Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Yesterday I wrote about how I enabled my MacBook Air to share a wireless laser printer in my home office so I could print to it using the new Air Print feature in iOS 4.2 on the iPad. That works great, but since my MacBook is only *almost* always on, I started thinking about other options. I have a first –generation (Power-PC-based) Mac Mini in my living room that basically doesn’t get used at all, but I don’t think OS x 10.6.5 is really an option for that. So, I turned my attention to the other always-on computer in my home office, the HP MediaSmart Home Server.

airprint_services I wondered to myself, has anyone come up with a way to share printers accessible from a Windows computer with AirPrint-capable iOS devices? And, sure enough, someone has already done just that. The short tutorial covers Windows workstation versions (XP, Vista and Win7), but the instructions apply to Windows Home Server and other flavors of Windows Server, as well. My Win Home Server is based on the Server 2003 OS.

I’m going to add to a couple of the original steps here, since there are a few things I did that were not included in the instructions on the original post.

First of all, you need printer drivers installed for the printer you want to share on the system. You may not have printers already installed and shared on your Windows Home Server. To do this, you can make a Remote Desktop connection to your WHS  machine, and from there follow the standard steps to set up a local printer. In my case, I downloaded the Brother printer drivers and set up the network printer and printed a test page from the WHS machine to make sure it was working properly. Next, I followed the instructions on the port referenced earlier, and then I enabled sharing on the networked printer.

The first time I connected to the printer, a little padlock icon appeared on the iPad (see beow), indicating a Windows account user name and password were required to access the shared printer. This, of course, can be controlled and changed on the Windows computer in the printer sharing security preferences:


After entering the account information, the printer was accessible and printing of various content (text, graphics and photos) worked flawlessly. One big difference I noticed between sharing the same printer through Windows vs. the Mac is that when connected via the Windows AirPrint share, an option for double-sided printing appeared. That option is missing when connecting to the same printer shared via the Mac. Here’s the Windows-connected printer options as seen on the iPad:


So, I now have my laser printer shared across all devices on my LAN, including iOS 4.2, via the Windows Home Server, no extra charge!

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Apple | Home Servers | Tech | Windows
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 11:27:43 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Wednesday, 24 November 2010 01:49:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
For some reason, I couldn't get the printer shared on WHS. The AirPrint service installed correctly, but Win 2k3 (on the WHS) gave error saying the printer couldn't be shared when I looked at printer preferences.

My desktop is always on anyways, so I decided to set it up there and I can see the printer on my iPad and iPhone. Unfortunately, there is the padlock next to the printer and when I choose it, I'm never prompted for credentials.

Looking at printer properties on my desktop PC, I don't see anywhere I can change this. Under 'Security' in the printer properties, "Everyone" already has access. any ideas?
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 17:04:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I got it printing but I'd really like to get it so that I don't have to enter a username and password each time, especially the Administrator account. I've tried other credentials and they do not seem to work.

I've enabled the Guest account and I've ensured that 'Everyone' and the Guest account have permission to print but I still see the printer 'locked'.

Any ideas?
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 17:21:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
A correction to my post, above. I do not have to enter the credentials every time so I guess it's no big deal. Still odd that no other credentials seemed to work.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 23:31:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I used the administrator account to authenticate to the printer and it didn't ask me again. Trevin, have you tried that yet?
Sunday, 28 November 2010 17:38:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Thanks Greg! Awesome stuff. Couldn't get it work on my main PC (windows) despite sharing EVERYTHING printer-wise to world.. lol... Every time I tried to choose the printer on the iPad, there was that lock, and it never gave me a username/password dialogue. So.... I did the MacBook version, and it worked like a charm!

Thanks dude!
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 09:49:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Fist thank you for the instructions posted here. Have you verified that the airprint file is virus and Trojan free? I have reservations about downloading a file like this for installation on my home server that will embed itself into the system and which comes form an unknown site with very little information about it and just a link to a file server as the only option for obtaining the file Do you think that Apple will release some form of support directly?
Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:58:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Greg, thanks so much for posting this. It's nice to be able to print from my iPhone when I don't have an "official" AirPrint capable device. Thanks so much again!
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