What to do when the printer's IP address changes:


  1. Log into your PC as administrator. You cannot fix this problem as a regular user.
  2. From the Start Menu, select Settings->Printers.
  3. You'll see a range of printers, one of which has a little check mark next to it: that's your default printer. Right click on it, and select Properties from the little pull-down menu that appears.
  4. Select Ports, and then Configure (third button, under the list of available ports and their descriptions. (This button will be greyed out if you're not administrator.)
  5. In the type-in labeled 'Printer Name or IP address', you'll see the old IP address. You need to edit it to reflect the new one (as of 10/9/01, it's changed to ws71128.med.harvard.edu, and in November 2003, it changed again to This information is available by getting the printer to print its own configuration, which you can request from the printer's front panel.
  6. Then click 'OK', and close the Properties menu. Try printing something. If it doesn't come out, double check the new IP address.


Why might the address change?

The West Quad uses dynamic IP addressing. This means that rather than assigning a single IP address to each new computer, which would remain unchanged for the life of the machine, it maintains a pool of IP addresses which are shared by all computers on a 'need-to-use' basis. Therefore, if you disconnect the computer from the network, its IP address may be recycled, and given to another computer. On the other hand, it may not. There's no way to tell. This technique allows the West Quad to squeeze as much use as possible out of a limited set of IP addresses.


Often, you won't care what your IP address is. However, the IP address is how we specify which printer to use. (Maybe there's a better way—anyone know of one?) If it changes, then we need to reconfigure our own computers. For this reason, try to avoid turning off the printer if at all possible.


This document likely contains errors and oversights. It can be improved by emailing its author.