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How-To: Resurrect Your AppleTalk Printer in Snow Leopard

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Did Snow Leopard (s aapl) leave your old AppleTalk printer out in the cold? Grab a hot cup of cocoa and warm your printer up with some of these handy tips to continue to use your classic AppleTalk printer with your state of the art operating system.

Print Via USB

Of course! Get a longer USB cable if possible, but what if your printer doesn’t have a USB port? It may have an old-style parallel port probably marked “LPT.” For those people who have not seen them, here is a picture of one of these ports. Support for laser printers with these can be spotty, so use at your own risk. Not all the USB to Parallel Port adapters work well with the Macs, so do some research beforehand or buy from a place with a generous return policy.

Print Over IP

Some printers that support AppleTalk support other protocols such as IP. Many old LaserWriter workhorses such as the 16/600 fall into this category. If you are in a large office, ask your IT staff for help, but for those in a small office environment who are their own IT person, follow along! The hardest part is figuring out how to configure the IP address of the printer.


Step one is to find an open IP. Don’t try to use DHCP settings because if the IP address changes for some reason, it will be invisible on the network. Look at the IP address on your Mac by going to System Preferences and then Network. Your IP address will be in the format XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX. If you are using an Airport router, it’s probably 10.0.1.x, other routers will most likely be 192.168.1.x or 192.168.0.x. I always make printers .150 simply because I was taught that in school. Why? Just because. Avoid numbers in the low single digits, one hundreds, or two hundreds. Other devices may use these. To be extra safe, open up terminal and ping the address you decide on just to make sure nothing else is using it.

Actually configuring the printer may be tricky. Some will let you do it in the printer’s control panel in a “Network” or “TCP/IP” sub-menu. Let Google (s goog) be your guide and simply search for your printer and TCP/IP settings or address. I wish I could be more specific. Some printers will have a “Printer Utility,” but those may not work in Snow Leopard. Try and print a test page so you confirm that you set the IP address correctly. Since HPs are such popular printers, here’s a link that covers most of its printers.

Next, go to the “Print & Fax” system preference pane and click the plus icon and then “IP” icon. Which do you choose from under the “Protocol” options? First try “HP Jetdirect-socket,” even if it’s not an HP printer. If it’s an older printer, start with LPD. Newer printers might accept IPP. Just type the IP address. Even if the IP address says valid and complete, that doesn’t mean you are talking to it. Most likely, Snow Leopard won’t be able to figure out which driver it to use. You’ll need to select it manually from the “Print Using” drop down. Since the printer worked in Leopard or Tiger, you’ll most likely have the driver already. Click “Add” and then run a test print. One of those three protocols should work. If not, you have other options.


Personally, I’ve had to do this with quite a few clients lately, printing to the larger business machine class multifunction copy stations, and it works like a charm.

Use a Parallel (or USB) to Ethernet Print Server

These boxes cost around $50. In my experience, I’ve rarely seen an Ethernet-only printer. As stated earlier, they usually have a parallel port as another port option.

You’ll need to confirm the print server supports printing over TCP/IP, but I’ve found that most do. It may have a Windows-only configuration utility, so be sure to check if it supports Mac out of the box, if you don’t have access to a Windows machine. Follow the procedures in the Print Over IP option above to pick an IP address and add the printer.

Alternatively, if you have a Airport Express or Airport Extreme, hook the printer up to that if the printer supports USB.

Use a Windows Machine as a Print Server (GASP!)

If you’ve tried everything else and it just doesn’t work, or you happen to have an old PC lying around, you can make it into a print server. Install the printer normally (if there is such a way) in Windows and make sure it works. Then go to “Add Printer” and click on “Windows” and your PC and the associated shared printer should appear. If it doesn’t, additional info can be found in this Apple Support document. Not all printers can be shared over Windows, but if it worked over ethernet, it should work over Windows via Print Sharing. Setting this up is not easy nor for the faint of heart! Often times a firewall needs to be configured on the PC to allow printer sharing.


