Linkstation Windows Printing Problem “Solved”

[edit: Coshy has kindly shared Windows 7 information on this; please see the comments for this post below.]

We have a Buffalo Linkstation Live NAS, model HS-DH500GL hanging off our home network serving personal files. The unit includes a print server. You hook up a USB printer, and it works. And for most of the first year, it was flawless.

Then, at some point in 2008, it stopped printing. Or, rather, it stopped printing from Windows. In the case of this particular printer, it’s shared on one local network here consisting predominately of Windows and Linux computers; the odd thing is that we could still print from any random Linux box we’d attach to the LAN. No PC running Windows would work any longer.

Linkstation-HSDH500GLAnd after probably two months of printing from Windows not working, it suddenly spit out some old stuck docs (roughly two months old or so–I know, right?) and started working again. And it worked again normally for many, many months.

Until a few months ago, when it stopped again. And this time, it’s shown no signs of coming back to life.

And once again, we can still happily print via Linux all day long, like there’s no problem at all. File server functionality (across all OSes that access it) is still totally fine as well.

Digging around, it seems it’s a pretty common problem. These devices (and not just our 500G model, it seems) apparently don’t handle Windows printing very well and, over time, eventually fall over, seemingly dead (from a Windows printing point of view). Documents seem to stick in a print queue somewhere. In our case, on any Windows machine we looked at, the Windows print queue always seemed to show as pending the last print job from whatever Linux box–a print job that we know has printed and been held in our hands.

So those stuck documents…are they really stuck? Attempts to empty spooler folders, restart print services on Windows, monkey with bidirectional-communications settings, etc… nothing worked. XP, Vista, made no difference. We have not tested this with Windows 7, but we assume the problem exists there as well, as it appears it’s a Buffalo/Linkstation problem, and not an issue with Windows itself.

The only apparent solution is to completely wipe everything from the Linkstation device (not just configuration info, but all of your data), monkey with setting the NAS software into a debug mode, and force-updating/overwriting the firmware to “reset” it completely. This resets everything. User data, user configurations, everything. We weren’t about to blow away the data or deal with moving it around if we didn’t have to. If that solution works for you, go for it. Sadly, even this extreme solution does not work for everyone.

We went a different route. Our workaround? Installing Print Services for Unix, under Windows. It’s dead-easy, assuming you have access privileges on your Windows machine, and here’s a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article that tells you how:

Print Services for UNIX: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324078

You’ll need to install this on each Windows machine that won’t print (likely all of them once this bug rears its head); it can be automated in the normal ways if you have a larger installed base of affected computers.

The normal way Windows users are told to connect to their Linkstation’s print server is via Network Neighborhood. You navigate to your Linkstation device, see the print server, right-click, and choose “Connect…”. That sets up a printer connection. You choose the driver or provide one, and you’re off to the races. If you don’t go that route, you can always add a printer via the Printers control panel and end up with the same result. Only, once it stops printing, good luck printing consistently that way ever again.

Follow the KB article instructions to get Print Services for Unix installed, then configure an LPR port as described, giving either LAN IP or name for your Linkstation, pointing drivers at it, and start printing again.

It doesn’t solve the problem of Windows printing directly, but it does pretty easily solve the more general–and ultimately more useful–“I just wanna print from Windows, but can’t” problem. Hopefully it works for you, too. We wanted to let this run for a few weeks or so without issue before writing it up; so far, so good.

And Buffalo, we shouldn’t have to say it…. but you might want to finally fix this long-standing bug in a way that doesn’t require people to pay for twice the archive/backup hardware they really need (buying another backup/archive solution as temporary or replacement storage altogether).

46 thoughts on “Linkstation Windows Printing Problem “Solved””

  1. Excellent, thanks very much.

    Here’s how I did it with a HP LaserJet 1020 and Windows 7

    A) Connect printer to USB port on Buffalo L/S and turn on L/S & printer.
    B) Go to Control Panel/Programs and Features/ Turn Windows Features on or off, under Print & Document Services turn on LPR Port Monitor, LPD Print Service, and for good luck, Internet Printing client.

    1) Update drivers on any Windows 7 machines if you got those
    2) Log on to LinkStation as Admin
    3 ) Set a static IP address (on Linkstation ) Network/Automatic disable)
    4) Enable Printer server on Linkstation
    5) Delete any old print queue

    Then Follow Alex’s instructions. Windows 7 kept coming up with ‘print-spooler service not running’ until I updated the print drivers on the Win 7 machines for the HP Laser Jet 1020. Do that first. Then set the LOCAL lpr port using the Microsoft instructions. Brilliant!

  2. Perfect. You saved my day as well. Thanks for an excellent post! Worked both on XP and 7. Make sure you choose LPR and not Standard TCP/IP port, which I was tricked into somehow twice before I realized that this was the problem.

