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Printing over a mixed LAN

by Bill Osler / April 17, 2011 12:10 PM PDT

Our LAN is mixed. The new Mac (OS X 10.6.6, 4 GB RAM) is the only non-Windows computer. We currently have 3 different versions of Windows on the network.
The main printer (an old Brother MFC-8420) is attached to a Win 7 64 Bit Pro PC.
It was easy to access files on the Windows PC, but accessing the printer was another thing entirely. The Mac prints fine when the printer is attached directly to its USB port but I have not found a good solution for printing over the network when the printer is attached to the Windows box.
From what I've read, SMB printing is a no-go with printers attached to Windows 7 64 bit. Certainly I was unable to make it work.
I also tried to access the printer using the URL:
lpd://HostComputerName/PrinterShareName or
Neither of those worked. (and yes, the required service is running in Windows). The Mac complained that it was unable to find the printer "HostComputerName" and sometimes it also complained about needing credentials to access the printer (even when the ID/Pwd were in the URL) despite the fact that my keychain has the information already.
I finally got it to print using:
That does concern me a bit. Setting up fixed IP addresses on the LAN isn't hard, but it IS a nuisance and my scheme will break if/when I need to change the host PC.
Is there a better way for the Mac to access a printer attached to Win 7 64 Bit?

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Clarification Request
You are correct,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 18, 2011 11:16 AM PDT

some Multifunction machines tend to lose some functionality when connected to a LAN.
It's usually the older ones that have that problem.
I have a new Epson multifunction with ethernet capability and the scan function works well over the LAN.

All Answers

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You could try using a network Print Server
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 17, 2011 9:56 PM PDT

to connect that Brother to the LAN with its own IP address.
Hawking is one manufacturer that springs to mind. They make them with USB or Parallel connections.

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Thank you ... I had thought of that ...
by Bill Osler / April 18, 2011 8:07 AM PDT

My concern (or perhaps a misunderstanding) is that attaching the printer to the LAN causes it to lose some functionality. I read years ago about problems that develop when people try to attach scanners to the LAN, and I do use the scanning capability of the printer. If Windows is able to play nicely with networked scanners then I need to revisit the way I have the printer set up.

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