Microsoft admits to yet more printing problems in Windows as back-at-the-office folks asked for admin credentials

Saving the forests by making printing even harder

Microsoft's brand new operating system, Windows 11, appears to be just as iffy when it comes to printing as its predecessors.

The latest problem turned up in the Windows Release Health dashboard last week and warned that a prompt for administration credentials might pop up when the print server and client are in different time zones.

It isn't only Windows 11 affected. The issue also affects the firm's other operating systems from Windows 7 onwards, according to the known issues list.

"The affected environments described in this issue," the company said, "are not commonly used by devices designed for home use. The printing environments affected by this issue are more commonly found in enterprises and organizations."

This is not ideal, of course, as the average enterprise user will not be able to supply admin credentials on demand and the person who can will not be best pleased when roused from sleep (being that they're likely in a "different time zone"),

The problem – which according to Windows won't be fixed until "late October" – joins other issues reported in recent days, including the installation of printer drivers failing on print servers accessed through HTTP, and printer properties defined on servers being ignored by clients.

Printing and Microsoft have been uneasy bedfellows of late. The company previously emitted a stream of fixes aimed at patching up vulnerabilities in its printer code, and has occasionally ended up making things worse for harried administrators. Microsoft's Patch Tuesday update in September was meant to fix the print spooler remote code execution vulnerability known as "PrintNightmare" but also broke network printing for many, with some frustrated admins disabling security or removing the patch to get it working.

Still, while network printing may have its problems, there isn't much that can go wrong for locally attached printers, right? Er, no. Printer maker Brother confirmed last week that some of its hardware was unhappy with Windows 11.

"Depending on your model," Brother said, "you may not be able to connect your Brother machine to a Windows 11 computer using a USB cable."

While there's nothing we'd like more than to see the return of a chunky parallel printer cable (for which there can be no doubt about the right or wrong orientation of the plug and socket), a properly tested operating system that can actually output hard copy when connected to the wares of a relatively widely used printer manufacturer like Brother (10.7 per cent world market share according to Statista) would be even better. ®

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