  3. wow , and I thought I was alone with this problem, one of the reason bought a Linkstation was the price and that it included a print server, but after 4 months or so it stopped working for no apparent reason.
    OK, I understood everything up to #5 MS link that you posted, the print address, is that the servers IP for example on mine 192.168.2.2 ?

  4. @Dazza: Thanks for visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚ The server name/address is the Windows name or internal IP address of your Linkstation box. In my case, I’m using the Windows name I assigned to mine (“argos”). The queue name is “lp” (L, not 1), and do not include the quotes on either when you enter them. The local LAN IP address should also work just fine if you prefer that (and it’s a static address). Good luck!

  5. Great! Worked for me as well. I was really frustrated because of the long delay in printing and the “freezing” of my computer.

    Thanks for that tip!

  6. Has anyone solved this on different models like LS-CHL Linkstation Live? Didn’t work for me on Windows 7 using HP Laserjet 1020.

  7. Thank you very much for this posting! I just purchased the Linkstation Duo and was at a loss for how to configure. I first tried to setup a TCP/IP printer port in Windows with IP Address of the LinkStation using Port 9100 as that is what I do to setup my two Wireless Printers. But, I didn’t think about the good old LPR Port. So my config was the HOSTNAME of the Linkstation (LS-WXLDF9) and lp for the queue name. Works great. I’d recommend using the HOSTNAME rather than the IP Address just in case in changes if you are using DHCP.

  8. @Barry: You’re welcome; glad it worked out for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    @mierski: Sorry about the late reply. I only have the one model, but if they include a print server running lpd, I can’ t imagine some variation of these instructions not working; the steps and functionality are both fairly standard stuff.

  9. Has anyone tried this on Vista? I can’t get it to work. It just keeps breaking my print spooler service and saying “spooler sub-system application error”.

    Ahhhhhhhhh!!! Help!

  10. Hi,

    This fix worked perfectly for me and revived my HS-DHGL500 LinkStation’s print function.

    A great side benefit is that talking to the Linkstation via Unix commands has removed the delay in printing that I used to suffer – each PC on the network now feels as though my Epson multifunction printer is connected locally.

    Thanks for the lateral thinking, it’s much appreciated!

    Regards
    Pete

  11. @Amy: Sorry to hear that… Coshy posted a solution in his comment here; did that not work for you? Seems updating the 1020’s printer drivers was an important step as far as the spooler service was concerned. I’m unfortunately unable to test your specific setup here. ๐Ÿ™

    @Pete: Glad it’s working for you; thanks for stopping by and commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thanks a lot. I have an Iomega Home Media Server and a Brother HL 2030, but the problem was the same so I gave it a try and it worked.

  13. @Mats: I had not considered that similarly-functioning devices might benefit from this as well! Thanks for discovering that and sharing with us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Thanks Alex. Combined your fix with Coshy’s advice and have resurrected my HP Business Inkjet 1200 under windows 7 on my Buffalo HS-DHGL148. I was at my wits end…it wasnt a logical problem, nothing had changes. Just flaky I guess.

  15. @kingbadger88: You’re welcome; glad you got it working! That was the most frustrating thing for us, too, when it worked and then suddenly… didn’t. Then did. Then didn’t… seemingly for good. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

  16. This has worked for me in setting up my LinkStation, many thanks.

    I used the IP address (that I believe to be static) for my LinkStation when setting up the printer in Windows, and lp

    Works from both my wired desktop on XP and a Laptop with Win7, ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Thanks
    1 week to learn LPRng and samba got me nowhere on my Duo.
    Fixing LPRng was easy. The printcap file was empty.
    But samba would not authenticate no way! no how!
    Of course file access was fine?????

    Why didn’t Buffalo just do it your way???

    Your method works great THANKS!!!

  18. @George: You gave me a good laugh (I know it’s not actually funny…)! And you’re welcome; I’m glad you found the post and that the solution worked for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. This worked for me:

    Setup is an old Linkstation HD-HLAN (100GB drive), Firmware 1.44, Samsung SCX4216F multifunction printer connected to the USB port, home network with Windows XP, Vista and Win 7 machines.

    I just couldn’t get mine to work through a TCP/IP port on the Win 7 machine. I eventually got it to work quite quickly by this connection method using a LOCAL port

    1. Click โ€˜Devices and Printersโ€™,
    2. Click Add a Printer
    3. Click ‘Add a local printer’
    4. Click ‘Create a new port’
    5 Select Local port, click Next
    6. Enter port name as \\linkstation\lp then click OK
    (Note: If this port does exist then click ‘Use an Existing port’ and select \\linkstation\lp LOCAL Port back at step 4. Important to make sure its a local port and not a TCP/IP one)
    7. For driver select Samsung SCX-4×16 series (the universal print driver which is supposedly for W7 x64 doesnโ€™t work. It simply starts the printer but then fails to print anything)

    Hope this helps someone out there

  20. Great thing! I was really confused why my Buffalo LSD NAS stopped printing.
    But: it stopped from my MacBook with OS X 10.6.7 too! Because I was only to print on my HP 1218 with the Windows share. There is no LPR on the Mac, only LPD and this doesnt work.

