Share Printers from Windows 98 in Windows 7 Environment

I happen to have an ancient USB scanner and a LaserJet 1100 that uses a LPT port to connect. The only device I have that will connect to the printer is an ancient laptop that runs Windows 98. The goal was to have the printer shared on the network and accessible from several computers running Windows 7. This wasn’t a problem when I had the luxury of a desktop that ran Server 2008.

I quickly discovered that the normal way of adding a network printer in Windows 7 wouldn’t work with this new setup. This seems to be because of differences in how things are shared in Windows 98 versus Windows 7. After a quick Google search I learned that I’d need to add it as a Local Printer rather than a Network Printer. Initially I made a huge mistake here. When I created a new local port, I selected “Standard TCP/IP Port” rather than “Local Port.” This resulted in the printer randomly going offline. Don’t do this. Select “Local Port” and it will work beautifully. That took me a few weeks to figure out… If you’ve already made the same mistake I have, scroll to the bottom for instructions on how to clean this up.

Here’s a step-by-step:

  1. Select “Add a local printer.”
    2013-01-15 19_45_29-Add Printer
  2. Choose “Create a New Port” and select “Local Port” from the drop-down box.
    2013-01-15 19_45_48-Add Printer
    A dialog will pop up asking you for the printer’s address. I chose to use the laptop’s static IP address. The printer name is what I setup on the laptop. I’m going to assume you already have printer sharing setup in Windows 98 and know what you named the printer.
    2013-01-15 19_46_07-Port Name
  3. Choose the correct model and driver for the printer. The printer was previously used on this computer so the correct selection was already made.
    2013-01-15 19_46_20-Add Printer
    2013-01-15 19_46_27-Add Printer
  4. Give the printer a name. I’m happy with the default.
    2013-01-15 19_46_35-Add Printer
  5. The laptop is taking care of the sharing, so I’m not interested in having my client computer share the printer as well.
    2013-01-15 19_46_45-Add Printer

How to clean up printer installed as “Standard TCP/IP Port”

  1. Go to Devices and Printers.
  2. Delete the Printer that was added incorrectly (ensure the queue is empty first or it won’t delete).
  3. Select any printer. Click “Print server properties.”
  4. Go to the “Ports” tab and find the entry that corresponds to the printer that was added incorrectly. The description will be something like “Client-side rendering provider.”
  5. Delete the bad port.
  6. Close the window(s) and restart the Print Spooler (Start->run->services.msc, right click on Print Spooler service, and select restart).
  7. Repeat Steps 3 and 4. If the port is no longer present, you’re done and can proceed with the step-by-step above to add the printer correctly.