Support for parallel port in Windows 7 and beyond.

Time has come for us to move from our XP machines to new products.
My understanding is that we will have to use 32-bit drivers for our parallel ports which for now won't be a problem.
We would really like to avoid buying all new peripheral hardware.

We can add a card with a parallel port to the new machines, but are we asking for problems down the line?

We can upgrade equipment to usb, but some of it is less than 6 months old, and the upgrade will cost thousands of dollars.

I'm trying to look into my crystal ball and make the right decision.
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David BruggeAsked:
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Joe RudSystems AdministratorCommented:
I'm happy to see you're moving away from XP.

Driver support for a given device will depend on the hardware vendor and that specific device.

Parallel support, generally speaking, isn't a problem.  Windows 7 support them, but the computers in your environment may not have them.  You may need to find an adapter such as USB -> Parallel port.  These can be found easily and inexpensively through many vendors.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I used a USB to Parallel adapter on my Windows 7 machine to connect to a printer and it worked fine. Make sure you get a good quality cable ($25 instead of the $2.99 Walmart special).

The good cable that worked on my Windows 7 machine did not work on my Windows 8 machine (which is now Windows 10). So make sure the cable is certified for the OS you are using.
As has already been mentioned, Windows 7 generally doesn't have problems with parallel ports, and that doesn't have anything to do with whether it is 32 or 64 bit Windows. The bigger problem is that many new PC's no longer have integrated parallel ports. If you have to add a USB or PCI parallel port be carefull that you get something that has drivers for Windows 7, that is often a bigger problem, particularly for USB to Parallel dongles. Also many devices connected to such USB to Parallel dongles won't work properly.

The other big problem is that for many devices that are connected to PC's via parallel ports just won't have Windows 7 drivers, or only 32 bit ones. That's where you may have issues with a 64 bit version of Windows. Sometimes also software that accesses those devices may not work in Windows 7.
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David BruggeAuthor Commented:
The printers in question are Epson U220's. Epson makes drivers for System 7 for this printer in parallel (which is on the printer) and USB for use with a USB converter cable or adapter.

In looking at other sites, there seems to be a warning from other users that sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. As always, you only get to look at someone stating the symptoms but seldom learn what the actual problem is. It could very well be just a case of not loading the proper driver in the right order. Epson is very picky about loading the driver before Window's plug and play searches for a solution.
David BruggeAuthor Commented:
Thank you all. A few extra points to Geisrud for being the first to point me in the direction of an adapter instead of a card.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are very welcome and I was happy to help.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You should also check the motherboard for the system you buy (or build).

MANY current motherboards still have headers for both parallel ports and serial ports, even though these are not brought out to the ATX header on the rear panel.

If that's the case, you only need a bracket for the rear panel that will connect to the header ... e.g.

... and since the port is directly supported by the chipset, it's much less likely to have any issues that may be encountered with an add-in card or a USB -> parallel adapter
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