Buy a New Printer

If your primary method of printing was via AppleTalk, your printer is probably pretty old, so maybe it’s time to buy a new one. A new printer has easier-to-find consumables and is most likely more energy efficient than your old one. Sure, you’ve already got money invested in the toner for the old one, but check its specs as compared to a new printer. Look at the material and labor cost of retrofitting your old printer versus buying a new one. You might be surprised at the ultimate value of buying a newer printer.

None of these solutions are a perfect guarantee you will be able to use your old printer forever, but they might help you get life out of the old bucket of bolts for a while longer, saving you money while letting you enjoy the features of Apple’s latest and greatest cat.

51 Responses to “How-To: Resurrect Your AppleTalk Printer in Snow Leopard”

  1. What about a LWPro 630 printer on the LAN with Macs connected having a variety of OS (9, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and an occasional drop-in PC) all via EtherNet (switch doesn’t have a USB port). We have a Select 360 hanging around too, but there’s no solution for that in these postings. Regardless, the Appletalk-enabled Macs may be off or asleep and we don’t want to have to start or wake them just to use print sharing. SL’s a printing problem. & why isn’t anyone suggesting a parallel-EtherNet adaptor?

    FERNAND said:
    “Just a little more information for whoever wants to follow this path, when you are in the Apple Printer Utility, select «Communication Configuration» tab, select «TCP/IP» tab, enter «» in the box beside Printer’s IP Address and press the button «Set Defaults» at the top of the page.”

    But Apple Printer Utility V2.2 (OS 9), when querying the 630, doesn’t have any tabs or TCP/IP options shown. There is a Printer’s Zone window in Communication Configuration saying “To select an EtherTalk Zone…” type it in – which now (OS 9 & Leopard) has a “*” in it (works great that way). This doesn’t seem an appropriate place to put a TCP address.

    Would a parallel-EtherNet adaptor provide TCP addressing capability & printing?

    And, its unclear a LWPro 630 even has TCP capability – there’s nothing about that in any manual, guide or on Apple’s site. So is it a big waste of time to try this approach? Ditto the Select 360. If so, what will work in the above LAN setup?

    If we were to add an AirPort Extreme (A1143), would an EtherNet-USB or Parallel-USB adaptor plugged into that provide printer access to all our Macs?

    Our LWPro 630 has only 15k pages used, max memory & suits our needs fine, so its not going to get tossed anytime soon. The Select 360 has even fewer pages on it.

    • The LaserWriter Pro 630 doesn’t support IP printing, so you are limited to either using a mac with older OS and print sharing, or the USB to Parallel trick as mentioned in the article. Either way a machine does need to stay on to make this work…

      Use an old defunct ibook G3/500 that has a screen whose backlight flashes occasionally. This works as the print sharing box as well as serving other functions (I run Asterisk Voipon it).

      Good luck and I think you can forget about the “select” sorry ;~<

  2. Trying to print on an Apple LaserWriter Select 360.
    It has an adapter to change the Centronics port to Ethernet.
    I can get close but no brass ring. I get a variety of results by choosing several different printer drivers.
    Some say printer is “paused” others say “busy, will try again is 30 seconds. I’ll continue to try. Any help out there?

  3. mittelrl, I am able to connect and print to the printer now by doing the following.
    I used my old mac with an epson utility to change the IP address to with subnet mask , it looks like the default IP was not a reachable IP in my network. I set up the printer as an IP printer “LDP” and used the GuttenPrint 5.3.2 Driver in SNOW Leapord.
    I need to do some more testing on the print quality and print speed.
    I might still try and test the USB to Parallel cable, yes I have a female centronic Parallel connector on the back of the printer.
    Thanks for your response and help

  4. Hello,

    I have an old EPSON Stylus Color 3000 ( spent $3500.00 ) that works well with MAC OS 9.2.2 via Ethernet. I can not make this printer work on my Mac Pro with Snow Leapord.

    I have tried all Ideas in here accept the USB-Parallel.

    EPSON does not have a driver that works with Snow Leapord.

