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Published on 04.12.07 by Brent Trahan

Share a Printer

Learn how to share a printer on your network in Windows Vista.


This guide shows you everything you need to share a printer with computers in your home network.


Before you can share a printer you need to make sure a few things are set up.

  • Make sure all computers on the network are on the same workgroup. If you need help checking your workgroup see my Change the Workgroup Name guide.
  • Make sure all the computers on your network have their network locations set to Private. For help with this see my Change the Network Location Type guide.
  • Make sure Network Discovery is turned on. Changing your network location type to private does this by default but it’s always a good idea to double-check. If you need help with this see my Turn Network Discovery On guide.
  • I’m assuming you’re using the Windows Vista firewall. If you’re using a 3rd party firewall you might have to change its settings to allow file and printer sharing.
  • You need to decide if you want the shared printer password protected or not. This guide shows you how to change this setting below.

Enable Printer Sharing

  1. Open the Control Panel and then open Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Click the down arrow to the right of Printer sharing to expand it.
  3. Check off Turn on printer sharing and then click Apply.


Password Protect or Not

Now is a good time to decide if you want the printer being shared to be protected with a password or not. Regardless if you want if you want password protection turned on or off you need to do the following:

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center just like you did above and expand Password protected sharing.
  2. Select whether you want it on or off.


  • Password protected sharing applies to all shared printers on your computer.
  • Users trying to access the shared printer will have to know a user name and password of the computer sharing the printer before they can use it if you enabled password protection.
  • The shared printer will only work if the computer sharing it is turned on. So keep the computer that’s doing the sharing turned on all the time and set its power plan to High Performance so that it doesn’t go to sleep or hibernate when it’s not active.

Install a Networked Printer on a Remote PC

  1. Browse to the computer with the shared printer you want to install on your computer. If you need help browsing a network see my guide on Browsing a Network.
  2. Once you’ve browsed to the computer sharing the printer, right-click the printer you want to install on your computer and select Connect. Your computer will install the print driver from the networked computer and you should be able to use the printer across the network now.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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3 Responses to “Share a Printer”

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  1. Mike says:

    I have a printer connected via USB on my desktop computer running vista Ultimate 32bit and I have a Laptop running Home Premium 32bit it sees the printer cause its there on the printer’s folder but when I try to test a print page from the laptop it says its being sent to the printer but nothing prints out. I know it works cause it worked when my desktop had XP PROFESSIONAL installed which was like 3 weeks ago. My desktop prints fine. I just need the laptop to print. By the way Im sharing the printer from the desktop

  2. adam says:

    I have a printer connected by USB on my desktop running Vista. Sharing has been enabled on both my desktop (vista) and my laptop (XP Home). Both computers are on the same network but I cant see the other on either computer. I have the necessary driver installed on both but can not get the two to see each other. I can not print wirelessly either.

  3. adam says:

    and i have service pack three installed too…so frustrated

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