Snow Leopard and HP Laserjet 2100 Series Printer

(Update 21 Nov 2011: This issue seems to have been resolved by the latest software update for this printer. YEAH!!)

This week I updated to Snow Leopard, OS X 10.6.


There’s a specific reason I waited a while before updating: to leave a bit of time for the rest of you to tease the bugs out and update my programs. Thank you for that.

And yet… I still had hours of frustration figuring out how to get the new system to find my HP Laserjet 2100 TN printer. You see, Snow Leopard doesn’t do AppleTalk anymore. Done. Gone. I guess that’s how Apple avoids all those pesky backward compatibility issues, they just keep pushing us forward, sometimes less gently than others. Anyway, I had to figure out how to get my network printer to behave like a real, grown-up network printer instead of relying on AppleTalk to automagically find it.

It was such a pain that I’m recording it here just in case someone else needs to go through the same thing. Or in case I do.

First do all the Software Updates, including HP’s updates of printer sofware. My system is up to 10.6.4.

The situation: internet through cable modem and then a ZyXel (not wireless) router to a small local network for our 2 macs and one printer. The key was to manually assign an IP address to the printer using the router configuration software, so that I could then add the printer by its location (found several discussions with this info, fortunately). Sounds easier than it actually was – thank goodness I was feeling adventurous today.

In the end I manually assigned IP addresses for both computers as well as the printer, just for consistency. Here’s how…

Open up router configuration in a browser and opt for advanced mode. Go to Network > DHCP Server > Advanced. Under the Client List tab, see which IP addresses had been given to the 2 computers. (The computers are identified by their MAC addresses, verifiable in System Prefs > Network > Advanced > Ethernet, then Ethernet ID.) Still in the Client List tab, check the boxes under “Reserve” and note down the MAC and IP addresses for the next step.

Then go to the Advanced tab where there’s a static DHCP table – here’s where you can manually configure the IP addresses for each machine, provided you have the machine’s MAC address. For the computers it was simple, since they were showing up in the client list.

The router wasn’t showing the printer, so I had to hunt down its MAC address by printing a configuration page. Hold down the big round print button at the same time as the cancel button. It prints out 2 pages with tons of info. The MAC address is called LAN-HW-ADDRESS (local area network hardware address, I guess). I took that number and added it as the MAC address to the static DHCP table in the router configuration. For the IP address, I just took the IP address of the computers and added one more to the last part (they were XXX.XXX.X.33 and 34, so I gave the printer XXX.XXX.X.35). So far so good.

Turn the printer off and on again, maybe holding down the big print button while it turns on.

Then add the printer using the System Prefs for Print and Fax. At the top, choose the protocol HP Jet Direct Socket. For the printer’s address enter the IP address assigned to it in the router configuration.


Bingo! Test print finally works.

Double checked the other computer to make sure I didn’t break it’s old-fashioned AppleTalk printing (still runs 10.4, just fine, thank you very much). Okey-dokey.

Whew. This experience justifies my hesitation to install new system updates the day after they come out.

Below are some links that helped a lot, but their stories didn’t seem to match my situation or solution exactly. See? Waiting for others to find and fix the problems of early adopters really pays off. Thank you again.

Maria’s Guides:

HP support document:

How to find IP address on printer:

Apple Support Discussion:

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5 Responses to Snow Leopard and HP Laserjet 2100 Series Printer

  1. Maria says:

    Thanks for the link love. Glad I was able to help with the problem. Sure beats buying a new printer, huh?

  2. Mark says:

    (Update 21 Nov 2011: This issue seems to have been resolved by the latest software update for this printer. YEAH!!)
    I have a 2100 TN and am using Leopard. Does the above quote mean that if I upgrade the OS to SL that all I have to do is upgrade the software and not go through all the contortions you did to get it to work? Where do I get the software – from HP or is it in the latest update to SL?



    • noah little says:

      Hey Mark. I didn’t go searching for the printer software update, it came with the updates using the apple menu item “software update…”.

      I didn’t “undo” anything I had done previously (though that might be a good idea one of these days), I just installed the HP update. So I can’t say for sure whether you have to set it up like I did or not. Give it a try, maybe it will work without hoops.

      Once in a while I have to restart the printer to get a print job going, but I don’t have to hold down the start button like before.


  3. Mark says:

    Hi Noah,

    So do you mean that the “HP update” you refer to above was was contained in an “Apple Software Update” package? If you already had your 2100 TN working before you got the update, then how did you know that the update had any effect?

    I’m not trying to be argumentative here, it’s just that my printer is a 2100 TN, it’s working fine now and I’d like to upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard, but I’m not so good at dealing with the sort of network settings that you describe; in fact, I always seem to screw things up when I try IOW, if the latest version of SL will automatically make my 2100 TN work with it, I’ll upgrade. If not, I’ll decline, at least for now.

    Would you please give me some guidance on this?

    (BTW because I checked the box requesting an email reply, I thought, incorrectly, that my full name wouldn’t be published here. I’d appreciate it if you will delete my last name from your public blog.)



    • noah little says:

      Hey Mark. The update, as I remember, was just one of several possible updates that was listed when I clicked to see details of an update. (I don’t usually install entire updates – I check to see what I need and avoid installing things I don’t need.)

      When I installed the printer software update I didn’t undo anything I had done previously (not sure I have the courage to try that), so unfortunately our two setups are not comparable. I understand your hesitation. If you don’t need SL for anything urgent I think it’s wise to stick with what works now. If it ain’t broke… 😉

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