I was using an old laptop’s parallel port to connect to my old but reliable Hewlett-Packard Laserjet 4P printer. Time to try an adapter instead. It works!
1. Radio Shack part number 260-0184: Gigaware 6-ft. USB-A to Centronics Parallel Printer Cable.
2. HP P6230Y Desktop
3. Windows 7 Professional
The bad part. The adapter does not list Windows 7 as a supported OS. For Vista, the instructions say you don’t need the CD with the drivers. So, I just tried it. Put the cable in the PC’s rear USB port. Windows reports that the drivers installed correctly. The device is:
Name: USB Printing Support
Device type: USB controllers
Now install a new printer using the Windows Control Panel, Devices and Printers. Of course, it did not work. Choosing LPT1 won’t work, obviously. But, there was no selection for a USB name in the Local Port dialog. Hmmm. Time to look for drivers maybe? I searched but did not find anything for this. Luckily I stumbled onto this forum topic “old printer won’t work this new computer“. Some people there had luck with setting the local port of the new printer to USB001. That didn’t work either, when I tried it said the port was already in use or allocated.
I removed all the printers that I installed trying to get this to work and tried again. I think my last attempt I still used USB001. Success! A test page printed. In the Printer’s Property page the Port used is listed as: USB001 Virtual Printer port for USB.
I think the problem was all of those failed attempts that did add the printer but incorrectly. Makes no sense. Anyway, I hope this helps someone in some way.
Now what to do with that old laptop? Reinstall the old WinXP OS so it can run at 1980 speeds at least.
12/17/2011: Printer adaptor still working great!