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How to Put a Printer on a Windows XP Network

A network printer is any printer “up for grabs” on the network. Officially, it’s a shared printer. It can be a printer connected to a PC on the network, where the computer operator has elected to share the printer, making it available for anyone else on the network to use. Or, it can be a printer directly connected to the network.

It might seem odd to have a printer out there, all by its lonesome, connected to the Internet. It happens. It can happen in one of two ways.

First, you can add a USB printer directly to the network’s router, if the router features a USB connection. After connecting the printer, access the router’s control program to complete its setup.

Second, you can add a printer directly to the network, if the printer has an Ethernet port. Simply connect the printer to the network and turn it on. Use Windows to hunt for the printer before you can use it on your PC.

After the printer is turned on and connected to the network, you can direct your PC to use the printer. The first thing to do is see whether the printer came with its own software installation disc. If so, use the disc and follow its instructions. If not, add the network printer for use in Windows XP by following these steps to set up a sole, lonely network printer:

  1. Open the Printers and Faxes icon in the Control Panel.

  2. Choose Add a Printer.

    The link is on the left side of the window.

  3. Click the Next button.

  4. Choose the option A Network Printer or a Printer Attached to Another Computer, and click the Next button.

  5. Choose the option Connect to This Printer, which is the second option.

  6. Type the printer’s IP address into the text box.

    The IP address should be available from the printer, either on its control panel or by printing the printer’s information sheet.

  7. Continue with the printer setup.

    At this point, the setup can change, depending on how Windows recognizes the printer. As long as contact is made with the printer over the network, you can then do the rest of the steps.

When you’re done setting up the printer, print a test page. It confirms that the printer is connected and working.

  • There’s no need to make the network printer your PC’s default printer.

  • Obviously, there’s no need to configure a network printer when it shows up automatically in the Printer’s window.

  • If the printer is connected to the network by using one of those tiny printer server dongles, you probably need to configure the printer by using the software that came with the printer server dongle. The configuration program either allows the printer to be used on the network, on your PC, or it provides you with the IP address you can use for these steps.

  • You might also be able to get the printer’s IP address from the router configuration program. The printer’s IP address is listed along with the IP addresses assigned to all devices connected to the router.

  • The printer should set its IP address by using DHCP. You don’t need to know what this term means, but you must make that setting if you’re given a choice.

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