One of the more maddening things that XP does, or rather doesn’t do, is allow you to rename a network printer (or more technically, change its ‘friendly’ name). XP thinks it knows best and will have given the networked printer a friendly name like:
HP Officejet K60 on BOOGER
If you right-click on it, you will find the option to rename it is not there like it is with physically attached printers. This also applies to the ‘Auto’ printers that XP finds on the network as well.
Microsoft says that you can’t do it. Why? I have no idea. But as it turns out, you can ‘rename’ your network printer — by simply re-attaching it as a ‘local’ printer. I’m going to use the Officejet attached to my trusty computer BOOGER as an example, but obviously your computer and printer names will be different than mine.
Go to the Printers applet in the Control Panel. Right-click on the affected printer and select Properties. Click on the Advanced tab and look at the box beside Driver. The full name of the printer driver will be in that box, with the manufacturer’s name first (eg. HP Officejet K60). Make note of this.
If you already know the NETBIOS name of your printer, skip this paragraph. In the left pane of the Printers and Faxes window, click Add A Printer. The Add Printer Wizard will appear. Click Next to skip the Welcome screen. Check the radio button next to A Network Printer and click Next. Browse should already be highlighted so click Next. A browsing box of sorts will appear and the host computer should be listed below the line that says “Microsoft Windows Network”. In the example above the ‘host’ is BOOGER. Double click on him and the list will expand slightly with the host’s available printers listed below its name. These are the ‘real’ names of the printers (the NETBIOS name). In BOOGER’s case, the printer’s real name is “Printer2″. Make a note of your printer’s real name and click Cancel.
You now have the following information: the manufacturer of the printer (HP), the model name (Officejet K60), the host name (BOOGER) and the printer’s real name (Printer2).
Click Add A Printer again. Next. Select Local Printer Attached To This Computer. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but when did computers ever make sense? When it asks to Select A Printer Port, select Create A New Port. Select Local Port in the dropdown list. Click Next. A little box will appear, asking for the Port Name. Enter in two backslashes followed by the host name, then a single blackslash, followed by the printer’s real name. No spaces! If we reference our example above, the name will look like this:
Windows will prompt you to Install Printer Software. The driver for the printer is already installed on your PC, so you need only to select it from the list. In the left list, select the manufacturer (HP). In the right list, select your model (HP Officejet K60). Click Next.
Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. Windows will present you with a screen offering up a default printer name and an option to make the printer your default printer. The Printer Name textbox lets you change the printer name to anything you want.
The following screens it will ask you if you want to share it (no) and print a test page (yes). If a test page pops out you’ve done it. In fact, even after the deed is done, if you right-click on your new printer, you’ll find the option to rename is now back on the menu.
Can’t rename a network printer? Bah!