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I have a room full of computers and just one printer. Sometimes the printer prints white paper and I would like to know from what computer that is coming.

Is it possible to know?

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-1, we need more details. What operating systems are in use? What's the model of the printer? How are they connected to each other? –  slhck Feb 13 '12 at 17:58
    
@slhck I'm not so sure those details are absolutely necessary. Presuming a spare laptop running Windows XP or later, or any one of several popular flavors of Linux, the answer I've given below should work regardless of printer or client device models or OS's. The only thing that may make a difference is if all the devices are connected to the printer wirelessly. –  Iszi Feb 13 '12 at 18:01
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It's a good solution, but I think we should still encourage users to add as many details as possible to a question. See How to Ask. –  slhck Feb 13 '12 at 18:03
    
@slhck I wouldn't just generally say to add as many details as possible, because it can end up limiting the scope of the question so that it becomes less useful to others. Instead, we should only add as many relevant details as possible and preferably omit those which aren't. Here, the only further detail I would see as important is the physical network topology. Device model numbers and OS's are irrelevant. Perhaps a bit more detail as to what resources are available for troubleshooting (spare PC, can/cannot install software, etc) could also be handy. –  Iszi Feb 13 '12 at 18:06
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1 Answer 1

Put a hub (not a switch) between the printer and the rest of the network. Attach a laptop or other PC to the hub. Run Wireshark (http://wireshark.org) on the laptop, filtering traffic to only show what's being sent to the printer. Wait for a blank page, and check Wireshark for the originating IP.

If the devices are connected to your printer wirelessly, you should be able to see the necessary packets without any additional hardware as long as your sniffer is on the same wireless network. Just make sure your system can monitor the network in "promiscuous mode".

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