Although many people now have a printer connected to their network many people either don’t want to do that or can’t do that due to the limitations of their router. This tutorial looks at ways of networking your printer without connecting it directly to your router. That means you can share a USB printer with many computers by using the PC the printer is connected to as a host.
Note that the only downside to networking a printer this way is that the computer the USB printer is connected to must be on for others on the network to be able to print to it. The computer must also be on the same workgroup if you want to share a printer. See our tutorial on changing workgroup if your workgroups are different.
Setup printer sharing on host computer.
The host computer is the one that the printer is plugged into via USB cable. Make sure your printer is installed properly on this machine first and it is able to print.
Go to the start/windows button at the bottom left of your screen and select devices and printers on the right hand side.
Right click on the printer and select printer properties. In the new screen select the sharing tab. Ensure there is a tick in share this printer.
Networking a printer on another computer
This is where it does get a little complicated. Windows 7 is quite notorious on forums for been hit and miss when it comes to networking a printer locally. There is another non standard way to share a printer which is the way we are going to look at as it works 95% of the time.
First go to the computer you want to share a printer on. Go to the start/windows button in the bottom left and click it and on the right hand side select devices and printers. Go to file at the top of your screen click and then select Add printer. Alternatively right-click on the screen and select add a printer.
If you don’t know your printers address (\\computername\printername) then click on add a network printer and allow it to scan for the printer you want to connect to. You should see your printer come up similar to the below. (The highlighted bit is the address that we want)
This is the way you would usually connect to a local printer on another computer but it is also very temperamental in my experience so we are just using it to get the address of the printer. Once you have written down the address click cancel. Select add printer again as you did before and this time select Add a local printer (top option)
Select create a port and leave it as local port and press next. Enter the address we wrote down earlier for networking a printer and enter it here and press Ok.
The next screen installs the driver for your printer. Select your printer from the list on the left and then the model numbers will be shown in the right hand window. Select your model number. (If your printer is not listed or model number is not listed press windows update to try to get more models. This may take a few minutes)
Once you have found your model proceed through the following screen until you see a screen that says installing printer. After it has finished installing you will see a share screen. Just click next.
Finally you should see a screen that allows you to print a test page. Print the test page to ensure that networking the printer has been successful and when you return to the printers and devices screen you should now have shared printer.
There are many issues that can arise when trying to network a printer or share a printer locally but in most cases this method should work. If it does not that chances are that the network is not configured correctly for file and printer sharing or the workgroups are different.