Best practices for printers/all-in-ones RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi everyone. Just want to say that you folks are extremely helpful and very much appreciated by this WHS rookie.

    Would like to incorporate a printer and an AIO device into our WHS network. I've seen posts on this topic that favor a networked device approach, while others claim success with directly connecting printers/AIOs to the WHS box.

    1.    What is the biggest plus of the networked approach? Stability?

    2.    What is the biggest minus? Loss of full functionality for AIOs?

    3.    Are there any WHS add-ins to help maintain printers hung off the WHS box, or does one have to live with Remote Desktop Connecting into the WHS box to get those tasks accomplished?

    Thanks in advance...   Jeff

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 2:06 AM

All replies

  • The best practice is to get a network-capable All-In-One, in my opinion. It's the only way to be sure you get full functionality for all users.

    Windows Home Server itself is not intended (by Microsoft) to serve as a print server. It can do so, of course; the ability is built into Windows. However, there is no interface exposed in any WHS tool which will allow you to install and use a printer on your server, so this use is unsupported. As a result, you will have to install a printer by using physically connected console, or Remote Desktop. And depending on the printer, you may encounter a variety of problems with the printer.

    Usually you can't share any function of a local All-In-One except the printing capability; it requires special drivers and capabilities to be able to (for example) share a scanner successfully over your network, and a local AIO isn't designed for that use.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 2:17 AM
  • Ken, do you have a particular network-capable AIO in mind? A favorite maybe?
    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 2:25 AM
  • I have a Canon MX700. It was the right AIO at the right price for my family. But there are a lot of good ones out there. Hit the review sites, decide what features are most important, check some out in person. :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 2:44 AM

  • I own a MX700 as well.  If I were to buy another one today, I'd probably get a MX850.  I did have one horrible experience with the MX700, and that was with replacing the ink tanks.  I replaced them (w/ Canon tanks) and got an error 6502, which renders the printer inoperable.  The error magically went away after a day or two, however that was after spending some time attempting various tricks (i.e. doing resets - which involve mystical button presses similar to how people would unlock cheat codes on their old Nintendos).

    I believe Canon mentioned there were a bad bunch of tanks that they had made.  Although it was odd because putting the old tanks back in didn't rectify the issue.  Keep in mind, some of the AIOs will not perform any task (scanning, fax, etc...) if their ink tanks are empty.

    As for print quality.  The MX700's printing is ok.  Perhaps I'm more critical than others but the text isn't super sharp (I wouldn't print resumes with it) & the photo printing is only so so.  It does do duplexing (two sided printing) but it's not auto, you have flip the sheets.

    The MX850 gets good reviews and is top pick in consumer reports, current prices are what I paid for the MX700.

    Oddly enough, I have a Canon MP980 as well (doesn't have fax ability though).  If you don't need fax I would recommend it instead.  It's wireless & and prints excellent photos and text.  35mm film negative scanning looks remarkably good on it as well (though obviously not up to par with dedicated film scanner or even the Epson V700).

    Canon does provide a network utility to do scanning from computers over the network.  (imho not much point unless you do film scanning)

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 5:56 AM
  • I would usually not share an AIO device via WHS. (I have a Canon MX 7600, which is a bit noisy, but does a great job.)
    Many of these devices provide only client OS drivers, which are not only big, but can also only be used if the software belonging to the device will be directly installed on the client, which is attached to the device. Only if the device has an own network interface, the complete functionality is usable this way from each client (if the device supports all functions over its network interface, of course).

    Best greetings from Germany
    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 7:45 AM