If you have a printer attached to your computer, you can share it with anyone on the same network. It doesn't matter what type of printer it is, as long as the printer is installed on your computer and directly attached with a universal serial bus (USB) cable or other type of printer cable. Whoever you choose to share the printer with will be able to use it to print, provided they can locate your computer on the network.

Note

  • Printers that are directly connected to a network rather than attached to a computer are available to anyone on the same network. Such printers must have a network port or wireless connection that allows them to connect directly to the network.

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To share a printer attached to your computer

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, and then clicking Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Click the arrow button Picture of the arrow button next to Printer sharing to expand the section, click Turn on printer sharing, and then click Apply. Your printer is now shared on the network. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. If you are using a computer connected to a workgroup, click the arrow button Picture of the arrow button next to Password protected sharing to expand this section, and then check to see if password-protected sharing is turned on or off. If it is turned on, only people with a user account and password for this computer will be able to access your printer. Turn this off if you want anyone on the network to be able to access the printer you are sharing. To change this setting, select the option you prefer, and then click Apply. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Note

  • Anyone using this computer can already use any printer attached to the computer. Printer sharing allows you to share your printer with people using other computers on the network.

To print using a shared printer

Follow these steps to connect to a shared printer over the network. You must know the name of the computer that has the printer attached to it. If you don't know this name, ask someone who uses that computer, or go to the other computer yourself and look it up. For information on how to find this name, see Find your computer name.

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, in the Search box, type \\ followed by the name of the computer with the shared printer you want to use (for example, \\mylaptop).

  2. Press ENTER.

  3. If Windows can find the computer on the network, a folder will open for the computer. Double-click Printers. If any shared printers are connected to this computer, they will appear here. If you don't see the shared printer you want to use, ask a person who uses that computer if the printer is connected, turned on, and shared with other users on the network.

  4. Double-click the printer. Windows will automatically add the printer to your computer and install the printer driver. When the process is complete, click Next.

  5. The printer should appear in your Printers folder. You can select this printer when you want to print a document or other type of file.

Note

  • If Windows can't automatically find and install the printer driver that allows this shared printer to work with your computer, you need to install the driver before you will be able to print. For more information, see Find and install printer drivers.