  21. OK, my “solution” is, I shared the (LPR-)printer on a windows machine and use the windows share in the MacBook. Before I used the Windows share on the NAS.

    It is not beautiful but it is working and the windows machine is mostly switched on ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. @franc: OSX certainly does let you print to LPD printers. Are you just not sure how to set it up, or is your Macbook’s ability to do so actually broken in some way? I mean, if you’re happy with your setup, I’m definitely glad it’s working, but if you’d rather print directly to the Linkstation print server from your Macbook, and not have to leave your Windows machine on all the time, you should certainly be able to do so. Check “How to add a network printer (AppleTalk or LPR)” in the FAQ entry at

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1800

    Remember to look for “LPR Printers using IP” in the printer utility. Linkstations seem to use “lp” (without the quotes) as the print server name; you can otherwise use the Linkstation’s IP address if it’s been set up as a static address. If it’s not set static, you might consider setting it up that way.

    If you already knew some or all of the above, my apologies; just trying to cover all the bases. Thanks again for writing. Take care!

  23. Great stuff Alex, mine one worked fine for years with Brother HL-2030 but it got messed up with new HL-2130, this is the only fix that worked for me. Take care!

  24. Great stuff!! I couldn’t figure out why my previous laptop and current desktop running XP printed OK but my new Windows 7 laptop didn’t. Your method worked perfectly.

  25. Many thanks! I successfully set up my new Dell 1250c Color Printer on Windows 7 following Alex’s and Coshy’s instructions. I chose the normal printer driver (which the help file calls “host”) rather than the XPS driver. The same process worked for a Vista laptop, without attaching the printer physically to that laptop – I just installed a printer to FILE:, chose Have Disk…, pointed it to the right drivers directory on the Dell CD, then deleted that printer and created a new one as above, using the existing driver.

  26. I began having this issue of documents not printing after several years of no issues. I understand the directions of the fix up to #5. I am running Windows Vista. My Linkstation IP address is 192.168.1.130 (factory default). I have an HP 2015D printer attached to the USB port of the LS. I followed the steps to enable LPR ports. When I go to add the LPR port, the name of server I entered was 192.168.1.130, and the name of printer is HP2015D (is that right?). It seems to allow me to complete this process but nothing happens when I print to this printer.. any thoughts?

    Follow up: The print jobs just remain in the queue….

  27. @Stephen: The printer name is the name of your LS, or you can use the IP address (ideally it’s a static address you’ve set up). The actual port name should be ‘lp’ (no quotes).

    Please follow up; I’m definitely checking/approving/responding to comments on this still. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. @Alex: It allowed me to set it up but the print jobs remain in the print queue. Do I need to shut down the linkstation and restart it? Same for the printer?

    Follow up: Documents in Queue state: “Printer Busy or Error”

  29. @Stephen: You shouldn’t need to restart your LS. You should probably remove the previously installed printer and start fresh; this should clear the queue, too.

  30. Thanks a million! I was suffering from very slow printing from acrobat and had been trying to resolve that when I completely lost the use of the printer. I’m using XP SP3 and Linux netbook clients. Switching to LPR on both machines has resurrected the ability to print and also fixed the speed issues. ๐Ÿ™‚
    One symptom of the issue appeared to be hoards of TCPIP connections being established and then abandoned. This manifested as long lists of connections in TIME_WAIT state when running “netstat -no” from the command prompt.

  31. Another very happy punter here. My Macbook never stopped working but my wife’s Dell Inspiron 1525 (W7) had become very hit and miss trying to print to Stylus DX4200 via ls-wxl229. Instructions as above from yourself and Coshy worked first time.

  32. Another bacon gratefully saved! Was about to dispatch Win 10 computer with an axe while waiting for Adobe PDF’s to print on our Buffalo Linkstation print server.
    Now, both the print dialogue and actual print happen instantly. Microsoft, you suck. It worked fine before Windows 10.
    Thanks Alex and Coshy. I just added LPD and LPR support in Add/Remove Windows Components, then set up a new printer from a new LPR port (Linkstation Name and ‘lp’ for Port Name) and hey presto!

  33. @Miguel: It’s pretty cool to see what’s now a very old post still helping people out.

    For anyone else reading, with Windows 10, my old HP laser would not work at all anymore with new Windows 10 machines across my network, using any HP drivers–even networked directly to the printer avoiding the LS entirely. This method of ours through the LS is now the ONLY way I am able to network that printer on those Windows 10 machines.

    Anyway, I’m glad you got it working! Happy printing!

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