Even if an error is encountered during setup, Windows XP Professional continues to the installation process by next asking for a definition of the ports to be used. Figure 4 shows an example of the page in the Add Printer Wizard that defines which port will be used for printing. Notice that Microsoft has anticipated using this dialog box in both Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home editions, making the task of connecting with a printer locally easy to understand. Also notice that users will also have the option of creating a new port, which is shown in the lower section of this page of the Wizard. Figure 4 shows the page of the Add Printer Wizard where printer interfacing is handled.
Figure 4 Defining the port your printer will use in conjunction with Windows XP Professional.
Microsoft supports three Centronics interfaces, and four serial or RS-232C or COM ports. In addition, the option of configuring a printer to print to file (especially useful for creating PostScript files) is supported. These options round out the alternatives for configuring a printer for use in a local environment. Figure 5 shows these options.
Figure 5 Local-printing options supported in Windows XP Professional.
Today, Microsoft estimates that more than 60% of its Windows 2000 installations are using networking printers and output devices. It supports both Local Printing, LPR Port (a legacy standard from UNIX-based operating systems), and the Standard TCP/IP Port, which is the selection most often used for configuring network-attached printers. Figure 6 shows the page of the Add Printer Wizard that includes the selections for creating a new port.
Figure 6 Creating a network-based port for a printer using the Add Printer Wizard.
Selecting the TCP/IP Port will next prompt you for a Print Monitor for the printer you're installing. A Print Monitor creates the connection between XP and your printer's IP address. Hewlett-Packard's connectivity products, including the HP DirectJet, use Print Monitors for creating the connection with Windows 2000 systems and IP-based printers and plotters.