Sunday, September 6, 2009

"How Do I Make My HP LaserJet 2100 (or 2100M or 2100TN) Work with Snow Leopard?"

After all my hassle of getting my old HP LaserJet 2100 to work with Leopard -- including installing a JetDirect card for Ethernet with AppleTalk -- Apple removed AppleTalk from Snow Leopard. So, I was right back where I started.

Well, not quite. At least I had the JetDirect card. With just a little more trouble, I should have been able to connect through TCP/IP, the card's other protocol. Only, that wasn't working either, despite my following helpful instructions from around the Web.

I finally found someone who had successfully navigated the whole maze for a LaserJet 2100. You can read Maria Langer's original post here. But I'll try to simplify it for you.

Basically what we're going to do is change the Mac's IP address so it will see itself and the printer as being on the same network. A better solution would probably be to change the IP address of the printer, but I'm told that requires the HP utility for either Windows or OS 9, which not everyone has. This may be a second-best solution, but it works fine -- as long as you are not using the Ethernet service for anything but connecting to your printer. (For all other networking, I use Airport, not Ethernet.)

If you are using Ethernet to also connect to other computers or the Internet, you cannot use this solution! Go find something that instead tells you how to change your printer's IP address. If you do what I tell you, you'll be disconnected!

[Update: This shows how little I know about Ethernet. According to a commenter on this post, he simply went to Network in System Prefs and set up a second Ethernet service to handle the printer separately. With that, my instructions caused no problem with his Internet connection.]

OK, here are the steps.

1. Make sure that your Mac and your printer are turned on. You also need to see an Ethernet service listed in your Network preferences panel. If there isn't one, click on the plus sign and add one.

2. You need to know the IP address of your printer. If you haven't messed with your network setup, then it's probably the default of To find out for sure, you can print out a configuration page by pressing the printer's two buttons at the same time -- the Go button and the Job Cancel button. The address will appear on the second page that prints. Note: you can't do this right after turning on your computer and/or printer, but only after a minute or two. If you try too soon, you'll instead see

If you have messed with your network setup and for some reason need to return to the printer's default settings, you can do a "cold reset." For the 2100, turn off the printer, then turn it back on while holding down the Job Cancel button. Keep it pressed till the printer lights come on, then release it at once. (If you hold it down another 20 seconds, you'll lose your printer's internal statistics.) Then wait a minute or two, if you want to check the result by getting a configuration page.

3. In your Network prefs, set the Configure menu to "Using DHCP with manual address." Then in the IP address slot, enter the same IP address as your printer, except lower the last number by one. So, if your printer is at, the address you'd enter here would be Do not enter the exact same address as your printer's! (There are no doubt other values that will work here, but I'm just describing what Maria did and what worked for me too.)

4. Go to the Print & Fax preferences pane, and click on the plus sign to add a printer. At the top of the dialog box, click on "IP." As the protocol, choose "HP JetDirect - Socket." Enter the IP address for your printer. Give the printer a descriptive name.

At this point, your Mac should have already automatically filled in "Print Using" with "HP LaserJet 2100 series," which it got by connecting with your printer. If you instead get "Generic PostScript Printer," this means your Mac is not connecting, and you won't be able to print, regardless of whether you finish adding the printer or not. So, you'll need to try something else.

5. If everything's OK, just click "Add," and your Mac will do the rest. Oh, and don't forget to right-click on the printer in the list if you need to specify it as the default.

If you ever need to return to the Mac's default Ethernet setup, change the service's Configure menu to "Using DHCP" without "manual address." Or just delete the service and add a new one.

Now, if I can just get my old scanner and DVD burner to work.


  1. This is the most bizarre set of steps I have ever seen someone recommend!

    In step 3 you have had me change my computer's IP address to one on a completely foreign subnet, and by the end of your steps my computer remains there!

    I kinda sorta want to still be on my LAN, don't you think?

    I don't know what step 5's "(my) Mac will do the rest" means, but it's doubtful that the Printer&Fax preference pane is going to return my network settings to the correct ones, or to reconfigure the printer with an IP address on the same subnet as every other computer on the LAN.

