How To Share A Printer: Printer Sharing on a Home Network Using Windows
Sharing a printer between multiple computers on a home network is quite easy to do. Sharing a printer saves the cost of having to purchase an additional printer or a separate printer server box, and at the same time it makes it much more convenient for more than one person to get work done without the mess of transferring documents from computer to computer. The downside to printer sharing via Windows is that the master computer must be turned on any time the other computers want to print thereby wasting energy.
Preparing the Printer To Be Shared
In order to share a printer on a local area network (LAN) the computer controlling the printer as well as any other computers that wish to use the shared printer must first be networked together. Most home based LANs use a small router that connects to the homes Internet connection (cable internet, DSL, or dial up).
Each individual computer then plugs into this router either wirelessly using Wi-Fi technology or through standard Ethernet cables. Each of the additional computers must also have a copy of the printer's device driver software installed on them (even though they are not directly connected to the printer). Once each machine has the device drivers installed and all are connected to the network a user can proceed to the next step of activating printer sharing in Windows.
Activating Windows Printer Sharing
On a Windows machine, go to Start>Control Panel> Printers and Faxes. The list that pops up contains all of the printers and fax machines that are currently connected to the computer. Select the printer that is to be shared and then click "Share This Printer" from the Printer Tasks column. Using the window that opens up, click "Share This Printer," and give it a name.
Connecting To The Shared Printer
On each of the other networked computers proceed in much the same way. Go to Start>Printers and Faxes but click on Add A Printer. Select Connect to a Networked Printer. Click on Browse for a Printer and select the name of the computer (and printer) that was shared in the previous step. If for some reason the computer and printer cannot be found go back to the master computer and make sure that the Windows firewall is set to allow printer sharing.
With a few simple steps anyone can configure a printer to be shared, saving money, time, and adding a new level of convenience to any home office.
Author: Chad Criswell