My scanner won't work with my mac--help!
December 12, 2008 8:43 PM   Subscribe

My ancient scanner isn't playing well with my Macbook. This specific model (Microtek 4850) doesn't have drivers for Leopard yet (if it ever will), and the Tiger ones don't work. Do I have any options here, or do I need to shell out for a new scanner?

I'd really like to not have to spend money on a new scanner--I'm about to move and don't have a job lined up--but I really really really want to scan a bunch of old photos in (so I can unload some of my many heavy photo albums). Is there any way to use the scanner with the mac without the driver? Is there some other program I can download?

If not, can anyone recommend an affordable scanner that will actually work with my computer?
posted by leesh to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried the various generic twain drivers? I've had some luck with them and unsupported scanners.
posted by luriete at 9:00 PM on December 12, 2008

VueScan works with pretty much any scanner and is cheaper than buying new hardware.
posted by zadcat at 9:15 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could try booting off an Ubuntu live CD and seeing if your scanner will work with XSane. As far as I know, the Microtek machines have been supported by sane-backends since about 2006.

If you do end up needing a new scanner, have a look at Canon's low-end multi-function inkjet printers. Like most low-end inkjets, these are sold pretty much at a loss, with the expectation that you will eventually pay them much more for ink than you saved on the printer. But if you're only buying them for the scanner component, you won't be using up ink and the low initial price is pure win for you. I've often seen Canon MFP's offered at lower prices than their comparably specified scanners.
posted by flabdablet at 9:40 PM on December 12, 2008

Vuescan is the best option in this situation, if you really wanna keep the scanner you have. Otherwise buying a cheap printer/scanner might be a good bet.
posted by OwlBoy at 10:19 PM on December 12, 2008

Thirding Vuescan. I haven't used it with a Microtek, but it's doing great with my ancient Epson scanner.
posted by immlass at 10:29 PM on December 12, 2008

Fourthing VueScan. It really does seem to work with nearly any scanner.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:01 PM on December 12, 2008

Fifthing Vuescan. Works with my 10 year old HP.
posted by dragontail at 4:50 AM on December 13, 2008

I have the same problem; one of the reasons I downgraded from Leopard to Tiger. I'll check out VueScan.
posted by omnidrew at 8:00 AM on December 13, 2008

I'm trying Vuescan and it doesn't seem to be picking up my scanner--do you guys use the free version or the pay one?
posted by leesh at 8:19 AM on December 13, 2008

Ah, my scanner is one of the few not supported by Vuescan. Too bad, it looked like a nice interface.
posted by leesh at 8:24 AM on December 13, 2008

Every scanner I've bought (that'd be 4 in 12 years) has been half the price of, and way more than twice as good, easy, and useful as, its predecessor. I started with the best German model I could possibly afford, and have ended with the cheapest Epson available. It's by far the best of the bunch in every way. My inescapable conclusion: Buying crutches for old scanner hardware (or letting your scanner decide what OS you use) is incomprehensible. But that's just me I guess…
posted by dpcoffin at 8:30 AM on December 13, 2008

I recently bought a Canon LiDE 100 to replace my 7-year-old Canon scanner, since it wasn't playing nice with my old or new computers. It was well worth the $55 (on Amazon) and it works so much better than my old scanner ever did (i.e., scans faster). Plus, now I don't have to hold my breath every time I want to scan something and wonder, "Will it work this time or won't it?".
posted by puritycontrol at 11:00 AM on December 13, 2008

Yeah, my scanner is crappy anyway (I bought it from a friend like five years ago when she upgraded to a nicer one). I like the idea of buying a combined printer/scanner. Thanks, everyone.
posted by leesh at 11:02 AM on December 13, 2008

Try using a virtual emulator like Parallels or Virtual Box (free). I run my scanner from Parallels/Windows XP. Possibly the drivers in Windows will work and are available since the market is so much larger, perhaps they are more up to date.
posted by diode at 9:35 PM on December 13, 2008

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