Network Printing From DOS Programs

Even with the popularity of newer operating systems like Windows XP, it’s still not uncommon for users to stick with older DOS applications like WordPerfect 5.1. Unfortunately, DOS programs typically have no sense of a network, and can only print to printers attached to local ports like LTP1.

Now, you could limit yourself to using your DOS program from the same computer to which your printer is attached and avoid the issue completely. However, if this isn’t an option (or you’re using a hardware print server) you’ll need a way around the issue.

If you’re running a DOS app that needs to print over the network, all is not lost. All you need to do is map LPT1 to a network port. To do this, fire up a Command Prompt and enter net use lpt1: \\printservername\sharedprintername /persistent:yes. After entering this command, everything send to LPT1 in the DOS program is automatically redirected to your network printer. It’s worth noting that the command needs to be entered by someone with administrative privileges on a Windows XP system.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.