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Tech Tip #3: Printing from your iPhone in Windows

Finally! Printing from the iPhone
Let's print, people.

OK, so I occasionally (VERY occasionally) post Tech Tips here on Claire De Lunacy. Basically, when enough people call, e-mail or send a pigeon to my house about a particular issue, I feel moved to do a little write-up on the topic and help you, the faithful readers, accomplish something technical while (let us hope) boosting your happiness, productivity, and attractiveness to the sexy ladies/menfolk.*

If you’re anything like me, I pity you. Also, you probably have an iPhone, and as you know, in the latest update to the iOS operating system (iOS 4.2), Steve Jobs and his faithful demon servants added AirPrint support. What does this mean, you ask? Well, basically, it means that you can print from your iPhone to any AirPrint-enabled printer. “Ah ha!” you add, raising your finger aloft in that gesture that always makes me want to pop you one right in the snoot, “But what IS AirPrint? Does it require air? Do I need to kill a chicken to add it to my humble computer? And why am I asking all these questions when I could be reading your fine directions on installing AirPrint?”

Excellent questions, all.

By way of answer, let us proceed directly to the directions!  [NOTA BENE: Macintosh users, you can go here for directions on adding your iPhone to the Evil Mac Network directly. Be sure to put a drop of real blood on the connectors, or it won’t work.]

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: I am, among other things, a nerd. One who has been tearing apart computers since she was nine years old. So I’m comfortable mucking about in the guts of both the machine and the software it runs. If you feel as though you might have a panic attack when your firewall asks you a question, these directions are most likely NOT for you. Contact your kid (you know which one), your niece/nephew, or that nice boy down the street who always looks so pale. They will help you.

Onward!

PREPARATION

First, make sure that your printer is shared. If you’re not sure, go to Start>Devices and Printers and right-click on the Printer you want to access from your phone. In the menu that appears, choose “Printer Properties,” then go to the “Sharing” tab. Your screen should look like this (click on the image to view it full-screen):

Sharing is good for the soul.

Now, make sure that you’ve shared the printer by checking the appropriate box, then click “OK.”

The next prerequisite is to install iTunes 10.1. If you don’t already have it, you can get it here: Give me my damned iTunes, already!

The final prerequisite involves downloading AirPrint.zip. These are the files the service you’re about to create will access to enable printing, so make sure you’ve got them properly downloaded. GET THE FILES HERE.

GETTING STARTED:

OK, so now that you’ve got iTunes, a shared printer, and AirPrint.zip, you’re ready to print to Windows from your iPhone! (Note: These instructions are for users of Windows XP, Vista and 7 only. If you’re still using ME, 95, or 3.11, I would like you to go sit in the corner and think about your life choices, mister.)

FOR 32-BIT WINDOWS USERS:

Navigate to C:\Program Files and create a new folder. Name it AirPrint, as shown below:

New Folder (32 bit)
New Folder (32 Bit OS)

FOR 64-BIT WINDOWS USERS:

Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86) and create a new folder. Name it AirPrint, as shown below:

New Folder (64-Bit)
New Folder (64-Bit)

COPYING THE SOFTWARE:

Remember the AirPrint.zip file you downloaded in the pre-reqs? Well, now is the time to unzip that file to the folder you just created. There should be three files in the folder once you’ve unzipped it, like so:

Unzipped Files
These are your three amigos in printing fun!

CREATING THE SERVICE:

1) Go to C:/Windows/System32 and find “cmd.exe” Right-click on it and choose “Run as Administrator.”

Command Prompt
Trust me, you want to run it as an Administrator.

2) Once you run it, depending on your OS, you’ll type the following:

FOR 32-BIT WINDOWS USERS:

  • sc.exe create AirPrint binPath= “C:\Program Files\AirPrint\airprint.exe -s” depend= “Bonjour Service” start= auto
  • [Press ENTER]
  • sc.exe start AirPrint
  • [Press ENTER]
  • FOR 64-BIT WINDOWS USERS:

  • sc.exe create AirPrint binPath= “C:\Program Files (x86)\AirPrint\airprint.exe -s” depend= “Bonjour Service” start= auto
  • [Press ENTER]
  • sc.exe start AirPrint
  • [Press ENTER]
  • Your command window should look like this (32-Bit users will have a slightly different path as indicated above):

    Command Prompt
    Command and Conquer.

    FINISHING UP:

    1) Your firewall may prompt you for permission to allow AirPrint to run and permit external access. Make sure you approve it so your phone can reach your printer.

    2) The first time you print from your iPhone, you’ll have to enter a user name and password. This will be the same user name and password you use when logging into Windows.

    And that, as they say, is that. Happy printing!

    *Attractiveness boost not guaranteed. Consult your physician before following any Tech Tip.

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