I have performed a product search for USB-to-parallel and ExpressCard-to-parallel adapters but when I read the reviews everyone complains that only work with printers.

Where can I get an adapter that can give me a parallel port to work with my device?

  • usbgear.net/item_157.html claims to be fully bi-directional – Martin Beckett Dec 31 '11 at 19:15
  • It's probably not because they don't work with other devices, but because 99% of people buy them to use with printers. You can't always trust the advertising. Even modern printers require bi-directional communications. – Cody Gray Dec 31 '11 at 19:15
  • Some software protection dongles are attached via the paralell port. These I wouldn't expect to work with a paralell-USB adapter (or at least the drivers usually provided). – LawrenceC Jan 1 '12 at 2:10

Depending on the make/model of your laptop, there may be a docking station available for it that has a true parallel port.

The Dell E65xx series, for example, has docking stations available that have legacy parallel, serial, and the legacy PS/2 keyboard/mouse connectors as well.


In my opinion, a USB-To-Parallel cable is exactly that. Especially those that simply state they are for printers. If you think about it, in the past -- all parallel ports were the same. There's no reason for that fact to change.

Why am I putting it this way? Simple!!! :) When I had to use a Windows laptop to create a program for RFID, it naturally didn't have a parallel port, and the RFID's cable was.. Yeah, you guessed it -- an out-to-parallel cable.

The catch, though, was that I had to make sure that the COM ports were all available (except for port 1 and 7, I think -- they were reserved by the system for some reason) and that I had to test with the device. In the end, I got it all working, considering that I used a cheap cable that was said to be for printers only! :)

So... If you can, get a cheap one to test with your device first.. Mainly if you already have an SDK with working project code to test with. That's what I did and it worked for me, so there's a chance it will work for you.

As for suggesting where to buy -- I'll skip on that part since I'm not sure where you are from; I merely purchased a generic usb-to-parallel cable (ones made in china).

  • One reason it might "only be for printers" is if the converter to be a USB printer. – user253751 Sep 11 '16 at 12:52
  • nonsense; specially because certain security dongles use the parallel port in unorthodox ways that won't ever be supported by a converter of any kind – Pat Oct 3 '16 at 8:07

Your problem does not have a generic answer; it all depends on the device you are trying to connect to.

If your dongle is an anti-piracy device you will surely need a real LPT; certain security dongles use the parallel port in unorthodox ways that won't ever be supported by a converter of any kind.

You can read some examples:



If your device is "LPT well behaved" you might be lucky but your only real option is trial and error, even when you read on some forum that one brand works you never know what chip is going to come in yours...

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