    Oh brother; I just looked at the linked article, where the author is using Airpot for her primary physical network interface, allowing her to set her ethernet interface for the other subnet.

    But hey, that's not how _most_ people are going to need to do this! Most people are going to simply need to give the printer a valid address that other computers on the LAN can see (most likely simply an address in the same subnet).

  2. Dave, thanks for your comment. I guess you missed the part about possible trouble if you're using Ethernet for anything but your printer connection. But I've gone back and made that warning a lot stronger.

    I really don't know how _most_ people are going to need to do this. It has been impossible to connect to this printer by anything but Ethernet ever since Apple got rid of its serial ports -- and at the same time, Mac users in general prefer Airport networks to Ethernet. So, I suspect that more people with this LaserJet are like me, using their Ethernet for nothing but this connection if they've kept the printer at all.

    Anyway, it sounds like you'll need to get a version of the HP utility that works on Windows or OS 9 and then change the printer's IP address rather than your Mac's. I'm afraid I can't help you with that one, but good luck.

  3. Aaron -

    Thanks for the great tip. I spent HOURS trying to get my printer recognized using HP JetDirect Socket and IPP setting in Printers and Fax of System Prefs to no avail.

    I love your solution and it worked great, but Maria had another link that will reset your IP address of any HP printer.

    After the printer gets reset, it will grab an IP number from your router. I assume it will then own that number no matter what you do. Then you don't have to create another ethernet profile in Sys Pref Network settings.

    Hope this helps and it will let you use an airport too since the IP address is now static from the printer.


    Bruce Z.
    Northeast Ohio

  4. Bruce, the cold reset just returns you to the default state I describe in step 2. Also, my solution doesn't interfere with Airport, which I'm using just fine. It only interferes with other Ethernet networking, if you're doing any.

    Glad it worked for you.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hello Aaron.
    Just got an old but fine HP 2100. Found a used JetDirect 600n card.
    Installed it and followed your instructions on my Mac G4 OSX 10.5.
    Everything works fine on the Friendly network. Thank You.
    BUT my wife has an Imac. I can see the Printer but it do`nt respond and print. Can you help, please.

  7. Hello, I had the same problem and was able to get my printer to work by following the instructions here. What part of the instructions are you having difficulty with? Did you do each of the steps? I found each step to be necessary, and I found that only when I reached the very last step, and entered the IP address in the Add Printer Utility, did the utility actually see or find my printer.

  8. Hi Mr. Puppovich.
    Thank you for your reply. I don´t know if I had expressed my problem correct. Let me put it this way: On my Mac G4 everythig is set up and OK -the printer works fine.
    Then I go to my wife´s Imac. Go to print - can see the printer on the net and on the print & fax preferences - but if you try to print - nothing happens! And I do´nt have to set anything up on the Imac , have I?

  9. I never had problems myself on my older Mac (an iMac G5 from 2005), but when I got a new iMac running OSX 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard), I found that I had to follow the steps to make the computer work with the printer. So, you might have to follow the steps. What operating system is on the wife's iMac?

  10. We both use 10.5.8. In the meantime I got connection to the printer using remove and add the printer once more. But if I use the driver HP laserjet 2100 series there will be no print on the paper and the printer will not stop at all. Therefore I choose the HP laserjet 2100M -cups gutenprint 5.1.6. But in this you can not see the printer information such as tray, memory etc.?
    One more strange little thing. I am not allowed to set the name of the printer cue. So in the dock you will not see HP laserjet but

  11. I think that when you use a Gutenprint profile, it is generic in some respects and you won't see some options. I am not familiar with OS 10.5 so I can not advise any further. I hope you find a way to get things to work for you as you'd like. You have my empathy for your frustration over something that one would think would be simple and basic.

  12. Well - but thank for trying. I now realized that I do not have read the beginning af the string properly! It says:
    If you are using Ethernet to also connect to other computers or the Internet, you cannot use this solution! Go find something that instead tells you how to change your printer's IP address. If you do what I tell you, you'll be disconnected!
    But where can I "find something" - anyone who knows that???

  13. I am not sure how to help at this point.

    Here's a page that someone posted earlier in this discussion above:

    There are also printer setup utilities that can be downloaded from HP's website. Do a search for your printer's model. Depending on your operating system, you might be able to use it to change the IP Address if you wanted to do that.

