Many of us have more than one device that needs to hog the parallel thoroughfare of our PC. Unfortunately, computers only ship with one parallel port, so if you need to use a zip drive, scanner or even a portable MP3 player, you will have to keep swapping cables. This is time-consuming and very inconvenient. Fortunately, USB connectivity can be utilised to free up that in-demand parallel port by way of a USB to parallel adapter cable.
Manufactured by a number of well-known companies, such as D-Link and Dynalink, these cables give your regular parallel printer the opportunity to take up residence on one of your free USB ports.
One end of the cable contains a standard Centronics printer interface, while the other end plugs directly into a USB port on your system. Assuming your printer is already installed, setting it up will entail plugging in the cable and installing the supplied driver software that came with your cable.
My test unit showed up in Device Manager as a USB2LPT Port. Once the printer is installed you will then have to select the correct port from your printer driver's "Details" tab.
You will now be able to assign another full-time task to your parallel port, while still being able to print. Unfortunately, not all printers work with this type of device, so you should check with your printer manufacturer before making a purchasing decision on this type of product.