked printer from a Windows program! Please do not send e-mails asking me if there is a way to make these methods work outside of Windows, or if they will work when no Windows printer driver is installed for your printer. Instead, please carefully reread the first sentence of this paragraph until you understand it in full. Remember, these methods work only when you run WPDOS inside Microsoft Windows; you cannot print to a USB or networked printer under plain DOS (in other words, when DOS runs but Windows is not running). And please don't ask if these methods will work with the ancient Windows 3.11 system; they will not.
Moderately interesting note: If you are willing to pay for software instead of using the free solutions recommended on this page, you can print from WPDOS to a USB or networked printer with DOS2USB or Printfil; as with the other methods on this page, these programs will work properly if and only if a WPDOS printer driver already exists for your printer; you must set up DOS2USB to work in "DMP" mode (DMP means Dot Matrix Printing, but works with laser printers also), or you must set up Printfil to use "RAW" mode. I will not help you set up these programs; pay the registration fee and ask the program's authors for help.
If you have not yet bought a new printer, try to buy one that works with a parallel cable so that you can print more easily from WPDOS. If you already have a printer, and can choose whether to use the USB or parallel cable, always use the parallel cable. If you have no choice, and you must use the USB cable or connect the printer over a network or wirelessly, follow the instructions in this section.
Note: If your printer is already set up under Windows to print from a USB port, but the printer can work with a parallel cable, you will find it much easier to print from WPDOS if you reinstall your printer for use with the parallel port.
Note: If your USB-connected printer is on your network, but not connected to your own computer, then you need not worry about switching to a parallel cable, and you can print to the printer using one or more of the techniques listed elsewhere on this page.
Remember that you must be able to print to your USB-connected or network-connected printer from a Windows program (such as your web browser) before these methods will work. That means that you must install the Windows printer driver for your printer and print a test page to make sure that the printer works correctly with Windows.
Important: This method works only on Windows 98 and Windows Me systems that have a network card installed in the computer and properly installed in Windows. (My thanks to José Gabriel Moya Yangüela for this suggestion.)
This is a summary description of what you need to do after installing a network card in your computer and installing its Windows software. If you do not know how to perform these steps, send me feedback and I will try to fill in the details.
Open a DOS window (use Start/Run and enter Command) and enter the command IPCONFIG. The results will give you an IP address, Subnet mask, and Default gateway. Leave the DOS window open so you can see these addresses.
Use Start/Settings/Control Panel/Network, select the entry that says TCP/IP-->Name of your network adapter, and choose Properties; on the IP address tab, select Specify an IP address, and enter the IP address and Subnet mask that you see listed in the DOS window under IPConfig. Write down the IP address for future reference; it will look something like 126.96.36.199, but with entirely different numbers from the ones used in the example!!!
Also in the Network control panel, click Add, and install the Client "Client for Microsoft Networks" and the Service "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks" if it is not already installed; click on the File and Print Sharing button and make certain that the checkbox is checked next to "I want to be able to allow others to print to my printers." Click OK until you are prompted to restart your computer, and restart your computer.
After restarting, use Start/Control Panel/Printers to find your USB printer; right-click on its name, choose Sharing, and on the Sharing tab, choose "Share as" and assign your printer a name that is no longer than eight letters long, such as "HPDJ".
Use Start/Run and enter Command, then click OK or press Enter. A DOS-like command window will open. At the prompt, enter a command that looks like this (replace 192.168.11.97 with the IP address that you wrote down earlier, and replace HPDJ with the sharename of your printer!!):
net use lpt1 \\192.168.11.97\HPDJ
(If, and only if, you already have a printer connected to your parallel port, use lpt2 instead of lpt1 in the command.) Press Enter at the end of the command, and close the window. You may now print from WPDOS and the output will go to your USB or networked printer. If, and only if, you used lpt2 instead of lpt1 in the command, then, before printing from WPDOS, use Shift-F7/Select/Edit and change the Port from LPT1 to LPT2. (If you want to use a colon after lpt1 so that it looks like lpt1: that is perfectly all right, but the presence or absence of the colon makes no practical difference.)
