You can breathe new life to that old computer you stored away when you upgraded and bought a new computer. That old computer can be transformed into a print server for a small office or home network. A print server facilitates printing orders from all the computers in the office or home network. When a print command is given by one of the computers, the print server will make sure the print command is sent to a printer that isn’t already in use. Follow the steps below to build your own print server from an old computer for your office or home network.
Check the old computer.
Take out that old computer from storage and check if it can still run. If you detached the monitor, keyboard, power cable and mouse, you need to attach them to the CPU (Central Processing Unit) again and then plug the power cable into the wall outlet. If the old computer runs, then we’re in business. You don’t really need to upgrade the old computer’s components to turn it into a print server but you do have to check if some components are present on the CPU. The computer’s hardware should at least have a 386 or 486 processor, a 8 MB RAM, parallel ports, a floppy disk drive, and an Ethernet network adaptor card.
Download and install appropriate applications and drivers.
For this step you will need to download the Winzip and Winimage applications. To do this you can go to their official website and download them from there. Once you have downloaded them you can start installing it on your computer. Follow the steps that will guide you through the installation. Now you need to download a print server program. You can make a search for free downloads on the Internet then download it to your computer. The next step is to download the right “modules.lrp” driver file for your type of network card. Check your network card for specifications and then make a search on the Internet for the right network card driver or “modules.lrp”.
Create floppy disk to boot print server.
Unpack the print server program with the Winzip application and then run the Winimage application to create a disk image. When the Winimage application is open, a window panel will be displayed. Go to the unpacked print server program and select the “printsrv” file. Drag the file to the Winimage application and drop it in the window panel. Locate the “modules.lrp” file and drag and drop it in the same Winimage window. Place a blank floppy disk in the floppy drive and save the image file from the Winimage application onto the disk.
Set up the printer with the old computer.
Now go to the old computer and set up the printer by connecting it with a parallel printer cable. Plug in the printer’s power cable to an electrical outlet. Place the floppy disc you created into the floppy drive. When it boots up you will hear 3 beeps that will tell you that the print server is booted and ready for print commands.
Set up the printer in Printer and Faxes option in the Control Panel. Select the Add a Printer option and then Local Printer, make sure the Auto detect PnP option is unmarked. Select the Create new port option and then select Standard TCP/IP port. In the available field put in the IP address “192.168.1.252” and then indicate the PrintSrv as the port name. Go to Custom/Settings/Raw/Port and input the port number as 9100. This will allow all the computers on the network to have access to the print server.
Having a print server in the office or home network will eliminate the need to attach a printer on each computer.