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Printer Sharing in Windows

Printer Sharing in Windows XP, Vista and Seven


Printer Sharing in Windows XP.

  • To share printers and other files in Windows XP, you first need to check to make sure your network adapters are set up to do so, by default they should. To check this, we want to navigate to our Control Panel then to our Network Connections. In our network connections, we should see the network adapter we want to share through, right click on the adapter then choose Properties. In the properties menu, we should be under the general tab, in the middle, we want to make sure we have a check in the box for File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. This wil allow your network adapter to share files and printers, once there is a check in the box and everything else looks ok, click on OK.

  • When sharing any files over a network, it is very important to make sure that everyone who wishes to share files or printers needs to be under the same Workgroup name. In Windows XP, to check your workgroup name, you will need to click on Start then right click on My Computer next choose Properties. In our properties window, we should be under the "Computer Name" tab at the top, if we are, we need to then click on Change in the middle of the window. Another window should pop up for us, in this window is where we can choose what workgroup our computer will fall under, when selecting a workgroup name, all computers on the same network need to have the exact same network name in order for files or printers to be shared correctly.

  • Once we know that our computer is capable of file and printer sharing and we have selected a workgroup name, we are now ready to share the designated printer. Our first step is to locate the printer we want to share in our control panel. To do this, click on Start then choose Control Panel. In our control panel we want to browse to our Printers and Faxes option, in here you should see any printers installed on this computer. If you are not able to see your printer in this menu, then you will need to make sure the printer is plugged into the computer via a USB cable, if it is still not coming up then you might want to re-install the proper device drivers for the printer. Once you are able to view your printer in this menu, right click on the printer and choose Sharing.
  • In our sharing window, we should by default be under the Sharing tab at the top, if we are not we will need to navigate there. Under the sharing tab in the middle, we have the option to Share this printer, we want to put a check in the box, and also choose a shared name for the printer, this should be something simple and something other people on the network would recognize as their printer. Once all settings are correct, click on Apply then OK.

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Adding Share Printer in Windows XP

  • Now that our computer is set up to share files and printers, we can begin add the printer on another machine in the home. REMEMBER: ANY COMPUTER THAT IS GOING TO ADD THIS PRINTER OVER THE NETWORK NEEDS TO MAKE SURE IT IS ON THE SAME WORKGOUP AS THE COMPUTER SHARING THE PRINTER, IF THEY ARE NOT ON THE SAME WORKGROUP, THE COMPUTER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FIND THE SHARED PRINTER.

  • Our first step when adding a shared printer to our computer is to start the "Add Printer Wizard" which can be located in our control panel under Printers and Faxes. In our printers and faxes window, on the left hand side is an option for Add a printer, we want to click on this which should start the wizard for us. The first window of the wizard lets you know if your printer is not already plugged in, DO IT NOW. After clicking next, another window comes up for us, in this window we want to make sure and choose the second option for adding a printer "A network printer, or printer attached to another computer" then click Next.

  • Our next step is to specify what printer we want to add to this computer, put a dot next to the second radio button stating Connect to this printer (or to browse for a printer, select this option and click Next)

  • You should now see the printer name we shared on the other machine, IF you do not see your printer here, then either the computers are not on the same network, workgroup or they are not both set up correctly for network discovery. Depending on the OS you are own, troubleshooting steps can vary. If you are able to find your printer, simply highlight the printer name and click on next, this should save the printer discovered onto your machine for further use. Most of the time Windows will set this new printer up as your default printer, or will give you the option to set it up as your default.

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Printer Sharing in Windows Vista / Seven.

  • Just as in Windows XP, our first step in Windows Vista and Seven is to turn printer sharing on. To do this, click on Start then Control Panel. In our control panel, we need to browse to the Network and Sharing Center. The screenshot below is for Windows Vista. To enable printer sharing, click on the down arrow associated with printer sharing and put a dot in the radio button Turn on printer sharing then click Apply.


Windows Vista Screenshot

When Public folder sharing is turned on, anyone on your computer or network can access these folders. When it''s off, only people with a user account and password on your computer have access.

  • To enable printer sharing in Windows Seven, open Advanced sharing settings by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type network, click Network and Sharing Center, and then, in the left pane, click Change advanced sharing settings.


Windows Seven Screenshot

  • Windows Seven has changed the steps necessary for settting your computer to be able to share files and printers from Windows Vista. The easiest way to set your computer on a Homegroup is to click on Start then Control Panel. Just like before we need to browse to our Network and Sharing Center. You should be able to tell right away if your computer is on a Homegroup or not by simply looking at their active networks. As you can see in the screenshot below, the only active network I have on my machine is my wireless connection connected to my SSID of beyer, right below the SSID is where you can find if you are on a Homegroup or not. If it states Public network or Work network, you will need to click on the link and change it to Home network. You can also change what information can be viewed or shared between computers in the same homegroup, to do this click on Choose homegroup and sharing options.


Windows 7 Screenshot

  • Put a check next to the box of what you are wanting to share.
  • HINT: If password protected sharing is turned on, you will need to enter a previously randomly generated password before you can share any files over the newtork for security purposes, to get this code click on View or print the homegroup password. You can also change this password and set your own up by clicking on Change the password...
  • Once you have all the settings you desire, click on Save changes.


Windows 7 Screenshot

Connecting to your HomeGroup

  • On the other Windows 7 computer(s) go into the HomeGroup feature in the Network and Sharing Center and click to join the group you just created.
  • Enter in the password that was created for the HomeGroup.
  • When the password is accepted the connection will take place and your finished.


  • We are now ready to start sharing your printer with anyone on your homegroup in Windows Vista. First we need to click on Start in the start search box type in Printersthen click on the printers icon above under programs.
  • In this window, you should see the printer you wish to share over the network, right click on the printer, and click on Sharing...


Windows Vista Screenshot

  • In our sharing window, we should by default be under the Sharing tab at the top, if we are not we will need to navigate there. Under the sharing tab in the middle, we have the option to Share this printer, we want to put a check in the box, and also choose a shared name for the printer, this should be something simple and something other people on the network would recognize as their printer. Once all settings are correct, click on Apply then OK.


Windows Vista Screenshot

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Adding Shared Printer in Windows Vista / Seven

NOTE: The screenshots and walkthrough were set up in Windows Vista for this section, BUT the steps to take in WINDOWS 7 are almost exactly the same.

  • Our first step when adding a printer in Windows Vista is to navigate back to our printers menu in the control panel. To do so, click on Start in the start search box type in Printersthen click on the printers icon above under programs.
  • Under our printers window, click on File at the top left, then choose Add a printer. As shown below, a window will come up asking how we want to add this printer, in our case, we need to choose the second option that states Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer. Then click Next at the bottom.

 

 


Windows Vista Screenshot

  • Windows will automatically search for available printers, once you find the printer you wish to add, highlight it by left clicking on the icon, then click on Next at the bottom.
    • IF your printer is not showing up here, you will need to start back at the top to make sure no steps were missed.

  • Lastly, you can change the name of your printer to be more recognizable in the future. If everything looks good here, click on Next. You have now sucessfully adding this printer to your computer.





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