  14. This is much, MUCH simpler:

    Open the Network preference pane and click the gear at the bottom of the left pane. Choose "Set service order…" and make sure the network on which the print server is located is first on the list! Drag it up there if need be. Click OK, then click Apply, and you're home free!

    In 10.4 and 10.5, I think you can just drag the service names in the check-panel box.

    In my case, my two Parallels Desktop Windows networks were active and came before Ethernet; how, I don't know, but correcting this order also reduced latency and speeded up my internet connection; apparently, outgoing internet connections were trying to use the Parallels networks first, which added several seconds to every request.

  15. Which choices should I make to hook this (actually) wonderful printer?

    1 have the required laser-bridge adaptor. Can I just hook it up to my ethernet connection on my eMac running Tiger? Bypassing any router?

    I hate to get rid of this printer. I am moving it to an off site location and won't have internet access. I have had this printer since 1998 and it still prints like nobody's business! Sure it's always connected through a router that also provided internet access.

    Now it's just Tiger eMac and the printer... so is it as simple as resetting the ethernet port on the emac?


  16. I don't think you have to reset anything. I believe you can just plug the printer directly into the computer with an ethernet cable. Using the Print and Fax utility under the System Preferences, I think your computer will be able to detect the printer and you can add it to the printer list and select the relevant printer description (if it isn't selected automatically) w/o any problems.

    This entry page concerns problems people were having connecting to the printer when using the operating system Snow Leopard OSX 10.6.

    Will you let me know if that works?

  17. I am trying to connect my LaserJet 2100TN to my new Mac running 10.6.4. I have faithfully followed all instructions however, when I have set up 'add printer' the computer can not detect the printer - it keeps selecting Generic PostScript Printer. What seems to be the problem?

  18. I added a new Ethernet link in the Network System Prefs so it wouldn't interfere with the internet link and reset the HP2100TN before starting the process. This beats HP's instructions by a hundred miles.

  19. Hi Luca, I am facing the same problem. I followed all the steps, but my computer keeps being unable to detect the printer. Have you found a solution since you posted your comment?

  20. so do I get it right: It only works if I connect the printer with a crossover network cable to my Mac? It's not possible to connect it to a WLAN-Box and access it through this way?

  21. Hi Aaron,

    What additional steps needs to be performed if in step 4, I didn't get my 5100 series driver, instead "Generic PostScript Printer"?

  22. Of course this only works if you have a JetDirect card. I was using AsanteTalk Bridge to connect my 2100M to my ethernet network, but of course OSX 10.6x doesn't see it anymore since Appletalk has been dropped. I've tried everything - no luck. Guess I'm stuck with 3 unused cartridges.

  23. Aaron, you rock! I upgraded to Snow Leopard and lost all connection to my HP LaserJet 2100NT. I've spent most of last night and the better part of today trying every trick in the book to reestablish communication (I've been a Mac guy since my first 512 in '89, so thought I knew them all). I followed the step-by-step instructions of several other well meaning - but ultimately useless - solution providers (including HP).

    You are the only one who actually had a solution.

    Now if you can just work on your SEO so guys like me can find you sooner! :-)



  24. I agree witm Mwave's comment... I've spent the last two WEEKS struggling with this printer [HP LaserJet 4050TN workgroup printer], trying to ISOLATE the problem... Hardware, Cabling, Printer Drivers, Apple system settings, Printer "config" settings....

    So, running the "set MANUALLY," instead of DHCP, and punching in "one less than" the default setting [after a "COLD RESTART/INITIALIZE" had been done first, and a "config" page printed out---printer prints just FINE from it's control-panel...] worked perfectly..

    This indicates to me that it is NOT, "hardware", or "Cabling" or "Drivers" rather it is some mixture of router settings, and Apple system settings...

