Printing from 64-bit Windows 7 to a 32-bit XP or Windows 2003 print server

I’ve run into some issues configuring my 64-bit Windows 7 system so it can print to the printers attached to computers running 32-bit Windows XP or Windows 2003. I’ve run into 2 issues:

  • The driver downloads on the 32-bit system do not contain the 64-bit drivers to download to Windows 7.
  • The 64-bit driver downloads from many of the printer manufacturers come encapsulated in a 64-bit executable file that install the driver while detecting the local printer. These don’t work unless the printer is attached locally. When the driver is encapsulated in 64-bit executable, it can’t be installed on the 32-bit print server.

This is a procedure that has often worked for me when installing network printers and the normal install doesn’t work properly.

  • Open “Devices and Printers.”
  • Select “Add a printer”.
  • Choose “Add Local Printer”.
  • Select “Create a New Port” and set the drop down selection to “Local Port”.
  • Click Next.
  • Windows will display a small dialogue box asking for a “port name”.
    Key in: \\computer_name\printer_name
    where

    • computer_name is the name (or ip address) of the network computer with the printer attached.
    • printer_name is the share name of the printer on the network computer.
  • Click OK.
  • Windows will show a list of printer manufacturers and models. Select your printer manufacturer and the printer model from the list. If your specific printer isn’t shown, you can click on “Windows Update” to obtain the latest list of printers or “Have Disk” and browse to the folder where you have the unpacked drivers for your printer.

    If you still can’t find the driver, but one from a similar model is listed, you can try it.

This procedure should also allow you to print to any Windows Print Server where the Windows 7 64-bit drivers have not previously been installed. This procedure does depend on the ability to obtain a driver for 64-bit Windows 7.


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  • Ian Calhaem

    Many thanks for this simple and effective solution.
    Could you please submit this to Microsoft as it avoids the often complex solutions currently being suggested.
    Your solution took a whitle to find and it deserves greater pubicity.

    I used this successfully with home server (SP3) and Windows 7 64 bit.

    Ian

  • Ian Calhaem

    Sorry I forgot to add…
    I first installed the printer as a local device (by pluging it in the the client) and lettiong Windows 7 find the 64 bit driver.
    Then when I used you solution the driver was available on the client I just had to accept the driver that was found.

    Ian

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