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Use your AppleTalk printer with Snow Leopard – UPDATE

Quick tip - Use a mac running 10.5 or 10.4, select to share the Printer that is AppleTalk and volia - your AppleTalk printers now useable to any Mac with 10.6
Quick tip - Use a mac running 10.5 or 10.4, select to share the Printer that is AppleTalk and volia - your AppleTalk printer is now useable to any Mac with 10.6

It is true that Apple has dropped the AppleTalk LAN protocols as part of the trimming done in 10.6 Snow Leopard.  It doesn’t necessarily mean its time to throw out that legacy LaserJet printer that had its printer queue setup through AppleTalk.  You could setup a print server.

If you have at least one Mac still running 10.5 or earlier on your network, you can setup your AppleTalk printer on that machine and share that printer with the other computers on your Network. Then use Printer Sharing to allow your Snow Leopard machines to still print to it. The Mac doing the Sharing would accept print jobs from the other computers as long as it was powered up and running when you wanted to print.

To use printer sharing go to “Sharing” under system preferences and enable the “Printer Sharing” service. Then, under “Print & Fax” click the box for Share this printer.  Now your legacy printer can still be used with Snow Leopard.

—- UPDATE 9/4/09 by OWC Grant—–

Our own OWC Jamie created a very well illustrated guide that walks you thru the above step by step. If you’re like me, a picture (or in this case several screen shots) is worth a thousand words…or at least three paragraphs!

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  • $50 TRENDnet TE100-P11 Print Server RJ45 USB 2.0, Parallel

    What would be ideal is a print-server similar to above that supported the rendevous-protocol and a parallel-port printer, but I don’t think that is easy to find at a reasonable price.

    Of course, if you have even a very old non-mac pc laptop or desktop with, even with a dead hard-drive, that could be setup as a print server, booting from a live-cd. Besides the usual (knoppix, etc) this SLAMPP looks encouraging:

    It might even be possible to get this to do wake-on-lan so it’s not running all the time!

  • Yo Dean S,

    Your setup sounds almost exactly the same as mine. I don’t suppose you could put online the text that I need to insert into the Print66 config file so that my Snow Leopard iMac can print to my 15 year old Apple Personal Laserwriter?

    I would hate to throw out a PowerMac and a laser printer that work so well, just because I am the only person in Tasmania who actually values these things. I don’t have sufficient geek skills to fix it on my own.


  • weak. appletalk is very light KB-wise. they got rid of it to make macos more palatable to IT supervisors. with appletalk gone, the networking protocols on the spec sheets look like pure unix.

    my 2 cents.

    i understand the strategy, but it still sucks.

  • Using an old PowerPC Mac running System 8 as a print server, I was able to successfully sep up Print66 (it’s free!) so that I could print to my Personal LaserWriter 320 using IP Printing/LPD.

    Setting up the config page isn’t for the faint-of-heart, but everything that you need is on the web )Google is your friend).

    • I appreciate your 2009 blog getting Apple Talk printers to run in Snow Leopard. Is there a way to use the parallel port to USB?