Help wanted: Finding, buying and connecting a wireless printer to a Surface RT 8.1

Discussion in 'Windows 8 Forum' started by Toroc, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Toroc

    Toroc New Member

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    UPDATE January 30 2014: Thanks to a tip on this forum, I bought a Brother HL2270DW printer and connected it to my RT 8.1 Surface without a hitch. This printer must be initially configured for the local network using a USB or ethernet cable. I did this from a Windows7 laptop because I was too chicken to try it from the Surface. Due to an error between keyboard and chair, I made a call to Microsoft Support. I learned that once the printer drivers are installed on RT they should not be removed. The guy I talked to was Jon R. and he was very good.

    ==============

    This question is about finding, buying and connecting a wireless printer to a Surface RT 8.1

    I've spent some time reading forums and looking at vendor web sites and at the windows compatibility center. What I have come to realize is that it is way way too hard to shop for, buy and connect a wireless printer to the RT.

    What I want to do is very simple: I want to buy a wireless black and white laser printer for my home and I want to be able to print to it from my RT 8.1 system. The problem is that it is very difficult to find a printer that is wireless, compatible with RT 8.1 and labelled by a vendor on their web site as compatible with RT 8.1 (useful when shopping).

    Can anyone with personal experience tell me the make/model of a wireless B&W laser printer that works with RT 8.1?

    Part of the problem I have encountered while trying to solve this seemingly easy task is that people in these forums are not very precise in saying whether their provided instructions/suggestions apply to an x86 based Surface or an RT. I think it may be the case that x86 Surface users don't realize how closed down the RT world is. So, they say "this works on 8.1" without realizing that it doesn't on an RT 8.1 system.

    This happens a lot with printer connection advice when people say "well that printer model is not supported so just use another driver for a similar model". Well, on an RT there is no way to do that. (Correct me if I am wrong here, please.)

    The Windows Compatibility center is only useful for checking whether a specific model is compatible or not. It is not useful for creating short lists of possible printers because there is no way to select based on properties (like "wireless" for example) and worse, there are printers that are listed as RT 8.1 compatible that haven't been sold or supported for several years. What's with that?

    This whole printer situation is pretty grim. I think Microsoft somehow has really messed this up. And one might reasonably ask what is so hard about sending a PCL or postscript data stream to a dumb printer? Why is this dependent on the Surface processor type? Obviously it is, somehow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  2. Rallicat

    Rallicat New Member

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    Hi there!

    As a Surface 2 (RT) user (and formerly a Surface RT user) I feel your pain! Vendors don't make it easy to ascertain which printers are supported in RT and which are not! Asking them directly often results in the less helpful 'Yes it's supported on Windows 8' answer as you say!

    When I wanted a wireless Printer, I was looking for an inkjet, and eventually settled on an HP printer - an OfficeJet 4620. Printer, scanner and fax all-in one. ALL functions of this are fully supported on Windows RT 8 and 8.1 - and HP even provide apps in the store to monitor your printer, and capture scans from it!

    If you're looking for a laser though - check out the article here on the HP Website: HP Support document - HP Support Center

    It lists ALL Windows 8 and 8.1 compatible color, black and white, and MFP laster printers, and has a dedicated column to show Windows RT compatibility!

    Also, for a quick summary of how to install a Printer on Windows RT 8 and 8.1, and the apps HP provide, check out this webpage: Installing and Using an HP Printer in Windows RT | HP® Support

    One final note I'll make. Whilst I am very happy with the HP printer I bought and use, and it works perfectly over wireless with my Surface 2 (and my old Surface RT), setting up the wireless first involved plugging it into a regular PC using the USB cable, and then running a proprietary setup wizard from HP to configure the wireless.
    This is probably not going to be necessary for all HP printers - the OfficeJet model I bought only has a small LCD display and limited support in the menus for configuration. Other printers - particularly their laserjet range may not be so hampered. Either way, the WiFi setup was a one-time thing- after that I was able to use it wirelessly from then on.

    Hope that helps!!
     
  3. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    I use a Brother HL4070-CDW Laser and use the Brother Color Laser Class Driver and works really well, it is on our Wireless Network. One of the easiest ways to see what printers work on RT is install a "Dummy" Printer and scroll through the manufacturers and which classes are available.
     
  4. jimkraz

    jimkraz Member

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    I have a Kodak inkjet, I have both Surface RT and Surface Pro, connected to my Kodak esp 1.2 no problem, I had no need to download any drivers, though I did install on my Surface Pro the Kodak software, so there are plenty out there. Jim
     
  5. gwinegarden

    gwinegarden Member

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    I have a Brother HL-2270DW and it works fine.
     
  6. geisslingen

    geisslingen Member

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    Excellent information Rallicat. Is there a similar list for HP MFP inkjet printers compatibility with Surafce 2 (Windows 8.1 RT)? I am considering to replace my current Lexmark inkjet printer as it does not support Windows RT with HP Officejet Pro 276DW or HP Officejet Pro 8600 plus. I tried searching HP support site and user forums but could not find the answer, they all support Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (32 bit and 64 bit) but no specific mention of Windows RT. I also asked the HP reatiler but they were unable to provide the answer. I don't want to buy a printer to try out then return back because it soes not support Windows RT.

    Thanks.
     
  7. daniielrp

    daniielrp Active Member

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    You can try Microsoft's compatibility site which does specify RT compatibility.

    I did a generic search on it for HP MFP Inkjet and it brought up a few, but none fully compatible, but if you type in a specific model you may have better luck.
     
  8. geisslingen

    geisslingen Member

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    Thanks for the link. You are right I found the HP 276DW is partially supported but not fully compatible. I guess I can live with that if at least I can print directly from Surface 2. Is this something that needs HP to apply for full compatibility or is it on the operating system side (Microsoft)?
     
  9. daniielrp

    daniielrp Active Member

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    Afaik, it should be like all traditional windows drivers - down to the manufacturer. So the ball is really in HPs court to provide working drivers.
     
  10. goodintentions

    goodintentions Active Member

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    There is something going on with 8.1 RT. I work with 3 different printers from 3 different major brand names (samsung, HP, and toshiba). With all 3, the same behavior keep repeating. Every once in a while, like every 2 weeks or so, I have to uninstall and reinstall the driver to re-communicate with the printer again. I would think it's the manufacturer's fault in this case for not providing good-enough drivers, but all 3 manufacturers behaving the exact same way? I'm beginning to think it's a bug.
     

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