Network printers with mismatched Windows versions

Last Updated on July 15, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

Jim, one of the longest-running of my longtime readers, wrote in last week about his experiences getting a venerable HP Laserjet 1100 working between two dissimilar Windows machines. Network printers with mismatched Windows versions always present a challenge.

Not only that, as time wears on, new challenges rise up to replace any old ones that don’t exist anymore. I’ll let Jim share, then add my own experience.


Tore my hair out last night for almost an hour trying to connect a Win7x64 to a ptinter attached to a Win7x86 machine. Hewlett-Packard, in its wisdom, does not have a Win7x64 driver for the venerable HP LaserJet 1100.

I jumped through all kinds of hoops, downloaded a bunch of drivers from Windows Update (which took forever) and still no luck. (I’d suggest using a wired connection for Windows Update because the files are BIG)

Finally Googled again and searched more thoroughly. Came up with this solution, author unknown, which works great. I’d forgotten about it, but you can use it to connect a Win7x64 to an WinXPx86 machine, too.


“Here’s how I got my LJ1100, which is attached to my wife’s XP machine, to work on my W7 x64 box.

If it’s locally attached, you shouldn’t need to go the the add a port steps:

1: Install a local printer (lpt1:) even though there isn’t one. Tell it to get the driver from Windows Update (there’s a button). This will take some time.

2: When the windows update drive download completes, select under HP (not Hewlett Packard) the LaserJet 1100 (MS) driver.

3: If you’re using a local printer, go to step 6, otherwise: Don’t print a test page.

4: Right click on the newly created printer, and select Printer Properties. Select the ports tab.

5: Add a local port, and name it the full UNC path on which the printer is being shared, such as \\win7x64\printer. Check that port, uncheck the LPT1:, and Apply.

6: Go to the General tab, and print a test page, it should work.”

Yes, this trick works for getting any printer, not just an HP 1100, to work with mismatched versions of Windows. These days, many of us have them, even if it’s a mixture of 32- and 64-bit Windows 7.

Manufacturers rarely provide new drivers for printers that are more than about five years old. Microsoft will write drivers for old printers that were popular enough. HP wants you to buy a new printer, while Microsoft doesn’t want you to stay on a 15-year-old version of Windows just because your 15-year-old printer that still works fine doesn’t have a driver for the new version of Windows.

Sometimes networking printers is easy; manufacturers want it to be easier with new ones than old ones because it helps them sell new printers that use costlier toner cartridges. Network printers with mismatched Windows versions presents a challenge, but with these tips, you can work through them.

Further reading

If you also need to connect a network printer to Windows 10, see this entry. You can also still share Windows 10 printers by UNC, and here’s how to change your printer’s IP address if you need to.

If you found this post informative or helpful, please share it!

One thought on “Network printers with mismatched Windows versions

  • January 29, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Except for replacing the pickup roller, I think I’ve gone through all of three cartridges since buying it in 1999.

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