Note: If Windows responds to this command with an "Error
66" message, then you may be using firewall software that blocks printer
sharing. A post by "Jonathan" on an advice site offers this procedure for use
with the Norton Personal Firewall (similar methods may be used for other
firewalls; I have not tested this procedure with any firewall at all):
"Jonathan" writes: You need to allow for printer sharing over 127.0.0.1. For Norton Personal Firewall (part of Norton Internet Security), open the configuration window for the firewall. In the "Networking" tab, first choose the proper settings (Home, Away, Office, or Default). Click the "Trusted" tab below, then "Add...". In the window that comes up, make sure "Individually" is selected, and enter "127.0.0.1" as the host to allow. Click "OK" in this window, and "OK" again to leave the Firewall configuration. If you want to allow sharing under different locations, change "Settings for:" in the pull-down menu to and repeat the steps to add 127.0.0.1 as a trusted host.
This command will work only during the current Windows session, so you must reassign LPTn to your shared printer each time you reboot. You can do this by creating a batch file that runs the "net use" command when Windows starts up. Do this by following this procedure:
First, run the Windows text editor called Notepad (Start/Run... and enter "Notepad" without quotation marks). Type in the "net use" command shown above (but of course you must replace 192.168.11.97 with the actual IP address of your computer and replace HPDJ with the sharename of your printer). Use Notepad's File/Save As menu; in the "Save in" field at the top, navigate to "Desktop" (the top item in the list); then, in the "File name" field toward the bottom, enter the following, with the quotation marks!!!! "NetUseLpt.bat"(remember to include the quotation marks!!!). Close Notepad. You should see an icon named NetUseLpt.bat on your desktop. Right-click on the Start button at the lower left of the screen; choose Open (the first item on the menu); in the window that opens, navigate to the Programs folder, then to Startup folder. Drag the NetUseLpt.bat icon into the Startup folder window. Restart Windows.
Note: If you need to undo the assignment of lpt1 to your USB or networked printer, so that you can use a printer connected by a printer cable to the parallel port on your computer, simply delete the NetUseLpt.bat file and reboot, or, if you need to undo the assignment during the current Windows session, reverse the earlier net use command by entering this command:
net use lpt1 /delete
See a separate section for instructions on printing to a printer connected to a print server.
Use these instructions if the networked printer is directly connected to another computer on the network and is "shared" by that computer. (Help! How do I "share" a printer on a Windows network?) If the printer is directly connected to a print server, use the separate instructions below.
Note: If you use TrueType for WordPerfect or PrimeType for WordPerfect and need help printing to a network printer, please contact me. Full instructions will be posted here in the future.
If you can print to a remote "shared" printer from standard Windows applications, you will be able to print to the remote printer using WPDOS. (The same basic advice applies to OS/2 networks.) Depending on your system, you may or may not need to start WPDOS with this command-line switch: /NT=4 If you cannot print to a network printer without using this switch, you may want to reinstall WPDOS and choose the option for network installation when installing; if you do need to choose this option, select "4 - IBM LAN Network" as the network type.
Note that if no WPDOS driver exists for your remote printer (if, for example, it is a Lexmark inkjet model), you may use one of this site's methods of printing to any Windows printer, and specify the network printer as your Windows printer.
Important note: The instructions below require that you know the share name (that is, the server name and printer name) of your networked printer. To find the names under Windows 98 or Me, use Start/Settings/Printers, right-click on the networked printer, choose Properties, go to the Details tab, and find the name under "Print to the following port." Write down the full name, which may be in any of these forms: \\JEFFERSON\MADISON or \\172.16.0.10\HPLJ or \\172.16.0.10:9100\HPDJ. The name directly after the double backslash \\ is the server name; the name directly after the single backslash \ is the printer name.
