Troubleshooting a USB to Parallel Printer Cable

By Cameron Easey

Most newer computers do not come with a parallel port to use for older types of printers. You must use a cable that can convert a parallel connection to a USB port on laptop or desktop computer. If the printer is not working correctly when the cable is attached, troubleshoot to find the cause of the problem.


Make sure the USB to parallel cable is properly connected to the printer and the computer. Depending on the type of cable used, there may not be a viable way to lock the parallel connector to the printer. If the cable does not have a solid connection, the printer will not be detected by the computer. Also make sure the printer has been turned on in order for the computer to recognize the connection from the USB port. If the printer is not being recognized, there may be a software issue.


When using a USB to parallel connector cable for an older printer, the computer must have new drivers installed. Insert the CD that came with the USB to parallel printer cable to install the needed drivers on the system. When a USB to parallel cable is connected, the computer will use the USB port to send information to the printer. This will require installing new software and then setting up a new printer using a USB connection. Once the new drivers have been installed, plug the cable into the USB port to have the system automatically configure the printer port.


When you install the USB to parallel cable, the computer may not recognize the printer, or it may not print correctly. This can be caused by currently installed printer drivers that are not working correctly with the new USB to parallel cable. You may need to use a Windows generic driver instead of the driver that was supplied with the printer. Use the "Add a Printer" option from the "Printers and Faxes" option in the Control Panel to add a generic Windows driver. You can also check to see whether the manufacturer of the printer has an updated USB driver available to install.