Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DOS Printing to USB or Shared Printers on Windows XP


In some case still today there are people who are required to use old DOS-based systems for their business. Not necessarily by choice but still be the case. When it comes to printing from these system it is simple in that DOS simply pushes the print straight on to the static port whether it be Parallel or Serial. However USB doesn't work in DOS.

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This is how I have setup printing to USB (or network) printers from DOS-based systems. Here I create a virtual printer port pointing to a network shared printer (even locally connected).

Sharing a Printer in Windows XP

  1. Open the printer's Property Page
  2. Select the Sharing tab
  3. Select the Share this printer radio button
    In the Share name box, enter in a share name for the printer. Something short and simple is preferable. If you are using a HP LaserJet 1020, maybe your share name could be HPLJ1020.
  4. Once you have your printer shared, click OK


Note: Also make sure that File and Print Sharing is except through any software firewalls including Windows Firewall

Mapping the Printer in DOS / Windows XP Command Prompt

Note: Map the printer share to an emulated local port.  If you also have a Local Printer on your parallel port, use a different emulated local port (e.g. LPT2).  In step 7, use this other port's name (e.g. lpt2) instead of LPT11.
  1. Open a Command Prompt (Start > Run > cmd)
  2. Type :
    net use LPTx: \\computername\printersharename  /persistent:yes
  3. Then press Enter.
Note: Where x is in LTPx:, replace with prefered port number. E.g. LPT1.

Note: For computername, use the name of your computer and for printersharename, use the share name you keyed in step 4


Note: The /persistent:yes  parameter makes the mapping of the printer to the emulated LPTx port persistent, so you don't have to issue this command every time you logon or otherwise create a batch script.

Now in the DOS application, printing to the mapped printer LPT port should print to your assigned printer.

Reference: http://members.shaw.ca/bsanders/printfromdos.htm

Monday, January 9, 2012

How to find a Unknown Device Driver

Often at work when I have to rebuild a PC there are occasions where I cannot work out what device that is labelled Uknown Device under the Windows Device Manager. However I have since found an easy way to find out what device the "Unknown".

Image Source: http://bit.ly/wR6CZr
Every device has a Vendor and Device id associated with it. If you can find this ID, you can find the manufacturer.

Open Device Manager by right-clicking on My Computer and selecting Manage. Once Computer Managment is opened, select Device Manager.

The hardware whose drivers are missing will appear as Unknown device, so it's easier to locate the device.
Right click on the unknown device and click on Properties.
Under the Properties window click on Details tab and select Device Instance Path from the drop down box.

PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_27DC&SUBSYS_30868086
&REV_01\4&1E46F438&0&40F0
There are two portions to this that we are interested in; VEN and DEV. The numbers following are the Vendor and Device IDs.

For Example:
Vendor ID = 8086
Device ID = 27DC

Once you have obtained both the IDs, you can now take these and search them in the PCI Database. There you can either search for the vendor from the vendor ID or directly get information about the device along with the vendor name by searching with the device ID.

I have found this to be a sure way to discover you missing and unknown devices and start to download their associated drivers.

Reference: How to find drivers for unknown devices - http://www.instantfundas.com/2008/06/how-to-find-drivers-for-unknown-devices.html?m=1

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Internet Explorer 6 usage continues to fall

Not that this is really news, I mean who in their right mind would be using this software but it still needs to be said.



Internet Explorer 6 was once on top of the world despite being a terrible web browser (even for its time) with poor rendering skills and security.

However Microsoft has report that in the US, Internet Explorer has dropped to below 1% usage share according to its source NetApplications.

As new web technologies develop and HTML5 and Javascript continue to advance, this old browser becomes less and less capable of displaying these pages.

According the the IE6Countdown.com website, Australia continues to sport a 1.6% market share. While it's a low percentage, that's still I high number of users.

If you know someone that is or might be using the browser, for the love of God, update them to Internet Explorer 8/9. Or even better, get them to use an alternate browser.

Foxtel on XBOX 360 Data Usage

I get asked this question every now and then I honestly could give an answer until now.


According to the Foxtel on XBOX 360 FAQ this is the data usage rates using Foxtel on XBOX 360 over your internet connection
The approximate data usage used when viewing one hour of Live TV is:
High Quality: 800MB/hr
Medium Quality: 540MB/hr
Low Quality: 360MB/hr

For Telstra Bigpond customers, the usage is unmetered or unlimited, however for other ISPs, your usage is charged.

For those looking to use Foxtel on XBOX, it does work great on ADSL(2+) and is on par with standard Foxtel service. You do get that same variety of channel although some changes and shows are unavailable on this service. For a list of the packages available, see here.