Parallel port devices

March 27, 2009 at 18:34:10
Specs: Windows XP 2002 SP3, Celeron 2.67 GHz 448Mb Ram
I have an interesting story to tell and thought I should post it up here, as it may help others who have been trying to get old parallel port devices to work on WinXP.
Back when I was running Win98 I had lots of parallel port devices that worked very well. On upgrading to WinXP I noticed that very few of them would work at all. Well actually, it was more a case of WinXP being unable to detect their existence.
One of the devices I had was an external CD-Rom drive. I had read in the manual that the case could also be used to house and operate an external hard drive. So I took a hard drive, the external case and the drivers to the computer shop in our city and asked if they could install the hard drive for me and get it working. It sat there for 2 weeks, during which time they managed to drop the case and crack the corner. They told me that it cannot be done. They claimed that a hard drive can't be installed and, in any case, it will not work in WinXP.
Some months later I decided to have a go at it myself. The hard drive fitted into the same place easily (took me less than 5 minutes to install!). I tried it first on a computer running Win98, using an old version of Swissknife.exe, and it worked perfectly! Then I tried it on WinXP, but it would not work, or at least WinXP seemed unable to find the device. Also my old version of Swissknife would not run in WinXP.
I posted a message on an internet forum and was told that I might as well bin all my old parallel port devices as they will not work in WinXP. I was also told that modern computers are only designed to support USB. I almost took their word for it, but am glad I didn't.
For the benefit of others, here is the solution to getting old parallel port devices working in XP.

1) Make sure you have EPP/ECP set for your printer ports in Bios (seems obvious, but it's amazing how many people forget to check this);
2) You need to enable plug and play detection in WinXP. To do this, right click My Computer, click Properties, click Hardware, Click Device Manager. Right click printer port (LPT1, LPT2 etc.), then click properties. Click Port Settings, click Enable Legacy Plug and Play detection, Click OK. Restart your computer if prompted.
3) To operate an external hard drive through a parallel port, make sure to get the latest version of Swissknife.exe (3.22) , which is WinXP compatible (earlier versions may not be). I've found the best download site for this to be:
Make sure the whole file downloads. The first time I downloaded this file from another site I only got 1Mb. The actual file size should be around 4.34Mb.

So there was no need to bin all of my old devices afterall! The only device I am having problems with is a very old Kodak CD Writer, but it used special 650Mb discs that are no longer obtainable, so it is hardly worth the bother.

I hope this information helps.

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March 27, 2009 at 20:36:31
Well here is another tip by default whether you have a Printer or not you should install a generic printer driver anyway when it ask for the type of printer select text only then set it to print to a file. This insures that your computer has a default parallel port printer device that doesn't exist installed and detected. In windows 98, XP, Vista they all have a generic driver for a text only printer, is an old windows 3.1 work around. Afterward restart windows then open my computer click change a setting then click switch to classic view, click on the add new hardware icon and have windows scan you computer for new devices. It may magically detect your parallel port device anyway plus it already has a parallel device installed.

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March 28, 2009 at 11:10:28

just to add , the other day a client has a epson 700 photo printer still working fine but had upgraded to a a usb only pc no serial or parallel ports ,, this was solved connecting the printer to the pc, via parallel to usb cable

cheaper option on ebay

however this link probably more permanent for future ref.

note its 36 pin, (there are 25 pin cables but im not sure what the difference is)

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