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!

Related Links:


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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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 Monday, 22 November 2010

UPDATE: Check out my new post that describes how to enable the AirPrint support for Windows shared printers, including on Windows Home Server.

photo I was pretty excited, based on reports in the community in the past about being able to print from my iPad in the new iOS 4.2.1 operating system via my Mac computer. My WiFi laser printer in my home office is a good printer, but it certainly is not Airprint enabled. So leveraging my MacBook (which is pretty much always up and running) was to be a good option for me.

But, alas, iOS 4.2.1 is here, and OS X 10.6.5 is installed and running on my MacBook (after some troublesome issues that finally got resolved)… But it looks like Apple removed the Airprint capability from the 10.6.5 release of OS X. It was in the beta versions, but not in the version they finally released.

Lifehacker has a brief article describing how to manually enable Airprint support in 10.6.5, so you can share your non-Airprint printers with your iOS 4.2 devices via your Mac.

In a nutshell, you just do this:

  • Download a few files (which are pulled from the OS X beta)
  • Copy them to a couple of specific locations (described in the linked site, above)
  • Remove your printer from the system
  • Restart your Mac
  • and re-add your printer, and share it

IMAG0233aOf course, this is not a supported configuration and undoubtedly there is some very real reason why it was not included in 10.6.5, so your mileage may vary should you decide to try it.

For those who may not want to break open the Terminal app in OS X, someone also built a quick Mac App called Airprint Hacktivator that you can run, which will allow you to automagically install the proper files and configure the OS.

Again, your mileage may vary. But I can tell you, it worked for me! I used the Hacktivator app and didn’t even have to restart my computer. I ran it, removed the old shared printer and re-added it, and instantly my iPad “saw” it and was able to print.

So, I’m now printing from my iPad, via my MacBook Air on the WLAN, to my office laser printer. Pretty slick, and a nice feature to have. No more emailing links and copy/paste content to one of my other computers in order to print things I find or need from the iPad.

UPDATE: There's apparently also an option out there to enable the Airprint support on Windows. I may have to take a look at that one and see if it will work on my Windows Home Server, which is quite literally *always* on, as opposed to my Macbook, which *almost* always on...

If you’re interested in what else is available in iOS 4.2 for the iPad, I suggest you check out the Lifehacker review and video.

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Apple | Geek Out | Mobile | Tech
Monday, 22 November 2010 13:52:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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