    I'm not sure what the next step in the puzzle is, but this has added a large handful of "edge-pieces", so it's been very helpful..
    At least now I have a "Kludge" solution to print stuff in a dedicated printing session, then switch back to "DHCP" to get back to the Internet..
    clunky, but it works.. THANK YOU! (and curses to HP for not having any decent online help, support, or documentation!!) ;o))

  25. Nice post with great details. Can i print plastic business cards by any laser printer?

  26. thanks for the blog post extremely useful I now have my old trusty HP5100n up and running again. All I had to do was stage 3 and it worked straight away

  27. Aaron, thank you so much. You are an internet GOD. My HP LaserJet 2100 NT is the best technology purchase I've ever made. I think I paid $700 for it in 1999, and it has been going strong ever since. You helped me (and it looks like many others) fix this problem when both Apple and HP support pages and discussion groups just lead to dead ends. Like others in this discussion thread, my biggest problem was finding you! In fact, I've probably wasted a day or two of my time over the past five years, because every time I change computers I need to hook up the printer, and I have to look for you all over again! Well, never again. I have bookmarked you for eternity, which is probably how long my dear 2100 will last. Thanks again, and keep up the great work.

  28. Here I am, back again with a new iMac computer, in December 2013. The 2100 TN is still kicking (!) and I can report that I am able to get it to print on Mac OS X 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) using the same instructions above.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how I might be able to have my computer directly wired to both the printer and to the internet through my cable modem (or router)? The problem with direct connection to Comcast Cable service is that Comcast will assign an IP address on the fly and that will prevent the computer from being able to connect to the printer. I'm using an old Ethernet hub to accommodate connections from both sources.

    Any ideas other than connecting wirelessly to the internet?
    By the way, the wireless connection seems fine.
    I'm mainly looking to learn something here and indulge my curiosity.


  29. Wow. So complex. So backwards. You change the PRINTER IP address to match the computer, not the other way around.

    Open the Network control panel and choose Ethernet. "IP Address" is your computer's address. It will be of the form xx.yy.zz.aa

    Turn on the printer. Connect it to the Ethernet network.


    Type: arp -a

    You will see a display of the devices on the network. The "local.gateway" is your router/switch.

    Your printer will look something like this:

    ? ( at 0:30:c1:c:83:5 on en0 ifscope [ethernet]

    The number in parentheses is the current IP address of the printer. The numbers with colons between them are the MAC (Media Access Controller) address for the Ethernet card in the printer.

    Type telnet (or whatever your printer IP address is). You will see something like this:

    Connected to
    Escape character is '^]'.

    HP JetDirect

    Please type "?" for HELP, or "/" for current settings

    The above comes from the printer. JetDirect is HP's name for the Ethernet interface card in the printer (yours might be different).

    If you type ? you will see a menu:

    To Change/Configure Parameters Enter:
    Parameter-name: value

    Parameter-name Type of value
    ip: IP-address in dotted notation
    subnet-mask: address in dotted notation (enter 0 for default)
    default-gw: address in dotted notation (enter 0 for default)
    syslog-svr: address in dotted notation (enter 0 for default)
    idle-timeout: seconds in integers
    set-cmnty-name: alpha-numeric string (32 chars max)
    host-name: alpha-numeric string (upper case only, 32 chars max)
    dhcp-config: 0 to disable, 1 to enable
    allow: [mask] (0 to clear, list to display, 10 max)
    ipx/spx: 0 to disable, 1 to enable
    dlc/llc: 0 to disable, 1 to enable
    ethertalk: 0 to disable, 1 to enable
    banner: 0 to disable, 1 to enable

    The important one is ip:

    Type ip:xx.yy.zz.192

    xx.yy.zz are the first three numbers of your computer's IP address (found way back above in the Network control panel information.)
    192 is your printer's unique address. I made it 192 because it matched HP's default. The main thing is to be sure it doesn't conflict with any other devices on the network (as seen in the arp -a) command.

    Type exit to exit telnet. Type exit to exit Terminal. Quit Terminal. You're done.

    1. I have mac (mavericks) and HP LJ 2100. No longer seen on ethernet. Mac IP, printer How do I get it to work? Can you help?

  30. First, I would go to your Network Settings, and make a duplicate setting. Then tinker with that duplicate, trying the steps at the beginning of this blog. See how that goes !

  31. Thanks Aaron. Unfortunately I am using El Capitan and my printer is very old so I cannot get it to see the printer. Any suggestions>