Instructions for printing to a shared printer from WPDOS under Windows 95, 98, or Me: You may use either of the two methods described immediately below, or, if absolutely necessary for some reason, you may use the "net use" method described elsewhere on this page, depending on which seems more convenient:
Windows 95/98/Me method (1): Print directly to a named network port. On the Start menu of your computer, choose Settings/Printers; right-click on the remote printer to which you want to print, and choose Properties. Go to the Details tab and click on Spool Settings. Change the Spool data format to RAW (if it is currently set to be anything else), and click OK. Click the Port Settings button; check "Spool MS-DOS print jobs" but do NOT check "Check port state"; you will probably need to select "Disable bi-directional support for this printer" (but experiment for best results); then click OK until you exit the Properties dialog.
Now set up WPDOS to print to the remote printer. If you use print server software that assigns LPT port numbers to network printers, simply set up WPDOS to print to the LPT port number assigned by the server software.
If you do not use print server software, you need to learn the remote printer's share name (as described in the "Important note" above). When you know this name, install a WPDOS driver for the printer, and edit the printer selection so that WPDOS prints to a port named with the share name of the printer. Under WPDOS 5.1, use Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Port/Other and enter the share name in the form: \\backroom\deskjet (each name must not have more than eight characters). Under WPDOS 6.x, use Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Network Port/Device, and enter the share name (again, each name must not have more than eight characters). Important: If you get an "access denied" message when you try to set up or print to a sharename, print to a captured printer port, as explained in the alternate method (2) immediately below; you will almost certainly need to use the captured printer port method if you use Windows NT, 2000, or XP.
Remember these important details. First, remember that server names and printer names are case-sensitive. Also, for use with WPDOS, each part of the printer's share name must have no more than eight characters. The name \\backroom\laserjet_2200 will work when printing from Windows applications, but not when printing from WPDOS. The name \\backroom\lj_2200 will work correctly from both Windows applications and WPDOS. (If your remote printer has a server name or printer name longer than eight characters, and your network administrator will not change the length of the name, you must use the method of printing to a captured printer port as explained immediately below.)
Or you may "capture a printer port" and use this method instead:
Windows 95/98/Me method (2): Capture a printer port. From the Start Menu, choose Settings, then Printers; right-click on the name of your network printer, choose Properties, go to the Details tab, click the Capture Printer Port button, and select the port you want to capture and the sharename of the printer; add a checkmark next to "Reconnect at logon" if you want to use the same connection in future sessions; click OK. Click the Spool Settings button, and change the Spool data format to RAW (if it is currently set to be anything else); click OK. Click the Port Settings button; check "Spool MS-DOS print jobs" but do NOT check "Check port state"; you will probably need to select "Disable bi-directional support for this printer" (but experiment for best results); then click OK until you exit the Properties dialog.
Or you may use the "net use" method described elsewhere on this page (but this is not recommended for Windows 95, 98, or Me).
Use these instructions if the networked printer contains an internal print server or is directly connected to a print server, not to another computer on the network. Typically, such a printer will have its own IP address in your network, something like 192.168.0.99 (or some more-or-less-similar set of four numbers). If the printer is directly connected to another computer, and is "shared" from that computer, use the separate instructions above.
Note: However, even if you have a printer that contains an internal print server or is directly connected to a print server, you may find it simpler to use the separate instructions above for printing to a shared printer if and only if either (a) you use print server software that assigns an LPT port number to use with the printer or (b) you first perform the following steps. First, identify which computer on your network is likely to be powered on most often, or choose a computer which can be left on whenever any user needs to print; assume that this computer has the network name Alwayson (I strongly recommend that the name be no longer than eight characters.) Go to that computer, and select the printer in the Control Panel's Printer applet (or use Start/Printers, or Start/Settings/Printer, or a similar route to the list of installed printers). Right-click on the name of the printer; select Sharing, and assign a sharename of at most eight letters to that printer, something like hplaser. The full sharename of that printer for use in the separate instructions described above is now \\Alwayson\hplaser.
The instructions that follow are based on the current software used with HP JetDirect print servers and assume that you are using a TCP/IP network; similar methods should work with other print servers. If you have not yet bought your print server, I strongly recommend that you use only HP print servers in any network that uses WPDOS.