    My Priner IP is with Subnetmask

    I am unable to change the IP on the printer
    Any help is appreciated, thank you Sql

    • sgl, I am not an expert at this stuff. But my hunch is that you might have to invest in the parallel plug converter (assuming you have the parallel female plug in the back of the printer) along with USB adapter plug for your Mac since the cable coming out of the parallel adapter is an Ethernet cable. [Ethernet to USB adapters can be purchased online.] If after trying everything possible with settings with the converter in place and the printer still doesn’t work with the Mac, then you can always return it and get most of your money back. At least you can say to tried.
      By the way, my printer is working flawlessly and much faster now that I have the parallel plug converter as mentioned in my previous entries.


  5. Replaced an old Mini with a new one that has Snow Leopard (all my other mac’s are on 10.5.8). With much trial and error I managed to get the new machine to print to my Linksys PSUS4 print server via the HP print socket method however…It will print a page or 2 for text just fine but when I try to print a PDF such as a FedEx label the printer just flashes it’s lights and eventually times out. Then I have to unplug the print server and reset it to get it to print again. All the machines running 10.5.8 and Appletalk print just fine. Does anyone have any suggestions? This is very un-Apple like.

  6. Mr. Greenbaum:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’d fumbled around over at the Apple Support forums, but never quite got this to work. With your clear instructions and the link to HP, I was able to configure my old, but trusty, HP LaserJet 4M+ to work with Snow Leopard.
    It may not be a miracle, but it sure feels like it. And I’m delighted to not be buying a new printer. (Since my LaserJet came with a JetDirect card installed, I didn’t have to buy anything!) Thanks again.

  7. Hello. OK, Got a brand new apple Mac and I am needing to use the METEOR X3ETY 35C-KM Ps color server v.1.0 however when I press send to printer it doesnt show up in the spool, can anyone help me. i have the new snow leopard too, it used to work fine on the old apple mac

  8. Followup to HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It’s the next morning. . .and. . . the printer STILL WORKS!! (It wasn’t a dream!)
    A couple more things you might want to know:
    1) Although at some time yesterday during my trial and error phase of getting the Laser Jet 6MP printer to work on my new iMac Snow Leopard operating system, I did have the Ethernet cable connected directly to the iMac from the HPS1P (Parallel 10/100M Print Server) which is plugged into the parallel port on the printer. But I did not go back and check to see if that would work as well with the previously said steps in Preferences once I got it working since my goal was to access the printer through my Linksys router.
    2) In previous blogs that I have read should the power go out, it was advised to turn off the printer and unplug the HPS1P Print Server, then plug in the Server and then turn on the printer to make the connection again. Should that not work, you may have to also unplug the router as well and plug that back in last.
    3) And lastly, although the HPS1P Printer Server “gizmo” fits inside the space behind the Interface Cable Door on the printer, I did have to “saw” a hole in the door and adjoining housing to accommodate the male plug of the Ethernet cable so I could reinstall the door. A small file would do the job but it will take a while. I used a small jeweler’s saw and blade to accomplish the task. With a little file work, the door is back in place and it looks like it was originally designed that way. (By the way, the AC power cord plug fits nicely through the original cable hole for an Ethernet cable.) Hopefully you have another plug opening in your power strip for the AC transformer plug.

    [in closing, I am more than happy to have taken this time to explain how I got my printer working because if it wasn’t for others who also took their time to explain what worked for them or what might work for me, I could NOT have solved this problem since the information in the accompanying HPS1P Print Server booklet (except for the IP number) was of no use to me in my situation. So, thank goodness for Blogs!!!]

  9. HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    After multiple tries, with various settings, I took the advise of Dave Greenbaum and used the HP Jetdirect-socket under the “Protocol” options to get my 12 year old HP 6MP Laser Jet printer working through my Linksys router for my new iMac with the Snow Leopard (10.6.2) operating system!!! Man, I can’t believe this. What a thrill. Ok, ok. . .get a grip!
    So, in previous blog readings I stumbled across a fellow named Han Solo who recommended purchasing an HPS1P (Parallel 10/100M Print Server) by Hawking Technology. I found one online for 49.98 plus shipping at Provantage. (Fast service by the way: I ordered in the evening on Thursday and it came this afternoon, Monday via FedEx.) As Han said, the little gezmo (that is AC powered) fits nicely inside the space behind the Interface Cable Door. Attached to the parallel port, it services an Ethernet cable to the back of my router.

