How to Access Network Printers from Your Laptop

13 of 14 in Series: The Essentials of Networking with Your Laptop with Windows Vista

Printers can be connected to other computers on the network, or they can dwell on the network directly. Either way, after your laptop is on the network, it can access those other computers.

Windows XP directly displays any printers that are up and available on the network. They appear in the list of available printers, either in the Printers and Faxes window or from any Print dialog box.

Windows Vista, which is more security conscious, may not display all available printers. To access those printers, you must directly connect to them and then install the printer on your computer. For example, if you know that a printer is connected to the computer named XOG on the network, these are the steps you take in Windows Vista to add that network printer:

  1. Open the Network window by choosing Network from the Start menu.

  2. Open the icon representing the printer-blessed computer, such as XOG, in this example.

  3. Right-click the printer's icon.

  4. Choose Connect from the pop-up menu.

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    Though the warning is legit, as long as you're practicing safe-computing habits, installing the printer driver software is okay.

  5. Click the Install driver button if the warning appears.

    Windows Vista connects to the printer and installs the software.

The printer now appears in the list of printers available in the Control Panel's Printers icon's window, as well as in the drop-down list of any Print dialog box.

  • Using a printer directly connected to the network involves more setup than using or adding a printer connected to a network computer. Refer to the directions that came with the network printer for the details, including the printer's network name or IP address. Don't lose that stuff!

  • To use the network printer, simply select it from the list of printers shown as available in the Print dialog box.

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The Essentials of Networking with Your Laptop with Windows Vista

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