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Ask Max: Newer Macs and Older Printers

Asked on 05/26/2006:

I have an HP Laserjet 4MP printer and an Epson Perfection 1200S scanner that I want to use with my IMac G5 (which I bought from you along with two other computers and many accessories).

I continue to use them with my old Powermac 8600/300. This is quite a Mickey Mouse system, moving files back and forth between the computers.

I have contacted Apple, HP, and Epson by phone and email and have gotten nothing but a runaround. One said it couldn't be done, another said you could get an adapter, but didn't know where, another said there was no software available for OS10. (I use OS 10.4 in the iMac, 8.5 in the 8600). Can you help me?


The good news is that HP printers are well supported in Mac OS X. This includes your printer as seen here. The bad news is that you will need to add a connection to the printer to get it viewable by modern Macs. Using an external print server would be the best option. HP makes a Jetdirect product that should work, or choose a router with a built in Parallel printer port. The other bad news is this option is troublesome to setup and, in most cases, is slow at printing. The effort and hardware expense could justify a new printer.

As for your Perfection 1200S scanner, it will not be compatible. As you know the 1200"S" is a SCSI model. I have not found a reliable SCSI to USB adapter and you have no PCI slots in an iMac. So the scanner cannot make the move over to the new system. This could be an opportunity to buy a good multi-function printer/scanner instead of spending money on hardware to make your older peripherals work with your new computer. Good luck!

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