Do not attempt to use these instructions until you have set up your print server and printer so that you can correctly print to the networked printer from Windows applications! If you can print through a print server from standard Windows applications, you will be able to print to the remote printer using WPDOS. Note that if no WPDOS driver exists for your remote printer (if, for example, it is a Lexmark inkjet model), you may use this site's method of printing to any Windows printer, and, in the PrintFile utility used in that method, specify the network printer instead of a local printer.
Instructions for printing through a print server from WPDOS for Windows 95, 98, and Me only: Before you begin, you must know the IP address or name of your remote printer, and the name of the printer driver used by Windows. On the Start menu of your computer, choose Settings/Printers, right-click on the name remote printer to which you want to print, and choose Properties. Go to the Details tab and write down the name that appears under "Print to the following driver"; then click on "Port Settings"; the dialog that appears should display the IP address (or possibly the name) of your printer; write it down very carefully. Press Esc or Cancel until you close the properties sheet of the printer.
Then return to the Start menu, choose Settings/Printers again, then Add Printer. The Add Printer Wizard will open. Click Next, then select Local Printer (yes, select Local Printer, even though your printer is networked), then select a Windows driver that seems moderately compatible with your printer, for example an HP DeskJet or LaserJet model (we will change this later); if Windows prompts you to Keep the existing driver or Replace existing driver, choose Keep the existing driver. At the list of Available ports, select LPT1: (we will change this later); when prompted a printer name, enter a name that begins with "WPDOS" (although the printer definition that you are creating should work correctly from Windows, it is safer to give it a name that will remind you not to use it in Windows applications). Be careful not to set the printer as your default Windows printer; click Finish or OK or whatever is the default button. If Windows prompts you to print a test page, choose No; do not attempt to print a test page or anything else at this point.
Now, return to the Start menu, choose Settings/Printers again, right-click on your new WPDOS printer, choose Properties, and go to the Details tab. Under "Print using the following driver," click the down arrow and select the driver name that you wrote down at the beginning of these instructions. Then click Add Port. In the Add Port dialog, select Other, then HP Standard TCP/IP Port (or some similar name that includes Standard TCP/IP Port). The Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port Wizard will start up; enter the IP address or name of the printer; as you enter the numbers or name in the top box, Windows creates a Port Name in the lower one; delete the port name that Windows creates and replace it with LPT2 or, if LPT2 is already in use on your computer, LPT3 (use upper-case letters: LPT2, not lpt2); click Next; then Finish.
Back at the Details tab, click on Spool Settings. Change the Spool data format to RAW (if it is currently set to be anything else), and click OK. Then continue to click OK until you exit the Properties dialog.
Next, install a WPDOS driver for the remote printer, if you have not already done so, and edit the printer selection so that WPDOS prints to the port that you named in the preceding step. Under WPDOS 5.1, use Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Port/Other and select LPT2 or LPT3. Under WPDOS 6.x, use Shift-F7/Select/Edit/Network Port/Device, and select LPT2 or LPT3.
If any problems occur when printing, return to the Start menu, choose Settings/Printers; right-click on the remote printer to which you want to print, and choose Properties. Go to the Details tab and click on Spool Settings. Change the Spool data format to RAW (if it is currently set to be anything else), and click OK. Click the Port Settings button; check "Spool MS-DOS print jobs" but do NOT check "Check port state"; you will probably need to select "Disable bi-directional support for this printer" (but experiment for best results); then click OK until you exit the Properties dialog.
To share a printer on a Windows network for use with WPDOS, use the Start Menu, then (depending on your Windows version), either choose "Printers" or "Printers and Faxes", or use Settings, or Control Panel, and then choose "Printers" or "Printers and Faxes" or any obviously similar item. Right-click on the name of the printer you want to share, select Sharing, select the option to Share This Printer, and assign the printer a name that begins with a letter and is no more than eight characters long (no spaces). Click OK until you are back at the Windows desktop. Your printer can now be used by other computers on your network. Use Windows Help or search the web for further information if needed.
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