Today I popped in to help an app provider with a problem they were having accessing a shared printer from a Windows Server 2008 box. When she'd try to connect, it would say "Access Denied". By approaching it from different angles, I was able to get by that, but when we actually tried to print, her app would lock up and the printer status would say "Offline".
The 2003 Server didn't have this problem but unfortunately we needed this to work from the newer box - no choice there.
While I was noodling this I kept thinking that something was wrong. Well, duh, of course somethings wrong - that's why you are here. But no, I meant that something else was bugging me - the dialogs weren't right, something was missing..
Oh, stupid me - of course! I looked at "About Windows" and yeah, it was XP Home. Aaargh. I don't know if Server 2008 should be able to print to a XP Home shared printer, but it doesn't surprise me a bit that it was giving us grief. As the printer in question (a Dymo Label printer) didn't need to be specifically there, we went looking for an XP Professional system. That wasn't easy to find, but just as we were about to give up, I found one. We hooked up the Dymo, shared it, and the server connected to it without complaint.
Unfortunately her app still wouldn't print. No hang now, but an application error. She felt she might have the wrong style of labels in the printer so we decided that it probably was an XP Home issue, perhaps complicated by a problem in her app. As we could now happily send test pages from the server and it never complained or put it off line, I felt that was a pretty good guess.
She then asked why they weren't running a Domain Controller. I reminded her of the XP Home machines and pointed out that prior to her app, they'd used a Unix based app which certainly had no use for a DC. She agreed, but reminded me that, well, now they kind of do need it. Not absolutely, but it sure would help things from her point of view. I agreed, but again noted the XP Home machines everywhere. Would they be willing to upgrade all those? Can you still buy the upgrade? Would they have to go to Vista and if so, neither of us thought that many of the machines we'd seen were up to that task. Uggh.
"I hate Vista anyway", she offered. "Whenever I work on one, the customers complain about how slow it is and how many times they get asked for permission.. they hate it. So I disable the questions."
I raised my eyebrows.
"Yeah, I know: I tell 'em I'm killing their security but they don't care. I figure it's no worse than if they had XP.."
Well, yeah. I guess.. But I wonder how many Vista machines have been "improved" like that and where that leaves Microsoft's latest security chest thumping. Isn't it kind of like having a big steel safe and not locking it? Yeah, kinda.
So she's going to get more labels and talk to the programmer responsible for the app and I don't know what the customer is going to do. That sure could add to his switching costs..
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence