Can I use an old HP Laserjet 4050n Printer by just connecting it to my Windows 10 PC with an ethernet cable?

So here's the problem.  The printer predates USB.  It has parallel and serial ports for direct connections and an ethernet port for making it a network printer.

My Windows 10 computer doesn't have a serial or parallel port to connect it.  I've tried a USB to Parallel cable, but it's just not working for some reason.  But both the PC and the printer have ethernet connections.  Normally a network printer would be connected to a router between the two, but can I just connect the PC to the printer directly with the ethernet cable and use it that way?

5 Answers

  • 5 months ago
    Favourite answer

    A plain "USB to Parallel cable" without translating electronics module inside it is pointless.

    Here are instructions: mention a driver, and you did not.  Did you install the proper driver for Windows 10?

    Ethernet cable could be a good choice if you can connect point to point instead of through a router.

    There are many wireless print servers that connect with various cables like ethernet and parallel.

    Here is one that can connect any ethernet device by wireless and a wall power socket.

  • 5 months ago

    see the operating manual.  that might well work.  or, you can use the ethernet port to connect it to your router

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    You normally connect the printer to a network hub or switch. These are cheaper than router/switch combos. With this option, you use regular ethernet patch cables. 

    Another option is to install a parallel port to your computer. Desktop motherboards usually have parallel and serial ports on it. All you need is the cable and plug. These can be found online. The CPU case should have the right hole already.A normal ethernet patch cable won't work if you connect the PC and printer directly. You can try a crossover ethernet cable though but you don't know the printer's current IP address. There is a button to press while powering up to print a status page that might help.

  • 5 months ago

    Connecting a cable between the two won't accomplish anything on its own because neither your desktop nor the printer will be running a DHCP server. This means they won't have IP addresses set, and won't know that they're on a network together.

    You might be able to manually set an IP address on the computer and printer, but you'd still need a crossover Ethernet cable, or probably a switch, to get a network going.

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  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Connecting the printer to the PC is only part of the problem.

    You will still need a Windows 10 DRIVER for that old printer.

    Don't think you will find one.

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