    If and when you get the HPS1P installed on your printer then follow these next steps:
    First, go to Preferences and open up Print & Fax. Second, unlock the lock in the lower left-hand corner. Third, click the + under Printers and select IP in the Add Printer box. Fourth, in Protocol select HP Jetdirect – Socket. Fifth, in Address type in the Print Server IP address which is Sixth, in Queue type in: 1pt1 (Don’t ask why, just do it.) Seventh, leave Name, Location and Print Using (Generic PostScript Printer) as is and click Add. Finally, go to you document window, click print, select the printer named and hit print.
    Just maybe you will be as excited as I was when the printer spews out a printed page FASTER than your previous operating and connection system.

    Good luck and happy printing on your old HP 6MP Laser Printer in the OS Snow Leopard operation system.

    • I have managed to get my LaserWriter 4/600 working though not directly with Snow Leopard. My wife’s computer is a G4 running Leopard 10.5.8, that’s connected to the LaserWriter via Ethernet and an AsantéTalk bridge connected to a router. The printer is then made available via printer sharing. I can connect from my Mac, running Snow Leopard 10.6.2, and print no problem. Sorry not much help though if you only have the one computer running SnowLeopard.

  10. It works! I have a Laserwriter 16/600 Fax and I found someone with an old System 9 Mac and borrowed it. I had to download the Apple Printer Utility 2.2 from to the System 9 Mac, but it allowed me to change the IP address of the printer.
    I then added an IP printer in Snow Leopard using the IP address I assigned the printer (Line Printer Daemon – LPD worked for me.) Thank you for keeping one more printer out of the landfill!

    • Your solution works for me too.

      Just a little more information for whoever wants to follow this path, when you are in the Apple Printer Utility, select «Communication Configuration» tab, select «TCP/IP» tab, enter «» in the box beside Printer’s IP Address and press the button «Set Defaults» at the top of the page.

      Now go back to Snow Leopard and add a new printer with this IP address and with the Apple printer driver corresponding to your printer.

  11. Gen Williams

    I work for a small company and we all use the Canon IRC3380i printer/copier/fax/scanner – it’s not that old a printer!

    Just installed Snow Leopard, and it’s not showing up. Nor does it seem to let me add it.

    In fact I had several printers installed on here – a printer at my dad’s house [just plugged in by USB], this Canon, and a crappy old HP Deskjet F2200. The most recently used printer was the Canon, before that the Deskjet. In Print & Fax settings, the default printer is the most recently used – which it says is the Deskjet.

    I’ve had a few funny issues with IP settings [internet access, minor DNS stuff] since I installed SL on Fri but this is the only one I haven’t been able to fix. Help!? I know my way around my Mac but I’m not a support person so my technical knowledge is limited, particularly where printers and networks are concerned.

    I just noted down the printer’s IP address on this network from a colleague’s machine – does this help, can I use this to get it back up and running? The above blog suggests creating a new IP address for it, I’m not sure how that works when the printer’s already active on the network for everyone else…?

  12. I got the Belkin Cable. It allowed my Laserwriter Pro 630 to work initially but since working is very intermittant. I get an occasional syntext error notification, but generally the print will que but not print. the LW Pro does not have an IP address that I could find.

    Does this sound like a bad cable? Anybody know if a parallel connected print server will work?

    • David K

      I got my 8500 working in Snow Leopard using the above directions (HP Jetdirect option) after using Apple Printer Utility running on an old Mac 7100 to change the IP address to one accessible on my network.

    • The Laserwriter 8500 supports IP. Once configured, you can easily add it using its IP address in 10.6. It’s an excellent printer. The key is setting the IP – you may need an old Mac running OS 9 and use the printer setup utility or Laserwriter utility to do this. Run it, find the printer via AppleTalk, and set any options you wish. Then save/update. Now, go to the Snow Leopard box and add the printer via TCP/IP.

    • I’m having the same problem. Laserwriter 4/600 connected to Farallon Etherwave. I’ve connected the Farallon to my Netgear, but continue to get the message that the network is busy when trying to print. Anyone with any ideas?

