Shared printing is a feature of Windows Vista that lets you print from any computer in your wired or wireless network. To use this feature, your printer must support networking. You can determine whether your printer has this feature by checking its documentation. If your printer doesn’t support printing across a network, you may be able to install an adapter to make it network-ready. Make sure that all equipment is installed, complete with the correct drivers, and each computer in your network is turned on before continuing. You must also set up your network in Windows Vista before you can begin printer setup.
To set up printer sharing, go to the computer that’s attached to the printer. Click the “Start” button, select “Control Panel” and then “Network and Internet.” Select the “Network and Sharing Center.” Select the down arrow button beside “Printer sharing.” Select “Turn on printer sharing” and click “Apply.”
To prevent unauthorized users from accessing your printer, click the down arrow beside “Password Protected Sharing.” Click “Turn on password protected sharing” and click “Apply.” After turning on password protection, any computer user must enter your computer name and password to use the shared printer.
To print across the network from a computer running Windows Vista, click the “Start” button on the remote computer, then click “Network.” In Windows 7, you can access shared printers by selecting the “Start” button, “Computer,” then “Network.” In Windows XP, click “Start,” “My Computer,” “Other Places” and then “Network Places.”
Double-click the name of the computer to which the shared printer is attached. Double-click the “Printers” icon. Any printers attached to the computer will be listed. Double-click the printer you’d like to use. Windows will automatically install the printer’s driver on your hard drive. Click “Next” to continue.
It may be necessary to install the printer driver manually on your computer before you can use the shared printer. Use the CD or DVD that came with the printer, or check the printer manufacturer’s website to download the drivers.
If your are networking computers that are running different operating systems, you may encounter difficulties when trying to share a printer. This is because all Windows computers must use the workgroup name to be networked. Windows XP Home Edition uses “MSHOME” as its default workgroup name, but Windows XP Pro, Vista and 7 use the name “WORKGROUP.” If you’re having trouble accessing the network from any computer, change the workgroup name on each network computer so that all computers are using the same workgroup name.
For more information, read How to Disable Startup Processes in Windows Vista and How to Safely Disable User Account Control in Windows Vista.
“Share a printer” Microsoft.com
“What’s new with the Start menu?” Microsoft.com
“Networking home computers running different versions of Windows” Microsoft.com