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Connecting to your Network/JetDirect Printers in Windows 8.x

I have a tendency to use things until they no longer work rather than until they have a replacement. Consequently, my printer is an HP LaserJet 4L, circa 1992. It has a parallel printer cable which in today's world is unheard of. Within the last year I was able to sundown an older PC that was only on my network to serve up that printer by purchasing a JetDirect 300X network device that has a parallel printer port.

Things worked great (ther than when connected to my client's VPN), until my system crashed the 2nd time in 2 months and I decided enough was enough and bought a new one. I love the new machine, love Windows 8, but Windows 8 wasn't showing any love for the JetDirect 300X. And to make matters worse, HP was/is still saying they don't have drivers for it for Windows 8.

That didn't work...

I decided I'm going to need a Windows 7 box for some work with my client, so I installed Windows 7 on my old laptop. I've got W8 on the desktop, and 8.1 on my Surface Pro, so I figured what the heck... and if I have Windows 7 on it, I hit the JetDirect, and in those odd moments that I need to print, I can transfer files via SkyDrive... yeah a bunch of messing around, but hey... HP said they don't have drivers, right?

So after I had Windows 7 on the laptop, I tried to add the JetDirect, and it couldn't find it... sigh... so I dug out the installation disk and ran that. It got all the way to the point of wanting to print a test page and pooted .. sigh++.

There I fixed it

When the install ran, it gave me an IP address that I wrote down: xxx.xx.1.10... and being the persistent type, I decided to take another angle at the install. I went into the Control Panel, chose "Devices and Printers", then at the top "Add a printer", which I'd done a bunch before, but this time I pushed the Stop button then clicked "The printer that I want isn't listed" which brought me to this screen:

On that dialog I took the default "Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname and clicked Next:

I selected TCP/IP Device for "Device Type", and entered the IP address I got when I was trying to install the JetDirect software:

I clicked Next and got to this progress screen for a while:

and then it crapped out :(

I decided to take a look at the JetDirect box, and the lightbar on top is actually 3 parts: Status, Activity, and Test. I pushed Test just for a reality check that the printer was still hooked up correctly, and was expecting the standard HP test page.

Instead, I got 2 pages printed in multiple languages driven by the JetDirect showing all sorts of information. Lucky for me one of the languages was English, and hey look, there's an IP address on there and it ends in 13 not 10!

Going back through the Add Printer sequence and entering a new IP got me to here:

and at that point I was golden!

I scrolled the left side down to HP, and my printer didn't show up on the right, so I clicked the Windows Update button and waited until it was done, then did it again, and there it was!

Installing on another Windows 8 PC became no problem whatsoever, as it just found the printer all on its own.

That's all Folks!

I guess a good moral of this story is to not be afraid to go 'old school' on your Windows 8 machine... and don't believe everything you read on the internet :)

Get your printers setup on Windows 8, continue on with life, and

Stay in the Light!

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