Share a Windows XP Printer with Mac OS X

Feb 10, 2011 - 2 Comments


If you’re on a Mac and you need to print to an older printer connected to a Windows XP PC, well, you’re in for a bundle of joy to get it working in OS X. While it’s not the simplest process in the world, here’s the gist of it, and it does indeed work to get an XP printer working with a Mac.

  • You’ll need to make sure the Windows XP PC works fine with the printer
  • Again on the Windows XP machine, you’ll need to install some software that emulates a postscript printer and allows redirection of printer ports
  • You’ll then need to setup an emulated postscript printer in Windows XP that prints to the real printer attached to the PC
  • Next you must setup a UNIX LPR Printer Service on top of Windows XP that points to the emulated post script printer
  • Finally, in Mac OS X you setup a new LPR over IP printer and point it the Windows XP PC

Obviously it’s not the easiest process in the world, but if you’re in a bind check out the full instructions on Robert Harder’s blog for further instruction and some more details on troubleshooting this entire process.

There may be an easier way to do this but I (thankfully) don’t have access to a Windows XP machine, so chime in if there is a better method. If you want my honest opinion, I would just buy a new AirPrint compatible printer for maximize ease of use, plus you’ll be able to print to it directly and wirelessly.

Do keep in mind that you can often just connect a printer to a Mac through USB and add it manually in the Printer preference panel, OS X will detect most printers and they tend to work without incident on most Macs.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS


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  1. Miles says:

    Is the use case centered on a printer that will work with Windows directly, but not with the Mac?

    Because if it already works directly with the Mac, I’d rather share it from the Mac to the Windows box instead.

  2. papagabz says:

    How about if you install the “Bonjour Print Services for Windows” would that be easier? >>>

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