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Windows XP Doesn't Detect Parallel Port (LPT) Printers

If you have an old printer that connects to your computer using the traditional parallel port (usually a long pink socket on the back of the machine), and you're running Windows 2000 or later, you might have already noticed that Windows 2000 and up don't detect "plug and play" parallel printers like Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me did. Thus, you have two options: set the thing up 100% manually (yuck) or turn the "legacy plug and play" capability on. This information is cut-n-pasted (with some minor edits) from the Microsoft Knowledge Base article that outlines the procedure, because there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

  1. Right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.
  3. Click the [+] symbol to expand Ports, right-click Printer Port (LPT1) (or ECP Printer Port (LPT1)), and then click Properties. (Note: If you have more than one printer port installed on your computer, click LPT2 or LPT3.)
  4. Click the Port Settings tab, and check "Enable legacy Plug and Play detection," and OK.
  5. Restart your computer when prompted.

This will make almost all devices that have "plug and play" capabilities over parallel ports function as expected. For older printers such as the Deskjet 660C, this will be a lifesaver, especially if you're not comfortable setting up a printer manually like we used to do "back in the good old days."