Network printer is offline after reboot

My printer is connected via LPT1 to a Windows XP workstation and it is shared to the network. When I configure it on my Windows 7 laptop it prints fine, but when the laptop is used the next day the printer appears offline and it requires to be removed and reinstalled to be available again. The same holds for other workstations and laptops. I can't connect the printer otherwise because of the LPT interface.  Is it possible to change this behaviour?
rjekAsked:
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Dan MuzrallConnect With a Mentor EHS SpecialistCommented:
Glad that did the trick!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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tausifsfaridCommented:
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rjekAuthor Commented:
Sorry, tausifsfarid, the printer is connected to the workstation through an old fashioned printer (parallel) cable. No ethernet. The workstation to which it is connected has a fixed ip address. This is not the issue.
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Dan MuzrallEHS SpecialistCommented:
Have you tried restarting the print spooler service on the laptop after rebooting?

If that doesn't help, you can try a couple of things:
-Use a parallel to USB cable instead of a parallel to parallel.
or
-Try connecting the printer to a print server...something like this:  http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=parallel+print+server&oe=utf-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=2352265142912704500&ei=93zsTOanKsP78AaH7uBi&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDIQ8wIwAQ#

Hope that helps.
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rjekAuthor Commented:
Sorry, these suggestions don't hit the point. Regarding the USB suggestion: if I manage to connect one system using a USB-LPT interface, other systems trying to connect to the printer over the network will face the same issue. It is not a good idea to have everyone who wants to print to carry his computer to the printer, connect to the USB cable and print. Or otherwise, carry the printer to his workplace etc. The printer server is a better suggestion, but it costs about the same as a (cheap) printer and it has to be determined if the same problem doesn't  crop up again.
The main issue is: there is obviously something wrong with the Windows 7 network printer detection mechanism and I hoped to find here a solution for that.
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Dan MuzrallEHS SpecialistCommented:
On the XP machine hosting the lpt1-connected printer:  have you tried using a different parallel cable?
Also, what make/model printer is it, and what driver are you using (are they Win7 compatible)?

-Replacing the parallel cable has solved similar problems for me in the past.
-Check your power settings to make sure that Windows isn't powering off the LPT port.
-Replacing the parallel cable with the parallel to USB printer cable may help you diagnose the issue as a parallel port issue.  Using the printer connected via USB may also help with any hardware detection issues.

How are you mapping the printer on the Win7 machines?  If mapping via the network printer wizard, maybe try mapping from the command line:
net use lpt1 \\192.168.1.x\PRINTSHARENAME

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rjekAuthor Commented:
Hi Moonie42,
The net use command did the trick. After Booting the printer server pc and the printer the printer status remains offline. But issuing the net use <some name> <\\pc\printer> command the status becomes 'Ready'. It gives the kick the system needs. I checked it and it reproduces. Thanks for the good suggestion.
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rjekAuthor Commented:
The solution is more or less a workaraound. It works, but it remains unclear why Windows 7 isn't able to detect the presence of a networked printer.
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