MacInTouch Reader Reports

Reader Reports: Printing

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Jun. 27, 2016
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Individual and Archived Topics

Jun. 27, 2016



Ron LaPedis

This isn't really Mac related, but I bought a new HP Laserjet M521dn printer and it hangs a couple times a week with the power button and touchscreen lit, but completely comotose. Cannot print to it, receive a fax, and the touchscreen just beeps when an icon is tapped.

Does anyone else have this printer and have the same problem? HP just tells me to power it off and on when it happens.

Jun. 28, 2016



David Charlap

Ron LaPedis wrote:

"... HP Laserjet M521dn printer and it hangs a couple times a week with the power button and touchscreen lit ..."

I don't own one of these, but are you running the latest firmware?

On HP's web site - HP LaserJet Pro MFP M521dn - there is a firmware update (version 20150112, dated February 25, 2015). If your printer is not using this version, I would recommend downloading and installing it before attempting other more complicated solutions.

You should be able to check the firmware version by printing a configuration page from the printer's "Reports" menu.


Neil Maller

Ron LaPedis writes:

"I bought a new HP Laserjet M521dn printer and it hangs a couple times a week with the power button and touchscreen lit, but completely comotose. Cannot print to it, receive a fax, and the touchscreen just beeps when an icon is tapped.
Does anyone else have this printer and have the same problem? HP just tells me to power it off and on when it happens."

We've had one of these printers at the office since last year sometime and have never experienced that, or indeed any other, problem with it. Assuming that your problem doesn't follow any particular user action, I'd be inclined to think that your unit is defective in some fashion.

Jun. 29, 2016



Ron LaPedis

Yes, latest firmware is loaded. Since this is completely random and one other reader isn't seeing it, I think I may have defective hardware.

Jun. 30, 2016



Philip Levine

For many years I could select a group of files, all contained in the same folder, and slide them onto my desktop printer icon, and they would print beautifully. Now (using 10.9.2) I have not found any similar method. I have for years now had to slide my text files, one at a time, onto the printer's icon in the Finder. If I use my former method, and select multiple files to print, they don't print in any recognizable order, which is useless for me. The files may be listed in alphabetic order in the Finder, but selecting and printing them as a group doesn't seem to have any order. I have tried Apple Store geniuses, professional Mac consultants, many online searches, with still no luck. Can anyone help with this?

Simply, how do I print multiple selected files from the Finder in 10.9.2?

Almost all internet searches for a solution only tell me how to print a *list* of the files, but not the files themselves. Is there a solution using [AppleScript] (about which I know little)?


Brian S

Simply, how do I print multiple selected files from the Finder in 10.9.2?

IIRC, dragging and dropping your selected files on the printer application (or an alias of it on your desktop ) should print the files. For example, my printer application is "HP LaserJet 1200" located in my user Library at:~/Library/Printers.

So make an alias of your printer application and put it on the desktop. Dragging and dropping files on the alias should send them to the printer. This is OS X 10.11.5 but it should be similar if not the same in OS X 10.9

Jul. 2, 2016

Wireless Printing


Bill Gaskill

I'm hoping the MacInTouch community can assist me with a connectivity problem.

I'm trying to print with a LaserWriter 12/640 from the various wireless Macs in my location (I know the LaserWriter is old and out-of-date, but this is more a tech challenge than a practical matter).

I currently have the printer connected to my Airport Extreme router through a FriendlyNet adapter plugged into the printer's Ethernet port, and from there to the router via Cat5. My Mac Mini, which is directly connected to the same router (and running 10.11.5), cannot "see" the printer. However, a G5 tower connected to the router can see the printer.

I've set up the G5 to share that printer connection with other Macs here (including the Mini), but I'd like to finally retire the G5 from service and save a few kilowatts.

I've tried setting up the printer via IP connection in the Printer Preferences pane, but the Mini can't see that either. When I try to ping the printer's IP address ( using Network Utility, it doesn't respond.

Anyone care to assist? Is this my Fool's Errand?



David Anders

... Simply, how do I print multiple selected files from the Finder in 10.9.2? ...

Your printing multiple files question says you have 10.9.2 the current bugfix (update) is 10.9.5 Some suggest downloading the Combo update and installing.

