Network PDF printing from Windows 8

Update:  I wrote a step by step guide on creating a virtual PDF printer as a new virtual machine. This has been more reliable and has replaced the work around I used below


Our small business is beginning the move from Windows XP to Windows 8. Moving to a new operating system is always a problem. There’s new things to learn, old systems that stop working together and many many hours of hair pulling on my part. It is progress though – I can’t imagine going back to Windows 98!

The biggest problem I’ve had is making our Network PDF printer work with windows 8. It’s based upon Ghostscript but there are no Ghostscript printer drivers for Windows 8. After two or three days of working through the problem, I’ve solved it.

Quick version:

  • Setup a CUPS printer service on a linux server
  • Have cups connect to our PDF Print appliance
  • Have the print appliance put the PDF on a new network share

Pros: We can generate PDFs (some have automatic letterhead backgrounds which I couldn’t do with CUPS alone)
Cons: It means having another print server set up to look after, It means users will no longer get their PDF’s by email (it will go to a new network share).

Long version:

Part 1 – The existing solution
For several years I’ve used YAFPC (Yet Another Free Pdf Composer). It is a self contained print appliance that runs as an instance on our VMWare server. I can’t remember what I paid for it, but it has been worth every penny. It is the sort of stable appliance that hasn’t needed to be updated for many years. It just works and I like that. Virtual Printers are created (A4_Blank, A4_On_Letterhead_Background, etc) and users can print to those printers.
The resulting PDF document is emailed to them as well as put in an automatic shared folder in their name on the appliance. It is controlled by a simple web interface. Behind the scenes, it’s a linux server and the print engine is GhostScript. It includes GhostScript print drivers for Windows XP and Windows 7 (and Mac) but Windows 8 has changed things and there is not yet (and may never be) a GhostScript print Driver.

Part 2 – CUPS (Common Unix Print System)
CUPS is a print server for networks that runs on unix like systems (Linux and Mac OS X included). There is a plugin called CUPS-PDF and my first thought was this would be all I need.

We already have a server running Ubuntu so I installed the packages (apt-get install CUPS CUPS-PDF) and set up a PDF printer. That was all pretty straight forward but it really only allowed for blank backgrounds – I couldn’t find a way of having a ‘letterhead’ printer as well as a ‘blank a4’ printer.

I reasoned in my mind that if I could print from Windows 8 to the CUPS server, I could probably forward the CUPS server to YAFPC PDF Printers. My logic was that CUPS would convert the print file in a way YAFPC/GhostScript would understand.

Part 3 – Connecting CUPS to the YAFPC

Through the CUPS web page admin:
Administration > Add Printer > [Other Network Printers | LPD/LPR Host or Printer ]
Connection = lpd://networkpdf/PDFLetterhead [alter that path to suit your printer]
Name/Description/Location as you choose,
Share this printer.

For the driver: Generic > Generic CUPS-PDF Printer (en)
worked for me, I assume any PostScript driver would work.
Finally > Add Printer.

You get to set a few defaults based on the driver you chose. EG: I could set the print resolution.

Part 4 – Changing some YAFPC settings
YAFPC normally recogises the windows user account name and makes some clever/customisable assumptions in order to email the PDFs to the user that printed them. It also stores them locally in a shared folder with the same name as the user. All very clever, but now the printing user is the CUPS user.
YAFPC lets you choose to store PDFs in an external storage location. I entered some credentials for a location on our Samba server (which happens to be the same server the CUPS service is running on).
Each virtual printer had to be updated to copy the file to the external storage.

Part 5 – Adding the network PDF printer to Windows 8

Open Control Panel
Tip: Try shortcut “[Windows Key] + I”
Add a Printer
Wait for network printers to be found, select the new network printer
You’ll see a warning “No driver found”, choose OK to locate one manually
Choose the driver “Generic” > “MS Publisher Color Printer”
This is a PostScript Printer driver. I assume any postscript driver will work (a lot of forum comments suggested HP drivers), but this worked for me first time so I’ve stuck with it.
Decide upon a printer name, Finish.

