I Need a DOS-Compatible Laser Printer

Posted on 2009-04-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a client with a legacy DOS app that they are not yet ready to retire. Their HP4100 is about to bite the dust, and they need a replacement. I am considering the HP 2055dn, one of the few low-end HP printers that does not have a host-based driver, but I cannot find anyone at HP who will go out on a limb and confirm whether it is dos-compatible.

1) Does anyone have that printer, and can they confirm that it is or is not DOS-compatible?
     or ...
2) Can anyone recommend an inexpensive  (< $400) dos-compatible laser printer?

Question by:Tangata_manu
    LVL 62

    Expert Comment

    by:☠ MASQ ☠
    Most non-host based HP printers (and a lot of other makes of LJ) have default LJ II and LJ III support.  It's pretty basic but will work.  Suggest you grab another HP LJ printer that you have around to make sure you're happy with this and then buy accordingly.  BTW ask via HP Support not Sales for advice on printing via DOS.  The sales team are programmed not to commit :)
    LVL 37

    Expert Comment

    There is no such thing as "DOS compatibility" as there never were any printer drivers for DOS. It was up to each and every application to know how to drive printers.

    Having said that, most DOS applications send simple text to the printer. Printers that support PCL5 will happily print that. If the application also knows how to send PCL commands to change fonts etc, so much the better. As your old HP 4100 worked that implies that the app either sends text only, or text with some PCL commands. Again, any PCL printer will work.

    The next issue is the interface. Most DOS apps insist on printing to LPT1. That means you need a printer with a parallel port. You can also get a networked printer and redirect the network port to LPT1. DOS does not know USB, but a USB port can be redirected in the same way as a network port. However, networked printers are far preferred over USB for business use.

    At the low end, something like the Samsung ML-2855ND will work happily, but has no parallel port, network only. The HP P2035 does have a parallel port; the P2035N replaces it with a network port. These are just examples; as I said, just about any PCL printer will work fine for you.
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    by:Adam Leinss
    I picked up an HP 4100 from Ebay with 12,000 pages on the engine for $250 for my house.  We still use HP 4000/4100s here at work: they are easy to get parts for and are super reliable.  Just a thought...

    Author Comment

    Actually, I spoke to two people in VAR tech support, and they could not answer my question. I WAS surpised - and the reason I'm asking here now.

    I thought of that (and have done so in the past). However, these printers are getting so old that it is a crop-shoot today finding one that doesn't have dried out rollers, regardless of the page count. By the time I paid for a used printer and had the rollers replaced ... well, a new P2055 looks pretty attractive IF it will work.

    Author Comment

    Sorry, I could have been more specific. My standard test for DOS compatibility is to type the following at a DOS prompt:

    Because the P2055 does not have a parallel port, it would need to be shared and attached to LPT1 first:
    NET USE LPT1 \\{PC Name}\{PTR Name}
    I am hoping someone here has a P2055 and can do this test.
    I had looked at the P2035 (because it has a parallel port), but it is host-based and I am relatively certain it would not respond to DOS commands despite the parallel port.

    LVL 37

    Expert Comment

    It will work with the commands you listed (COPY & NET USE)

    The P2035 supports both GDI (host based) and PCL5e. See:
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    Just had a quick look on HP's website, and the P2055DN is PCL6, PCL5c and PS3 compatible.  Thus, provided you NET USE LPT1 \\%computername%\sharename you should be able to print fromn the DOS application even though you have the printer connected via USB or LAN (keep the sharename < 8 characters)  Look at

    Author Closing Comment

    While no one answered my specific question/reqeust  (an actual test using a P2055 printer), RobPetty's answer mirrored my own thinking enough that I felt comfortable going ahead and purchasing the printer for my client regardless. I received the printer today, delivered and installed it, and it is totally DOS compatible. My thanks to everyone who answered.


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