Jul. 5, 2016

Wireless Printing


Jan-Henrik Preine

The G5 can see your printer, because it uses AppleTalk to communicate with the printer. New Macs do not support this protocol anymore. You have to use IP protocol to print.

The Laserwriter 12/640 supports IP, but all default values are set to 0. Have you been able to give a valid IP address to the printer? If not: You can do this with the old "Apple Printer Utility". This old program has to be used in the classic environment (Mac OS 9 or older).


Luke Maslen

Bill Gaskell mentioned he could not print to his LaserWriter 12/640 from his Mac Mini running Mac OS X 10.11.5 but has no problem printing from his Power Mac G5. He further mentioned that pinging the printer's IP address at is unsuccessful but did not mention from which Mac he had performed the pinging.

My guess is the Power Mac G5 is using the Ethertalk printing protocol to communicate with the printer. Ethertalk is not available in the newest versions of Mac OS X and so one usually uses IP printing. I suspect an IP configuration problem is preventing the Mac Mini from printing and I would expect the same problem to afflict any other Mac attempting to use IP printing.

Bill stated the printer has an IP address of but I don't know how he knows this. By default, switching the LaserWriter 12/640 off and on again should cause it to print out a sheet of technical information including the IP address of the printer along with its subnet. If this sheet is not printed out after power-cycling the printer, it would be wise to confirm the IP address of the printer. One way would be to use a free tool such as Angry IP Scanner,

It's also important to ensure the printer and the Mac Mini are in the same IP range and share the same subnet mask. So if the printer's IP address is correct but the Mac Mini had an IP address of, it's not going to work. The Mac Mini needs to have an address such as 10.0.1.x and it must be different to any other IP address on the network so there is not an IP clash.

If the above doesn't help, reset the printer's communications settings to factory default values by setting the communication switch to the Reset (out) position. Turn the printer off and then on again. Set the communication switch to the Normal (in) position. The Normal position should ensure the printer is supporting all communication protocols. Good luck!


Bill Maslin

I'm out of my depth here, but I had a Laserwriter 600 (I think) that I used for IP printing. I had to use the Apple Printer Utility (or Laserwriter Utility?) to set the IP address and it only ran on OS9 or Windows. The solution may involve telnetting to the printer. Don't forget to check the subnet mask, too. You might check these links:

(Discovered after Googling for "laserwriter utility.")

Jul. 6, 2016

Wireless Printing


Graham Needham

Bill Gaskill asks about getting an old LaserWriter printer on a modern network. LocalTalk, AppleTalk, EtherTalk support was dropped with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard onwards. Support for these protocols have also been dropped by various networking hardware manufacturers including Apple.


1. If the printer supports it (which the LaserWriter 12/640 does) configure it to use TCP/IP - other people have suggested how to do this

2. Connect the printer via an Ethernet network supporting LocalTalk to a Mac running Mac OS X 10.0 - 10.5 and share the printer over TCP/IP (you want to retire the G5 which already does this, but any old Mac, such as an old Mini, could do the same job and use a lot less energy).

3. Replace the printer (how much energy does the LaserWriter 12/640 use? how much does it cost to run?) e.g. a modern Xerox Phaser Mac compatible model has good OS X driver support, fast, colour, low energy/draft modes, ethernet via TCP/IP, wireless, true PostScript 3, duplex option, wireless option, etc.


Bill Gaskill

Thanks for the responses to my printing question. Here's some followup information:

I know the IP address of the printer, as the startup page shows this. I'd set it to some years ago while still running Mac OS 9.

I've reconfigured my network to the point where multiple computers (Mini, G5, old Mini, laptop) can all now successfully ping the printer. I've run telnet via Terminal, and can access the printer configuration menu, where I set the proper default gateway and subnet mask. However, even though I save these changes, the printer configuration page lists them as and (instead of and Any thoughts on why this should happen?

Needless to say, when I try to add the LaserWriter as an IP printer, I'm told that the setup is "unable to verify the printer". So, I remain stuck at this point -- any additional ideas would be very welcome.

