having a print server is something very useful and convenient, but it often gets overlooked. today I will write about on how to setup and old computer as a print server.
Often are the times when I visit a home to fix a computer, and I notice that people use their desktop to connect a printer, then everybody fights each other to have access to the desktop in order to print, even though everyone of them own a laptop. These fights are easily avoided by setting up a dedicated computer as a print server, and if you like, as a storage place too. You only need a not so good computer for this, and do not need a monitor or keyboard and mouse to run it, you only need those peripherals when you set it up, after that just a Ethernet connection will do it.
Find a Pentium 2 or 3 computer, with 256 MB of memory, and install windows XP on it. Make sure you install an anti-virus, AVG for example. Run all the updates, and preferably don’t install anything else, unless you need to. Now if your printer has an Ethernet port, you will only need to find an RJ45 cable to connect your printer to the router or switch. The printer manual should have those instructions. Once you have assigned the IP address to the printer, you need to install the printer drivers on the computer. Follow the wizard; it will ask your for your printer IP address, Name, shared or unshared etc..make sure you share it out to everyone.
Now, if your computer does not support Ethernet connections, you will need to connect it using a USB cable, or parallel which means the printer needs to be close to the computer also. but this setup should be simpler. basicablly you only need to connect the USB cable to the printer and computer, and then intall the printer drivers and share it out. simple.
Now that the printer has been shared out, you will need to go to all the PCs that will be using the printer to map it, to do that click on START>RUN and type the name of the print server with two back slashes, for example, \\printserver that should connect you to the shared printer on the print server, right click the printer and click on “connect” that should map the printer to the local computer, and hopefully it will stay there all the time.
If you want to use the computer as an online storage, probably you will need to buy an external drive to add up space. You can find a 5000 GB external hard drive for about 150 dollars, yes, I’m talking about those huge drives. Pinky. With that storage you should have plenty of room to store your media files, and probably files from the entire family too. Probably you could host all the files on the print server and share the files to everyone else. If everyone has the same taste for music, it would be cool if everyone had access to everyone files. You could do this easily using windows media player or Itunes, but hey, that should be another topic for another post. For now, go figure these ideas I just gave you. If you need help, look at the sidebar for my services I offer remotely.
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