Another of the more basic computing needs is the ability to print to a shared printer. Now if you are running all Ubuntu systems, that’s certainly a boon for you. But what happens if you have that old, clunky Windows box you are using as a sort of private server for your music hard drive and your printer? You will want to set your Ubuntu machine up to print through the Windows shared printer, that’s what.
I’m going to assume you have shared your Windows printer. You will need some information from that machine, so have it handy (see my article concerning remotely accessing a Windows machine here).
Open your Ubuntu printers dialog:
- System (menu) —> Administration —> Printing
Now prepare a new printer:
- New —> Printer
On the New Server dialog under Select Connection choose Windows Printer via SAMBA. On the left the SAMBA area will appear. In the “smb://” text field I was successful by entering serverIP/printerShareName (for instance “192.168.1.1/HPPrinter”). It ought to work also using serverName/printerShareName. (You can find the share name for your printer on the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog for the printer in question on your Windows machine.)
NOTE: Do not use spaces in your share names; it can only cause trouble.
Neither the “Browse” nor the “Verify” buttons worked for me. You, I suspect, may safely ignore them. Instead, once you have entered the information for the server and printer share, click on the “Forward” button.
Now we get to an area that may be more familiar feeling. Under “Select printer from database” find your specific brand under “Makes” (mine was an HP). Then click the “Forward” button.
Now locate your specific model under “Model“. Once you have done so a list of potential drivers will appear under “Drivers“. Prefer the one listed as “(recommended)” (there ought to be one).
This is the last page of the New Printer dialog. This is information largely for your benefit and not something Ubuntu or Windows needs to get along. The Printer Name (short name) field should auto-fill. You may leave it alone. The (optional) Description field may be used to give the printer some name you like to call it (Old Mr. Crappy or Sweet Dumpster Laserjet or anything else that strikes your fancy). The Location field is for if you want to say something like “The printer in the kitchen” or “Pass the printer on the left-hand side”. Click the “Apply” button and you are ready to send a test page to the printer from your Ubuntu machine.
Happy hunting, you crazy campers.
Well, that worked for a few days and then, for reasons obscure to me, it stopped working. I had to go back and re-create the print queue on my Ubuntu machine this time using the printer port. So now my entry looks more like this:
Ok, now you can have some happy hunting.