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Running 4 local LPT (parallel) printers in WinXP. Can't Select in driver properties (port settings) LPT4

Posted on 2006-05-12
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Hi im running a number of applications which are required to run off parallel ports, else the application developers will not support the application. They don't support printers running off USB.

Unfortunely I needed to install 4 printers, but after adding another parallel addon card which installed correctly, WinXp refuses to allow me to assign to the port a dedicated LPTX Number.
Other than (LPT1, LPT2 and LPT3), which the three other printers must run on.

Device Manager->Ports(LPT&COM)->CardX(LPT4)
Under the driver properties page, port settings tab:
LPT Port Number: [LPT1],[LPT2],[LPT3]

I have tried adding to the registry:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports]
"LPT4:"=""

This did not work (tried rebooting ect). Driver properties page did not update. Only printer port page works where I can select LPT4, but this is not redirected to real LPT4 parallel port.


1) Now is there a registry hack to allow windows to support this?
2) Can I swap the driver properties pages dynamically, to link on port to LPT3 and another to null and back again without a reboot? (using devcon or someother application?)
3) Im am not intersted in a hardware switch.
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Question by:radarcon
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18 Comments
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:and235100
ID: 16666851
I know that LPT4+5  can be used under Windows 2k/xp  as network printers (e.g. use the NET USE command)

So perhaps there is a way in which you can redirect a net port to LPT4....
0
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:dooleydog
ID: 16667208
you may have an IRQ conflict.

here is a link with a list of commonly used IRQs. you may need to move some items aroud until the extra ports work.

http://www.helpwithpcs.com/upgrading/change-irq-settings.htm

Alternatively, have you tried to use a USB to CENTRONICS cable, or does it require actual LPT ports?

Good Luck,

0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:venom96737
ID: 16667271
They sure can print to that usb printer the developers just dont know how to do it.  If the printer is networked you can simple goto the dos prompt and enter netuse lpt4 //server name/printer name /persistent:yes    If the printer is not networked goto the computer with the printer installed and install the microsoft loopback adapter instructions here http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;839013.  Then goto a dos prompt and type netuse lpt4 //full computer name/printer name.
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:ElrondCT
ID: 16667506
One minor correction to venom96737's note: it should be "net use", not "netuse". Also, if there are any spaces in the server or printer name, you should surround the whole path with quote marks.
0
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:briancassin
ID: 16667536
Parallel ports tend to like IRQ's 5,7 but may end up on 3 (com port or IR Port) or 11


Traditionally IBM PC systems have allocated their first two parallel ports according to the configuration in the table below.

PORT NAME Interrupt # Starting I/O Ending I/O
LPT1 IRQ 7 0x378 0x37f
LPT2 IRQ 5 0x278 0x27f


LPT ports are restricted to 3 LPT ports per Motherboard / PC

http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~ih/doc/par/doc/finding.html
0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:davidis99
ID: 16670037
I concur with the prior opinions recommending using net use - this article

http://www.decompile.com/dataflex/tips/usb_printer.htm

was helpful when I had to setup a user who purchased a new Windows XP PC that had NO parallel ports, but had a parallel printer AND a DOS application that needed to see LPT1 as an actual printer.
0
 

Author Comment

by:radarcon
ID: 16671785
Sorry Guys,

The I have expressed that I need 4 printers running off one pc via parallel interfaces. The intial three don't require legacy support, but the damn company refuses to suply suport to usb device, even though the printers support it. The 4th printer has to be a dot matrix printer and that can only run on parallel port.

Im in a bit of a catch-22 here. Maybe windows can't support more than 3 parallel interfaces correctly, but the cards have no issues with device conflicts.


Does any know where it information for device drivers page properties are stored? Can the be changed? Im happy to write an application to swap the devices LPTX number in the device property page, but I don't know where the information is stored. I tried looking into the registry:


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\LPTENUM\MicrosoftRawPort\4&54ac241&0&LPT1]
"LocationInformation"="LPT1"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\LPTENUM\MicrosoftRawPort\4&54ac241&0&LPT1\Device Parameters]
"PortName"="LPT1:"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\LPTENUM\MicrosoftRawPort\4&54ac241&0&LPT1]
"LocationInformation"="LPT1"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\LPTENUM\MicrosoftRawPort\4&54ac241&0&LPT1\Device Parameters]
"PortName"="LPT1:"

However some of these values can't be changed (LPT1->LPT4) since they are in use. I tried stopping the spooler, but that did not release it:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\LPTENUM\MicrosoftRawPort\4&54ac241&0&LPT1]
"LocationInformation"="LPT1"

And the other values I could change had no effect to the drivers properties page (port settings).
0
 

Author Comment

by:radarcon
ID: 16671818
Okay Im getting somewhere with the registry:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411e6fe&0\Device Parameters]
"PortName"="LPT2"

Changing this value alter the device properties page (port settings). I know this works for altering to LPT1->LPT3, but Ill check if this works for LPT4.
0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:venom96737
ID: 16671831
try this goto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports On the
Edit menu, click Add Value .

