How to Build a Print Server From an Old Computer

By Techwalla Computers Editor

An old computer won't fetch you anything on eBay, nor will it run any respectable OS or programs. But don't throw out your old system! You can build a print server from an old computer and save tons of money and finally put that ancient defunct machine to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Old PC
  • Printer

Step 1

Make sure your computer is up to snuff. It doesn't take a lot to build a print server. All you need is a machine with a 386 processor or faster, 8 megs of RAM, a parallel port and a floppy drive.

Step 2

Install an ethernet network adapter card. If the machine doesn't already have an ethernet port, you'll need to install one. It doesn't have to be up-to-date either, an old 10 Mbps PCI card ought to do the trick.

Step 3

Install winzip and winimage. You'll need these programs to unpack the printer server software. Visit the Winzip and Winimage websites and read how to download and install it (see Resources below for links).

Step 4

Download the print server software. We'll be using a free print server from See the link below in Resources to download.

Step 5

Download a network card driver. You'll need a file called modules.lrp. There are many different versions of it, however, so follow the link for a modules.lrp list in the Resources section.

Step 6

Open winimage. If you installed it to the default directory, you'll need to click "Run" and then type C:\winimage\winimage.exe.

Step 7

Create a disk image. Drag and drop the printsrv image into the winimage window. This is the file you downloaded in Step 3. Next, drag and drop the modules.lrp file in.

Step 8

Save the image onto a disk. Insert a blank disk into your A drive and click Disk | Write.

Step 9

Connect your printer and power up. Connect the print server to the network. Connect a printer to the print server with a parallel printer cable, insert the disk you just wrote and boot it up. It will beep 3 times to indicate that it is ready.

Step 10

Set up client printers. In XP, click Start | Control Panel | Printers and Faxes | Add a printer | Local Printer. Uncheck "Auto Detect PnP." Click "Create new port" and then "Standard TCP/IP port." Type in the IP address as, the port name as PrintSrv and under Custom | Settings | Raw | Port, type in 9100.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some printers, such as the Brother 2070N and the Dell 1710N, are able to act as a print server.
  • If your network is not on 192.168.1.x, simply replace etc.lrp from the list in the resources.
  • This print server does not support USB printers.