Friday, February 02, 2007

When Vista doesn't print

I installed Vista RTM immediately as it was available on the MSDN.

That was quite a surprise for me as I thought that many months would pass before my first Vista installation. But alas, I had to write an article on Vista for Slovenian leading computing magazine Monitor and I just got completely new Vista-ready laptop which I could use for playground. (It got Windows XP Home preinstalled - yuck!)

Anyway, I installed Vista (or, to be more precise, Windows Vista Ultimate) on that laptop. Everything worked fine (even though I had to scrap together few drivers from all over the internet). Everything except that I couldn't print. I have this nice colour laser printer (Samsung CLP-510, really smooth) in the office, and it is connected to the Windows 2003 Server. All other computers (running XP everyone of them) could use this shared printer but not the Vista, nooo sir.

It was quite an interesting malfunction, too - when I tried to connect to my shared printer, Vista started copying drivers (XP drivers, of course), and then reported that driver installation 'ran out of memory'. OK, I only have measly 2 gigs installed, but still...

I tried a different trick - installed printer driver locally (no problem here) and only after that tried to connect to the shared printer (in hope that currently installed driver will be used). But nooo, Vista reported same error again.

I gave up then saying: "Oh, well, it's only about two months until Vista is available for general public. Surely Samsung will have Vista drivers ready by then." But the problem was still nagging me and I spilled out my soul to my friends on Slovenian Delphi forum. Somebody has an interesting idea - why don't I connect to the Samsung as if it were a TCP/IP printer and then spool EMF content to the server. Still, he had no idea how to make this work in practice.

I searched for the solution occasionally but found out that Microsoft documentation on that topic is really hard to find if you don't know what you're searching for. I did'nt spend much time on that, though, as I could always use the printer from my main computer.

Solution, at last!

Today I returned to the problem and somehow managed to find the answer in Microsoft's documentation. It really is simple - when you already know how to do it :( .

For anybody trying to solve a similar problem - and for all of you that just want to learn more - here is the solution.

First, install Print Services for Unix on the Windows 2003 Server (Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components, Other Network File and Print Services, Details). Make sure that the TCP/IP Print Server service is running.

Next, install LPR Port Monitor feature on the Windows Vista (Control Panel, Programs and Features, Turn Windows features on or off, Print Services).

Create new port on the Windows Vista computer. Run Printers and clik Add Printer. Choose Add a local printer. Select Create a new port setting and set Type of port to LPR Port.

Click Next and enter address of the server providing Unix printing services and name of the printer.

Click OK and proceed as usual - select printer manufacturer etc.

All work to no avail?

Using this procedure I managed to get my Samsung working from the Vista.

I learned a lot and maybe I will be able to use this knowledge in the future.

Maybe it will help somebody out there with a similar (or completely different) problem.

It didn’t help me at all :(

You see, it is February already and Samsung published updated printer drivers two days ago.


  1. Anonymous22:04


    IMHO in Windows 2000 and newer it is not necessary to install "Print Services for Unix":
    Printing to a Print Server Device

    More info about Windows 2003 print serving:

    Regards, Roman

    P.S. Will the Monitor article about Vista be available online?

  2. Well, it didn't work without that :)

    Thanks for links, though.

    As for the Vista article - it already is.

  3. Anonymous22:52

    I commenting on your solution "When Vista doesn't print".

    Today my Director installed Vista on his new VIAO desktop before any of us techs/admins had a chance to become familiar with the product. We have a Xerox Multifuntion printer and one of the configuations is to add a LPR port. Do you think I could find out where this setting was in Vista? No! Couldn't find it on Microsoft's site. I know where it is found in Win 2k/2k3/XP but not Vista...until now.

    Thanks to your blog, I was able to find where to enable it and added the printer correctly.


  4. Great!

    I'm glad my ramblings have some external value :)

  5. Anonymous03:01

    Wow, thanks a bunch! Seems to work well with Vista Ultimate x64 :)

  6. Anonymous20:50

    THANK YOU! I fought with getting my printer to connect to the D-Link print server for hours (using Vista). Now I know you have to turn on the LPR monitor service to be able to print to a print server!
    So far I hate Vista...

  7. Anonymous16:51

    Thanks. Information was precisely what I needed. Great descriptions and images. Saved hours of research and testing.

  8. Anonymous14:36

    Sent an email this morning to D-Link and within minutes got reply from them. They attached a file with clear instructions and images on how to configure network printing for Windows Vista. My problem to print on D-Link print server solved within minutes after I tried it at home on my new notebook and yes the printout came out ... finally.

  9. Anonymous22:10

    amazing! thanks for this. it took me ages to find a decent article on this subject...why is something so common so hard to find information on?

  10. Anonymous04:32

    I've spent an entire day attempting to solve the same problem. At least all of your effort paid off for me. I'm now printing from my new Vista notebook through an XP Pro server to an HP LJ1012 printer.

    Thanx a bunch!


  11. Anonymous03:40

    The information on this webpage has been a real lifesaver for me today. I was able to set up my wife's laptop to print to two printers connected to our network via a Netgear PS110 print server. According to the Netgear website, Windows Vista is not supported, but it does indeed work by following these instructions and typing the IP address of the server into one field, and either "P1" or "P2" (for the port you want) into the other field. Thanks again for this valuable information.

  12. Anonymous14:45

    Thank you, for the info, very helpful.

    Thanks a lot.

    Regards, Heinz

  13. Anonymous09:13

    uhm....I still cant' solve this problem.....

  14. Anonymous16:12

    Thanks a million, I have been struggling with this problem for ages. Great solution. JT

  15. Anonymous20:31

    Top tip, thank you...

    Spent ages trying to get vista to print through a 2k3 server. Works perfectly now thanks...

  16. Anonymous17:22

    This solution worked for me using a Windows XP Media Center sharing a HP Deskjet 970Cxi and a Vista Home Premium laptop. I did have to open port 515 in the firewall to all the print server to work. Details for the firewall exception available at

    Andrew M

  17. Hello,
    I have been struggling with this problem since I got my Vista laptop. I tried this and it worked, sort of. It let me install the printer and print a test page, but that document never gets deleted from the queue. I restart the computer and it goes away and it allows me to print another page from any program but that document never gets deleted as well. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!!

  18. Sorry, no idea. Vista is weird.

  19. Anonymous15:41

    THANKS. I have been trying to get my "Skymaster" print server to work on Vista with my Brother 5150D and my Epson Photo R310. Have tried everything, so I thought, for the pas t two days. I was pulling out the rest of my hair until I came to this site. Thanks. Now, to get my MacBook Pro to work with it!

  20. Anonymous02:38

    I could kiss you right now gabr. I picked up a print server - very cheap - and had my doubts as to whether or not it would be vista compatible. Well the only way I could get the ruddy thing working after hours of trying (and then of course finding this post) is the way you describe above. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  21. I'm really glad that this post helped so many of you!

  22. Anonymous21:13

    thanks a bunch! Now I only need to find out how to share files from xp pc to vista laptop.

  23. Bowling,and gabr

    Have you got your problem solved. I encountered the same problem as Vista cannot print an XP shared printer. I have tried everything and gabr is the closest thing to the solution but it end up exactly like Bowling's case. Test page can print out and the print job stays and I cannnot print from then. Please give me more insight if you can.

    Thanks a lot

  24. Anonymous18:58

    How do I find out if the TCP/IP print services is running and how do I find the address of the server?

  25. By checking if "TCP/IP Print Server" service is started.

    To get the address, run 'ipconfig /all' in the command line.