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Here is the setup:

  • VirtualBox 4.1.20 (which the Help window describes as 4.1.12_Ubuntu)
  • Extension Pack 4.1.20 (for USB support)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium as a guest operating system on VirtualBox
  • VirtualBox Guest Additions for shared drive support
  • Ubuntu 12.04 with dist-upgrade's to September 2012 as the host operating system.
  • Fuji Xerox DocuPrint P205b, which I believe is a GDI printer, connected via USB.
  • A USB Filter added to the VirtualBox setup. This filter is simply selected, so it's details are automatically determined by VirtualBox and proprietary: it has FJ DocuPrint P205b values. The VirtualBox Devices > USB menu has the USB printer device checked, which I take to mean that it is passed through from the host to the guest. The VirtualBox task bar shows it is aware of the USB device when the cursor hovers over the USB icon.

The problem is that often print jobs will sit in the print queue and nothing comes out of the printer. The printer status for the first item in the queue will be Printing even though nothing happens. Then upon rebooting Windows, the print jobs get printed, seemingly simultaneous to the rebooting process; that is as Windows reloads.

One way to avoid this problem is to boot Windows with the printer cable attached, and then submit the print jobs. In this scenario, the print jobs get printed in a timely manner. Perhaps VirtualBox has a problem with USB being plug-n-play and hot pluggable. Windows standing alone does not have this problem. I know this because I have installed and used this printer driver on several Windows-only as well as Grub dual-boot systems many times. This problem has only been seen inside VirtualBox, and as I said my VirtualBox is on Ubuntu.

It's not convenient to have the printer plugged in when Windows boots because: One, this is a laptop, and Two, I may boot Windows for a purpose other than printing and not anticipate needing to print.

Are there any recommendable fixes for this problem?

Edit When there are jobs stuck in the print queue, go to the VirtualBox menu to select Devices > USB Devices and cycle the state of the USB device that is the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint P205b. That is to say: uncheck and then check the device. This will cause the queued print jobs to complete, sometimes. I have had very limited success with this workaround.

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Are you able to print from Ubuntu with the USB printer "detached" from the windows vm? Virtualbox sometimes will associate the printer with the guest OS, so you need to manually adjust this (eg "attach"/"detach" to vm each time, or set up a USB filter in virtual box) –  amc Sep 10 '12 at 18:12
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Ubuntu cannot print to this printer because there is no driver for linux. I have a USB Filter specific to the printer. I will add this info in an edit. –  broiyan Sep 11 '12 at 3:00
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

On the VirtualBox menu select Devices > USB Devices and cycle the state of the USB device that is the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint P205b. That is to say: uncheck and then check the device. This will cause the queued print jobs to complete (not all of the time, but it usually helps).

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Another common failure scenario involves print jobs simply vanishing. A job gone missing seems entirely harmless, which in a way is very good news, though also very annoying. The solution is of course to resubmit the job. –  broiyan Oct 8 '12 at 5:54
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