* Add a new value with the following attributes:

Value Name: LPT # : Data Type: REG_SZ String: <blank> NOTE : When you create
the new value name, replace " # " in the "LPT # :" value name with the number
of the LPT port you want to add.

* Quit Registry Editor.

* Stop and restart the Spooler service by typing net stop spooler and then net
start spooler at a command prompt.
0
 

Author Comment

by:radarcon
ID: 16671834
Okay switching to LPT4, does not work. Is this a limitation of the spooler dll or other hardcoded windows property. Ill try dynamically changing the devices then and see if that might work.
0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:venom96737
ID: 16671983
you must net stop the spooler and then net start the spooler to get it running right.
0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:venom96737
ID: 16671986
here is a batch file that will do it for ya http://www.jsifaq.com/subL/tip5600/rh5696.htm
0
 

Author Comment

by:radarcon
ID: 16672228
I think people are missing the point here,

adding HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Ports
and for example addeding LPT4:

does not, change the driver properties pages. However it does allow you to link to a networked printer from LTP4. Since this is not relevant to me since im using 4 physical parallel ports. Rather than 3 physical and 1 network device linked to LPT4.

Im close to determining a fix, with altering the registry:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411e6fe&0\Device Parameters]
"PortName"="LPT2" and changing this value alter the device properties page (port settings). I know this works for altering to LPT1->LPT3

However this does not work without restarting the computer. However it is possible to do without a reset since windows can do this dynamically with this properties pages. I just need to determine how this occurs. I tried restarting the spooler service, but this does not update port and make it active.

Any advice would be appriciated. I know this is not a common problem and not relevant to most people, but I would like to hear some relevant suggestions.
0
 

Author Comment

by:radarcon
ID: 16672359
OKAY I Pretty Sure I have worked this out and will try this on client system.

You can dynamically swap a physical parallel port LPT# address between LPT1->LPT3 by:

Using the registry and devcon:

1) disable the port:
example: ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411E6FE&0

command line: devcon disable "@ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411E6FE&0"

2) change the LPT# address of the physical port:
example: ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411E6FE&0 assuming LPT# is set to LPT1 and we wish to change to LPT2

LPT2.reg
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411e6fe&0\Device Parameters]
"PortName"="LPT2"

3) enable the port:
example: ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411E6FE&0

command line: devcon enable "@ACPI\PNP0400\3&2411E6FE&0"


Using this you can null the LPT# on one port and assign LPT# to another port.

0
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:briancassin
ID: 16673463
What you are saying is only enforcing what I said earlier the system will only support 3 parallel ports. This is because of the I/O addressing for the port. I give you credit for what you are doing but in reality you are just doing what an electronic switchbox would do on a parallel port but you are doing it the manual way. I think an electronic switchbox would be a much easier way to accomplish what you are trying to do that way you are not constantly changing the registry

http://www.cwol.com/ieee4way.htm


if you still want to program the parallel port etc... a good reference is http://www.lvr.com/parport.htm

0
 

Author Comment

by:radarcon
ID: 16688404
Im sorry people, but since no one here has answered my direct requirments:

1) Now is there a registry hack to allow windows to support this?
2) Can I swap the driver properties pages dynamically, to link on port to LPT3 and another to null and back again without a reboot? (using devcon or someother application?)
3) Im am not intersted in a hardware switch.

I am unwilling to award points to an unsolved question, especially since I was the person responsible for providing the answer to 2).

However if someone knows a better fix, I extremely happy to award the point fully to them. I thank people for thier effort to help, but no one has yet provided an acceptable solution.
0
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:briancassin
ID: 16931306
Lee,

I tend to disagree with this recommendation because from information I know and researched on this problem the I/O addressing in the computer cannot address beyond an lpt3 port which means basically only a printer switch would work in this enviroment or networked printers with printer queues. So I guess my point is he has asked a question that pertains to a physical design limitation of computer hardware two other solutions were proposed but not acceptible So I guess I do not believe points should be refunded because us experts have given an answer that is technically correct yet not acceptible because it is not the way the questioner wants to resolve the issue. point is the computer hardware will not support 4 physical LPT ports period.
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CetusMOD earned 0 total points
ID: 16957984
PAQed with points refunded (500)

CetusMOD
Community Support Moderator
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