Supplying alternate credentials for a network printer

Another crazy little Windows tip – I can’t remember if this was a Windows XP problem or whether I’d also seen it in Vista, but I’m cleaning out my blog drafts and wanted to flesh this out.

Basically I had a network printer set up that would work until I rebooted my machine, then it would fail. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what was going on (I think it said something about me not having permission, though – I should have written down the error message). If I removed and readded the printer it’d work again.

Anyway, the problem turned out to be that my user account name was different on my other machine, and the printer wasn’t shared for just anyone to print on. Because of that, I’d had to present alternate credentials when I added the printer, and each time the computer reset, the credentials would get lost and it’d get confused. I don’t know why it didn’t just ask again, but it didn’t.

The solution is convoluted. I browsed to a shared folder on the other machine, and added it as a mapped drive. There’s an option in there to connect with alternate credentials. Since Windows shares the saved credentials between all shares and printers on a remote machine, and it’ll reconnect the mapped drive at startup using the alternate credentials, the printer will start working again.

I'm Benjamin Hollis, a software developer in Seattle. Check out my website.