Printer Snaring

Got a highly heterogeneous network, some statically assigned IP addresses and maybe, just maybe, you’re trying to share a printer off an XP/SP2 machine? Printer sharing completely boned for no obvious reason? Have I ever got what you need.

If you’re running XP, odds are pretty good that your NetBIOS setting says “Do whatever the DHCP server says to do” whether your DHCP server has anything to say on the matter or not. So no NetBIOS for you, and (believe me, this is super-awesome) if you’re trying to share a printer from that machine (in the traditional manner of picking “sharing” and saying “yes”) it will indeed say yes, you’re sharing it, everything’s fine. That printer is a shared printer, it will tell you, and that will be a lie. And you’ll be able to see it locally, but nobody else anywhere will be able to touch it. And every error message you’ll see will be misleading, obfuscatory bullshit, and unless you know the NetBIOS trick (that being “trudge through eight layers of sub-menu to find it and turn it on”) you will have absolutely no chance of getting it working at all ever.

Windows networking is so fucking awesome I could scream.


  1. Jim Millen
    Posted November 23, 2004 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Out of curiosity, have you ever had to deal with Windows 98 or, god forbid, Windows 95 networking? However bad XP is – and yes, it’s not great – it’s barely even an irritation compared to earlier non-NT Windows.

    In a Win95/Win98 network I once had to set up, all but one machine could see & access all the others’ resources. That one machine, though configured exactly the bloody same could not see or access anything non-local even though its resources were visible and accessible to the others. Go figure. It took the sacrifice of a black goat at midnight to get the thing working…

  2. Mike Hoye
    Posted November 23, 2004 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Believe me, I am a seasoned veteran of Windows networking, and I am never, ever going swimming in the Win9x cesspool again.