Jul 022011

We’ve had a Brother MFC 5860CN multifunction printer/fax/scanner in the office here for a couple of years. It’s a dependable little office helper, and does a good enough job of scanning for office paperwork.

The old XP laptop has long been the scanning portal for our office.  Remote Desktop into the laptop, scan stuff into PDFs or images, and away you go. However, the old laptop hard disk is starting to make unhealthy noises, so it’s time to take the next step in weaning ourselves off the old box.

It was simple enough to find and download Brother drivers for the new Windows 7 x64 machine.  Printing worked from the start.  That’s great, but I never use the little MFC inkjet for printing – the color laser gets all of my print jobs because it’s oh so much faster.

What didn’t work was scanning from the Brother MFC into my Windows 7 box across the network.  Everything aborted with network connection failures.  Everything except scanning the network to locate the MFC – the Win7 box could find the MFC on the network just fine, and could print to it, but it couldn’t scan from it.

Web searches weren’t much help.  There’s a lot of bad and old information out there, lots of speculation and pat answers from folks who don’t actually know a thing about Brother MFC devices.  Reinstalling the Win7 drivers didn’t help. Disabling the Windows Firewall didn’t help. Uninstalling the Win7 drivers and installing the Vista drivers didn’t help.

I finally stumbled into a solution on none other than the Brother Solutions Center support site: “I can print but cannot scan via network”. I haven’t the faintest idea how I got there, but I’m glad I finally did.

The problem is the Brother scanning software and/or Windows 7 can’t connect to the MFC device by network name.  The solution is simple: configure the scanner software to connect to the MFC peer to peer using its static IP address instead of its network name.

Bam! Scanning works in Windows 7.  Hallelujah.