Having more than one computer in your house does not mean that you need to purchase the same number of printers for printing. Printer sharing is a very useful function provided in computers, which enables many computers to use a single printer for the purpose of printing. It can only be done if the computers are connected to a network, be it wirelessly or by cables. Many people have a misconception that using a single printer for printing from various PCs is a difficult task. But the whole process is very simple, and takes very less time. You just need to change some settings in the computer, and start printing.
Sharing a Printer Over the Internet
There are very few people who know that printer sharing can even be done through the Internet. With this technology, you can directly print material stored in your home computer through the printer present in your office. Moreover, there are several methods that can be used for such Internet printer sharing. The best method for this purpose is to install the Internet Information Services (IIS) server on the computer which is connected to the printer.
When the IIS server is installed, the PC would act like a web server. It will show the connected printer on a web page that can be opened from any PC which is connected to the Internet. Web printing via IIS will not be activated by default, so you will need to enable it manually. IIS installation and configuration is somewhat tricky. The server is permissions-sensitive, and if you play around with the permissions, it may adversely effect the computer security. There are various applications and functions such as 'remote desktop' and 'Internet printing protocol' that allow you to use the Internet printer sharing facility.
Sharing a Printer Over a Network
To share a printer on a wireless network, you would need a wireless router or similar equipment to set up and configure the system for wireless printing. For starting with the basic printer sharing process, you first need to ensure that both the PC and the printer are on. Connect the printer to any one of the PCs in the network. You need to check if the latest printer drivers are installed. If not, you can easily download them from the printer manufacturer's website. Click on the 'Start' button on the desktop, and select control panel. Search for the 'Printers' or 'Printers and Other Hardware' icon in the control panel window.
After clicking on the icon, choose the printer which you want to get your computer connected to. Right click on the appropriate printer's icon, and click on the 'Sharing' option. Click on the 'Share this Printer' radio button, give a share-name to the printer, which you can easily recognize, and then click on 'Apply' and 'OK'. You will need to add the shared printer on every computer that would be used for giving the print commands. Ensure that every PC is connected to the network before opening the control panel to install the shared printer. Select the 'Add a printer' option, and follow the instructions to install the shared printer on the system.
You may follow these guidelines to share a printer with Windows XP or between Windows Vista and XP. After the sharing process is complete, you may easily use the printer, even from a remote computer.