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"virtual" printer

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  • User profile image
    dentaku

    I've been wondering if anyone has ever seen software that works kind of like Adobe Acrobat but instead of creating a .PDF it just sends the print job to whatever is the default printer is on that machine?
    I know it sounds weird but here's why I want to do this.

    I recently came across an older Toshiba laser printer/ photocopier that doesn't have Vista PCL6 drivers and I was thinking there must be a way around it.

    The printer is connected to an XP machine that's on the network and everyone in the building uses it except for the one Vista machine because of the lack of drivers.

    If I could install something like I described on the top of this post on the XP machine and share it on the network then the Vista machine could send the print job to this "fake printer" and then it would be sent the the default printer by the XP machine.

    That would be extremely useful but I haven't found anything simple like that yet.
    Maybe it can be done with GhostScript but it seems like a mess.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Often you can "Print to File", have it save the file on some network share. There would be a daemon on the host machine which checks for deposited files, then prints them. A glorified pickup directory, if you will.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    dentaku wrote:
    I've been wondering if anyone has ever seen software that works kind of like Adobe Acrobat but instead of creating a .PDF it just sends the print job to whatever is the default printer is on that machine?
    I know it sounds weird but here's why I want to do this.

    I recently came across an older Toshiba laser printer/ photocopier that doesn't have Vista PCL6 drivers and I was thinking there must be a way around it.

    The printer is connected to an XP machine that's on the network and everyone in the building uses it except for the one Vista machine because of the lack of drivers.

    If I could install something like I described on the top of this post on the XP machine and share it on the network then the Vista machine could send the print job to this "fake printer" and then it would be sent the the default printer by the XP machine.

    That would be extremely useful but I haven't found anything simple like that yet.
    Maybe it can be done with GhostScript but it seems like a mess.


    Not sure if this will work out but it might...


    when SQL 2000 Report Services first came out they did not have a very good printing support.

    I messed with some code back then that printed a report on a server printer.

    what I found was that the internal "PrintDocument" format used by windows to do print-preview and to then send to the printer is enhanced windows metafile.

    sooo....

    if you hacked up a fake windows printer driver for XP to take the app-level printer doc object and then send that over the network to the other machine and then open the printer and feed it that data I think you just might have a network printer hack.

    you could setup a named pipe to move the data.
    EMF should be the same for Vista or XP I think.

    you might be able to get the vista hack/printer to give the xp machines basic format info to the vista apps that want to print so that the emf that is generated is compatible.
    page size, colors, dpi that stuff...



    Another Idea:   have you tried matching that printer with a matching HP printer and use the HP driver?

    a *LOT* of the time that will work!

    as long as the driver sends PCL6 commands to the printer the printer should print the data just fine.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    W3bbo wrote:
    Often you can "Print to File", have it save the file on some network share. There would be a daemon on the host machine which checks for deposited files, then prints them. A glorified pickup directory, if you will.


    That would work but it's too clumsy and I wouldn't know how to do it anyway Smiley

  • User profile image
    TimP

    Couldn't you use generic PCL6 drivers on Vista? Unless this printer has fancy features you need to exploit, any old PCL6 driver should do it.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    figuerres wrote:
    Another Idea:   have you tried matching that printer with a matching HP printer and use the HP driver?

    a *LOT* of the time that will work!

    as long as the driver sends PCL6 commands to the printer the printer should print the data just fine.



    So you mean find PCL6 drivers for an HP printer that work with a Toshiba e-studio16 and install them on the XP box and then share it hoping that printer is Vista compatible?
    I didn't think XP would allow you to use the wrong drivers.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    TimP wrote:
    Couldn't you use generic PCL6 drivers on Vista? Unless this printer has fancy features you need to exploit, any old PCL6 driver should do it.


    Interesting... I'm reading about that right now.
    I'll have to test it out next time I'm there and I have time.

  • User profile image
    gsergiu

    I don't know if it will help you (it certainly helped me):

    Using "RedMon - Redirection Port Monitor" and PS I was able to share on the network some very old Apple printer that everyone under the sun had drivers for (I was doing that to be able to print from my linux/BSDs/Sun,etc. machines as well as from windows, when no linux/BSDs/Sun drivers were available).

    What I got was basically the apple (fake) printer sent its output to a specified port, that this software was listening on. Then it sends the output to the GhostScript program that then can print it to the normal printer on that machine.
    Quite complicated to setup (takes around 20 minutes)  but you'll never have to worry about non-existent drivers ever again.

    RedMon URL: http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/redmon/

    I don't remember right now where I saw those specific instruction on how to do it, is just that you need to select a printer in Windows that knows PS. That Apple II printer knew that.

    It worked for me, it may work for you as well.

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