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Hardware Thread, Sharing a Printer in Technical; Sounds like an easy topic but have a double-barrelled problem I need to solve Thought I'd run it past you ...
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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Sharing a Printer

    Sounds like an easy topic but have a double-barrelled problem I need to solve Thought I'd run it past you lot May be in wrong section as it's very FMS related but FMS is the one part that can't change, leaving it a networky/hardware issue

    Scenario is this. 2 PC's in a school office. Both are networked to the only 2 available network points in the room (and nearby).
    There is a large USB Laser printer with NO network ability, currently shared out on one of the PC's so the other can print to it.

    This setup is absolutely fine for EVERYTHING with the exception of the notoriously shoddy and ancient FMS which just does not like anything more complicated than a straight network printer or direct connection.

    One PC is a Dell from which the printer is shared, The other PC is a brand new HP workstation, on which we use FMS and having the above trouble. They used to connect to the printer through a shoddy Linksys USB print server/switch, which I removed a couple of weeks ago as it was causing some form of network loopback and murdering the speed of the site's network, especially in that part of the building.

    1. We can't swap the PC's - the new HP is new for a reason, they need the performance.
    2. I can't swap where the printer is plugged into. According to a good google around and HP themselves, you can't share out a HP USB Laser printer from a HP PC. That sounds ridiculous even typing it, but after having spent an hour trying it and the support calls afterwards, seems true. Basically it all shares correctly, but you print from another machine, the print job goes over to the HP - and that's exactly where it stays, refusing to go further than spooling, never printing.
    3. I'd really rather not make them spend any money, but I don't think we have much of a choice.

    I thought due to FMS's age it might be down to a long share name, but changed that remotely with no joy. Capita's SIMS bod's opinion is a simple one: that's how FMS works, we need to solve the printer problem to work with FMS, not the other way round.


    Anyone know if it's possible to "force" FMS to work with a printer in this manner? Wondered if it's possible to "tunnel" through a local virtual printer, although that might just be wishful thinking.
    Any other suggestions would be very gratefully received.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    could you not get a print server that converts usb to RJ45 ( network connection ) use the utility to assign said print server with ip address and then just add printer via ip address of print server ?

    with number 2 does that stand true if you add it on the other computer both as either a standard tcp.ip port or a hp tcp ip port ?
    Last edited by mac_shinobi; 6th October 2009 at 04:57 PM.

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    synaesthesia (6th October 2009)

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    t_h
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    This probably won't help much but we have a very similar setup with a very similar problem, only our finance officer seems to have worked out it's quirk. I can't remember off the top of my head the exact method but it involves the order in which you use the printer after the machines first boot.

    For example, if you boot machine A (with FMS) & B (with printer attached) and then try to print something from FMS it will just sit there spooling on machine B. Even if you cancel the job and try again it will never work until you reboot machine A.

    However if you boot both machines, then send a print job (anything, a test page) from machine B first and then try to print FMS stuff from machine A it will work.

    As bizarre as it sounds it does work for our setup. Suffice to say I'm dreading the day those machines need replacing. If I remember I'll try to find out the exact logic tomorrow. It's one of those things where you sit there thinking about it, then you just decide that nothing about computers surprises you anymore and that you may never get to the bottom of it.

    At least you know you're not alone.

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    synaesthesia (6th October 2009)

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    Ah, thats good to know - I might give that a try when I'm there tomorrow

    I'm a bit worried about USB print servers after that Lexmark joke - if I do try it again, I'll need to borrow another one first before trying it.

    It really grates on me that this problem wouldn't even exist if FMS wasn't a 16bit application that makes Windows 3.1 look fancy.

    And yeah, I believe #2 is true in both counts but I'm not sure if I'm thinking of the same thing. Will take a look tomorrow and have a play

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    what about a usb print sharer making it local to both pcs

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    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    what about a usb print sharer making it local to both pcs
    You mean as in a mains powered USB hub and connect the printer to that and connect a usb cable from both pc's to the usb hub ?

    Not sure if it will work but instead of trying to print to a printer that is meant as a stand alone one where FMS has issues why not use a pdf writer such as cute pdf ( other ones mentioned on edugeek as well ie primo pdf etc ) and just get fms to output relevant pdf and then you can set up a shared folder on the pc that has the printer and print them out as needed

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    synaesthesia (14th October 2009)

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    I think what Sted meant was one of these - [ame=http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belkin-2x1-USB-Peripheral-Switch/dp/B000KRN1Q8]Belkin 2x1 USB Peripheral Switch - USB peripheral: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo[/ame] We used this here in the past when we had a couple of standalone PCs which needed to share a printer. I may even have it knocking around somewhere if you want...

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    synaesthesia (14th October 2009)

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    No experience of FMS but see the mention of it being 16 bit - does the old

    net use LPT1: \\somepc\someprinter

    trick not improve things on the client PC?

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    synaesthesia (14th October 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    I think what Sted meant was one of these - Belkin 2x1 USB Peripheral Switch - USB peripheral: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo We used this here in the past when we had a couple of standalone PCs which needed to share a printer. I may even have it knocking around somewhere if you want...
    yup thats what i meant

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    synaesthesia (14th October 2009)

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    I have had a few problems with this kinda scenario. Some schools I have worked at had more than one computer that FMS was used and only a single USB or network printer was used to print from this outdated program.

    Things I did and now make sure for printing to work:
    Printer name and share name are the same (One occasion the printer was given it's default name when installed and share name was something else. As soon as I gave them the same names printing was fine).
    Printer name is short and simple (One time, printing some reports were fine but there was one particular report that wasn't having any of it. The name was in the form "Office Colour Printer (Secretary's Printer)" but when I changed it to "Office Printer" it was fine).

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    synaesthesia (14th October 2009)

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    Net use lpt1 - christ, so simple yet that completed evaded me - not heard of doing that before but that sounds to me like it should work nicely

    For the time being the little Linksys print server has gone back on, grudgingly. I'm going to just keep an eye on it for now, I don't want to experiment if it's working OK.

    Cheers for the input folks, it's much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Net use lpt1 - christ, so simple yet that completed evaded me - not heard of doing that before but that sounds to me like it should work nicely
    This is why you need old fogeys around who remember that this used to be the only way of doing network printing :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Net use lpt1
    edited

    Found this ms kb

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314499


    It re directs it to the printer share and the computer makes it appear as an LPT type port whether its LPT 1, 2 , 3 etc



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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    This is why you need old fogeys around who remember that this used to be the only way of doing network printing :-)
    I'm only 30!

    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    Found this ms kb

    It re directs it to the printer share and the computer makes it appear as an LPT type port whether its LPT 1, 2 , 3 etc
    That's the one, should have added it as reference to explain my logic before but was in a rush

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    mac_shinobi (14th October 2009)

  24. #15

    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutToLunch View Post
    I'm only 30!



    That's the one, should have added it as reference to explain my logic before but was in a rush
    no problem there are a few other methods on the ms kb so should help people in future assuming ms dont change there ms kb links

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