Jul. 7, 2016

Wireless Printing


Jose Hill

In 230567, Bill Gaskill indicates that he can ping his LaserWriter 12/640, but when he tries "to add the LaserWriter as an IP printer, I'm told that the setup is 'unable to verify the printer'."

Mac OS X supports three IP printing protocols (HP JetDirect, IPP, and lpd). The only one of those that his LaserWriter supports is lpd, so Bill should verify that is the selected protocol in the OS X printer setup panel.

If that fails, another option would be to use a Parallel Print Server, sometimes called a Centronics Print Server. These have a parallel port on one side (plugs into the LaserWriter's parallel port) and either an Ethernet port or a wireless adapter on the other, and usually are easily configured to join today's networks. They can be had for less than $20 on eBay, and major electronics retailers typically sell wired models at $30 and up and wireless models start around $70. Just be sure to get a parallel/Centronics model, not a USB model.


Mario Alessi

IP address:
Protocol: Line Printer Daemon - LPD
Use: Select Printer Software - Apple Laserwriter 12/640 PS v2015.105

Add as IP printer.


BIll Gaskill

Some additional followup to recent comments from MacInTouch readers:

I do understand that replacing the printer is the most effective and practical action here, as I mentioned in my original post. However, my curiosity keeps me in pursuit of a solution.

I already have the printer functioning via my old G5, and I could replace that with something more up to date, but that defeats the challenge involved.

I would really like to accomplish this via TCP/IP, as has been my original goal. I now have all devices able to ping the printer, and I was finally able to reset the default gateway and subnet mask to the proper values. The printer's IP address is also known and remains stable. You'd think that this is all I'd need to set up the printer via IP, but I continue to get the message "Unable to verify printer."

Specific options to try are most welcome. Thanks to all!


Dave Perrin

Is the printer's configuration switch in or out? I believe if the button is out, settings can be changed but are not persistent. If in, your custom settings are used.


David Charlap

Rearding Bill Gaskill's LaserWriter 12/640 PS:

In case you no longer have the manuals, you may want to download them. A Google search found a site with three manuals (user's manual, developer's note and service manual). I'm not personally familiar with this model printer, but the manuals are definitely helpful. Some things I learned which you may or may not already know:

1: This printer has a parallel port as well as Ethernet and LocalTalk. So if all else fails, you can attach it to a Linux or Windows PC via this port and use that computer as a print server. Or you can get a parallel-USB adapter cable. Or a standalone parallel-port based Ethernet print server box. I would consider these last-resort options, but they are options nonetheless.

2: As others have pointed out, if you have it on your Ethernet network (via an AAUI transceiver), it should support four protocols: AppleTalk/EtherTalk (which modern versions of Mac OS X do not support), Novell Netware (unlikely that you'll have a computer running this), Novell ATPS (AppleTalk Print Spooler - also unlikely) or TCP/IP printing (officially for Linux, but everything should support this.)

3: Chapter 4 of the user's manual describes how to configure it via UNIX, which looks like what you should do from Mac OS X in the absence of EtherTalk. It describes four methods for bootstrapping an IP address. If you aren't running a BOOTP or RARP server and can't run the Apple Printer utility, then you will probably want to use the "ping" method, where you send it a "ping" packet containing the printer's IP address and its MAC address. The printer sees this and learns that IP address as its own. Once you do this, you can use telnet to log in to the printer for more permanent configuration.

4: The "communication switch" (a pushbutton below the three data ports on the back panel) is critical here. If it is in the "out" position, all communication settings will reset to their factory defaults. To reset the settings, set the switch to the out position, cycle power off and then on, then set it back to the in position.

Since Bill said he is losing his network configuration, I would make sure the switch is in the "in" position. If it's out, then it won't retain any settings.

Jul. 8, 2016

Wireless Printing


BIll Gaskill

Thanks to Jose and Mario in suggesting that I utilize LPD protocol to connect to the LaserWriter 12/640! Success! It allowed the setup of the printer and all is well.

Silly me to think that I should set up via TCP/IP using IPP protocol :-)

Thanks to everyone who responded to my initial query. Being a Mac guy since '84 (and consultant since '86) I'm always thankful that I can learn more about the technology. MacInTouch enables this on a regular basis.

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