  13. I can verify the simplicity of using the Belkin USB-to-Parallel cable (F5U002v1). Plugged it in went to Printer preference, cable was IDed. Renamed it for the Laserwriter Pro 630 and selected the appropriate driver.

    Did find that I had to do this from the final port connection (on a USB Hub). I didn’t take a chance on the less expensive cables that may not work.

    Thanks for the solution!

  14. I have an old HP LaserJet 5MP attached with a USB adaptor to my Time Capsule.
    It worked great in Leopard, but in Snow Leopard it wouldn’t appear.

    I had erased my machine before installing Snow Leopard so I had to reinstall the HP LaserJet 5MP printer drivers. (I don’t install printer drivers during a system install)

    To add the printer I used the IP section in the Add Printer dialog.
    – I set the Protocol to HP Jetdirect – Socket.
    – Then I put the Time Capsule’s IP address into the Address field.
    – I left Queue blank.
    – Lastly I gave the printer a name and location and set the “Print Using” popup to the HP LaserJet 5MP.

    There does seem to be a decent delay before the printer actually prints, but for an old printer setup wirelessly I’m not fussed.

    Hope that helps someone.

  15. Anyone news on using a Apple LaserWriter 12/640?

    I still have a G3 Server which possibly can function as a printerserver for this printer as well (makes more noise than the printer though). It already serves as an Epson Postscript RIP connected to a StylusColor with an Appletalk cable. Thanks.

  16. Mikiein603

    I, also, am trying to keep my workhorse 6MP printer going. It is on my home network via a Sonic Microprint print server. It seems that if I can come up with the IP address of this server I can set it up. How do I find the IP address of this?



  17. Using the Belkin cable mentioned above, I was able to add a printer but it still doesn’t print… unless I restart the computer.

    Each document I send to the printer queue has to be followed by a restart. Then just as the blue screen comes up, the printer blinks and the document prints.


  18. Need help getting Apple Laserwriter 630 Pro to work with Snow Leopard.

    Printer port is Apple Ethernet connector then to Fallon 10-T tranceiver to Ethernet cable to HP Jetdiret 175X (J6035A) printer server to USB to MacPro USB port.

    HP does refer to a disk for the server, but the only software I see on their site is for PCs. Idid have this workig on an HP printer to an earlier Mac under an earlier OS.

    Specs for server indicates AppleTalk compatible. HP Jetdirect-Socket shows up under IP in Add Printer preference. Host name or IP address is asked for. I don’t know what to use if any.

    After a long wait, I can bring up the printer in “Print Using”, but the “Add” button is grayed out. Can anyone provide any help to get the printer working.

  19. Thanks for all the positive comments. So glad I could help!

    John, I thought of mentioning the idea of going from Snow Leopard—>Leopard—>AppleTalk—> printer but when I tested it it was terribly slow. Additionally it doesn’t solve the problem long term.

  20. I have the Belkin adapter on order – thank you for the suggestion. But in the meantime, using an older Mac set up to share my Appletalk HP 6MP works well too. It now appears as a bonjour printer on my Snow Leopard Mac.

  21. I just received the Belkin USB-to-Parallel cable (F5U002v1), plugged it in and added it to my list of printers in “Print and Fax” in the System Preferences and my HP Laserjet 6MP is back in business! I’ve never seen such a simple fix. I’ve been using the Assante bridge product; I would have gone to this long ago!

  22. A reader at MacInTouch reported that the Belkin USB-to-Parallel-Printer adapter cable (P/N F5U002v1) worked with his LaserWriter. The Belkin adapter is available from Amazon for around $27 with free shipping.

    I received my adapter but I haven’t upgraded yet because of software that I am using that has been upgraded yet to work with Snow Leopard. If the adpater doesn’t work it is nice to know that I have some options…

    I really don’t want to buy a new printer since I paid $1350 for my LaserWriter 360 in 1995 and it has seen very light use over the years (I think that I have only replaced the toner cart one time!) It certainly is built better than any current laser printer that I have seen and generic carts work just fine with it.

    It makes no sense to ditch a perfectly fine printer when it can be made to work for $50 or less…