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Small office, <10 users. USB printer which also has a network port. Is it better to share the printer by plugging the usb into the sevrer, and do a windows share, or use the built in network port?

We are using the built in network port at the moment, but don't have control to delete jobs in the queue that get stuck.

Thanks, Joe

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'd recommend plugging it into the network with the network socket, allocating it a fixed IP, then creating a print queue on the server that points to the printer.

Clients can then connect to the queue on the server (via a nice friendly network name), and they'll have the correct drivers served automatically (assuming this is a windows server). You'll be able to delegate permissions for the printer via the server which means being able to clear out jobs, etc.

Using the ethernet connection on the printer means it's not tied in proximity to the server, and it's generally a more robust way of hanging it all together compared to USB.

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For a small office like yours, it depends on how much printing the 10 users do and how "big" a printer it is. The way I read your question, it sounds like it's a smallish printer, maybe something like an HP 2050 (see list of e.g. HP laserjets here), as opposed to a 4000-series.

If you print enough that you have a workgroup printer, and since you have some sort of a server going, you're better off using that as a print server. Configure it to print to the printer using either USB or network, then share the printer out and the users will print through the print server. The benefit is the manageability, having jobs queue up on the server where you can log them, prioritize them, whatever.

Unless it's a very big printer, or a very very lightly used one, I wouldn't rely on the printer to queue up the jobs internally.

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Thanks very much, it is a HP J6424. I would highly recommend anyone reading this to not buy one, it is a nightmare constant paper jams and problems that require power cycling the printer. I think running it through the windows share will be best as well - for the print queue management. I am looking to buy a replacement printer, as we are printing almost constantly now. Thanks again! – Joeme May 20 '10 at 7:24

This problem has nothing to do with the printer being network-connected. This has been an ongoing problem under Windows for printers connected any way for years.

See "Solution five: Restart the Print Spooler device" in this HP document on jobs stuck in queue under Windows

For the paper jams you mentioned in your comment, see "Solution three: Clean the rollers and the duplexer" near the bottom of this HP Paper Jam document:

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