How to Build a Print Server From an Old Computer

How to Build a Print Server From an Old Computer. 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.

Stack of old, broken and obsolete laptop computer
How to Build a Print Server From an Old Computer
credit: ThamKC/iStock/Getty Images

Step

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

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

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

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

Step

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

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

Step

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

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

Step

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

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 192.168.1.252, the port name as PrintSrv and under Custom | Settings | Raw | Port, type in 9100.