Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Mac Printing

Though I’ve had my Mac for almost a year now (minus about 5 days), it’s taken me until now to allow my laptop to connect to my printer via my Mac. I have an Epson Stylus C42 Plus printer connected to my Mac via USB, and I’ve wanted to be able to print from my laptop to the printer over the network so that I don’t have to fiddle around with unplugging cables here and there. While I’ve had no problems doing this with two Windows machines, thus far having a Mac in the equation has prevented things from working – a shame considering that I’ve had no such problems with accessing network shares between Windows and Mac computers.

The answer, however, came in the form of Bonjour, and, in particular Bonjour for Windows, a link for which is on the bottom-right of that page. Once I had that installed, it was only a matter of running the Printer Wizard that Bonjour installs to add my printer under Windows, and I was able to print fine.

One gotcha I did have was that I had to use the generic driver on Windows that the Bonjour wizard selected, and not the actual printer driver which I had already installed. Using the actual driver meant that although the documents were successfully sent to the printer, they didn’t actually print out. Using the generic PostScript driver worked fine, although it means that I can’t query the ink levels or initiate printer head cleaning from my laptop – not a big deal but slightly annoying nonetheless.

Ironically, just as I was about to write this entry, Chris had a very similar experience. If you have a Mac in your house then installing Bonjour is highly recommended.


  1. I’m surprised mac printer sharing is so tricky. Thinking about it, doesn’t samba provide printer sharing? I’m sure it does. It will probably involve manually editing the samba conf files though, so I suppose it might not work out any easier.

  2. They do appear through Samba, but I wasn’t actually able to use them. Using Bonjour is just so much easier.

  3. The key thing I have found with printer sharing on OS X is that the Mac still attempts to authenticate the Windows user. As far as I can tell, there is no way for a “Guest” user to access an OS X machine. So in theory, you have to create a user on the OS X machine that has the same exact username and password as the user on the Windows machine.
    Sounds simple right? I couldn’t get this to work right anyways…windows would kept prompting for a username/password to access the OS X computer. And since it was a XP Home machine, I couldn’t save the username/password for future use (thanks Microsoft).
    Bonjour just makes it so much easier. A couple of clicks and the printer is setup and running. No usernames or passwords to worry about.