Another blow to the network – printer problems sound the death knell

Final straw now for the viability of the Windows 98SE/Vista home network.

Remember how earlier I said printer sharing could work if you assigned the printer to a local port on the Vista machine? Well, it does work – until you switch the PCs off. Then the printer ends up “offline” in Vista’s eyes, and there is no way of waking it back up again unless you uninstall and reinstall it again.

Frankly this is not worth the hassle.

If you are trying to network 98SE and Vista – don’t bother. Copy the important files from your 98SE PC onto the Vista one, and use the old machine as a novelty planter. Much less stressful – and a great talking point at parties!

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98SE/Vista Network – not as good as I hoped

OK, so after a day of fiddling about with settings, rebooting, reading webpages, installing hardware and tearing out my hair I believe I now have my 98SE/Vista network working at its limit.

Unfortunately not everything works as you would expect. Probably because Vista has not been designed to support 98SE (fair enough, Microsoft themselves stopped supporting it about 2 years ago).

For clarity, the network is a Netgear WPN824 router, with the 98SE desktop wired to it through a Netgear FA311 ethernet card, and the Vista laptop connecting wirelessly. The 98SE desktop has two printers connected to it by USB.

What works?

– Vista PC can access shared files on 98SE PC
– Vista PC can use shared printers on 98SE PC (but must use tweak detailed in my earlier blog post to avoid an error)

What doesn’t work?

– 98SE PC cannot access shared files on the Vista PC (despite trying all the suggested identical user logins and registry edits)

Basically I have been forced to just use the 98SE PC as a printer server and as storage for old files. Not as an equal.

98SE/Vista home network – error 0x00000866 – and how to solve!

If you get the above error, it is because Vista has a problem dealing with a USB printer installed on the machine running the older version of Windows. This means network printer sharing doesn’t work as it should.

In my case the USB printer (HP Deskjet 940c) is running on the 98SE desktop, with the Vista laptop trying to share it.

The solution is to go to the control panel on the Vista machine, select Printers –> Add a printer –> Add a local printer.

Then either select the networked printer from the Use an existing port dropdown (it will be listed as \machineprinter), or if it is not listed use Create a new port –> Local Port and input the details manually in the format \machineprinter (in my case \Desktop1hp).

Then it will go through the setup wizard and should result in a usable printer!

Sources: http://help.lockergnome.com/vista/er-connect-er-windows-95-workstation-ftopict17937.html, http://forums.techguy.org/windows-vista/525885-cannot-connect-printer-operation-could.html

Hurrah! Netgear’s FA311v2 Ethernet card DOES work on Windows 98SE!

Was getting some mixed signals about this card – some places said it would work, Netgear’s own instructions and box made no mention of Windows 98.

So I called up their Indian call centre to see if it would work. After 3 million questions about who I was the lady’s answer was simply “try it and call us if it doesn’t”.

Well, I fitted it, I powered up the machine, Windows 98 found the new hardware, and after a little seeking around on the supplied CD I found a driver that works.

Just ask the New Hardware Wizard to look for drivers in a certain location (not to search for the best one), go to your CD drive, and install the driver that is in the FA311v2 folder. Filename is Netfa311v2.inf

It works!

My ancient steam driven PC is now connected to the new wireless router by an ethernet cable, not USB.

Now I’ve got to try and set up a network with the lappie. Might be a long afternoon 😦