Print a test page to see it’s worked.

After Win 8.1 update display has shrunk

I’ve been setting up our first Windows 8 PC at work and working through all the bugs and gotchas a new operating system introduces to work.

Part way through the process the Windows 8.1 update happened and once rebooted there was a black border around the screen. AMD Catalyst wouldn’t start but windows reported the correct screen resolution being sent to the monitor. The monitor was fine when plugged into another PC.

I reinstalled the catalyst control centre (download from AMD) and started working through the settings to see if I could find the problem.

In Scaling Options (Digital Flat-Panel), the update had somehow corrupted the setting for underscan. I have a feeling that setting was wrong when I first installed the graphics card and drivers, so maybe the error is the AMD side rather than the Microsoft side.

Setting the scaling to 0% solved the problem.


Caught in my spam trap –

I’ve decided to start naming and shaming the people who spam me. I have an email address hidden in the code of one of my web sites. It doesn’t display to visitors but robots will read it. To give the spammers a sporting chance, the email address is nospam@….mydomain… I then email them to ask where they got the address from.

Their response to asking where they got the email address from?

They never responded.


Whilst this is the first time they’ve been caught in my current spam trap, scraping web sites and sending spam seems to be their method of operation to sell advertising space. They appear to have set up servers just to send spam. I say this because doesn’t have a public website and displays a default virtual server login. They also run their own name servers. From an IT perspective, they seem pretty switched on – although their web server has been hacked so they’re not that good. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy let alone spammers like this company. I’d email them and tell them, except I guess they wouldn’t read that either.

They are based in Kent, not so far from us, so back in 2009 I took the time to phone them and ask them to stop spamming us. I spoke to ‘Paul’ who promised to look into it. I’m assuming that was Paul Attwood. He was and is the owner of the domain sending spam back then;

Domain name:

    Paul Attwood

Registrant type:
    UK Individual

Registrant's address:
    47-48 Hawley Square
    CT9 1NY
    United Kingdom

Is the owner of the domain currently sending the spam;

Domain name:

    Paul Attwood

Registrant type:
    UK Individual

Registrant's address:
    347a Margate Road
    CT12 6SG
    United Kingdom

The destination,, is owned by a dissolved company, MH Media Solutions Ltd of which Paul Attwood was a director. I guess they transferred it to a current company and forgot to tell the registry.

Domain name:

    MH Media Solutions Ltd

Registrant type:
    UK Individual

Registrant's address:
    Lead Centre
    Dane Valley Road
    CT10 3JJ
    United Kingdom has a link to what I guess would be a parent company; except my browser wouldn’t let me visit;

Google Chrome Malware stop page

I’m beginning to think the publishing industry like sending spam, seeing as Archant have started spamming again.

Email headers

Delivered-To: nospam@....
Received: by with SMTP id bd17csp150210oab;
        Tue, 6 Aug 2013 06:01:27 -0700 (PDT)
X-Received: by with SMTP id w18mr1934845wiv.20.1375794086684;
        Tue, 06 Aug 2013 06:01:26 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ([])
        by with ESMTPS id f5si722923wjx.46.2013.
        for <nospam@...>
        (version=TLSv1 cipher=RC4-SHA bits=128/128);
        Tue, 06 Aug 2013 06:01:26 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
       spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender)
X-No-Relay: not in my network
X-Antivirus-Status: Clean
Received: from ADVENT1 ( [])
	by (Postfix) with ESMTPA id 244805968D1
	for <nospam@...>; Tue,  6 Aug 2013 14:01:04 +0100 (BST)
From: "Ryan Bunce" <>
To: <nospam@....>
Subject: Editorial Opportunity
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2013 13:53:45 +0100
Message-ID: <8a9e01ce92a4$e607b640$b21722c0$>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook 14.0
Thread-Index: Ac6SkO5QeOa53URdSzqFQjxDYyR4CQ==
Content-Language: en-gb
X-Antivirus: avast! (VPS 130806-0, 06/08/2013), Outbound message
X-Antivirus-Status: Clean

This is a multipart message in MIME format.

Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

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